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Idaho commissioner steps down amid outrage over baboon kill photos

Family of Baboons

Photo credit: Pixabay

As most hunters know, grip and grin photos aren’t always well received, especially if the animal is perceived as controversial. Blake Fischer found this out first-hand. After sharing a photo of himself posing with a baboon family he killed during his recent hunting trip to Africa, he’s out of a job. Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter called for Fischer’s resignation from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Monday – three days after the Idaho Statesman ran an article about Fischer’s trip that included the jarring photo, the Associate Press (AP) reports.

“I have high expectations and standards for every appointee in state government,” said Otter in a statement. “Every member of my administration is expected to exercise good judgment. Commissioner Fischer did not.”

Fischer had served on the seven-member commission since 2014. Commissioners are charged with ensuring ethical practices are applied to wildlife within the state and manage hunting and fishing through statewide regulations. Under Idaho law, Otter is in charge of appointing commissioners and has the authority to, also, remove them.

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According to the AP, the photo that spurred his resignation was of a baboon family that “showed blood visible on the abdomen of the smallest baboon, its head lolling back to rest on the chest of one of the dead adult baboons.” During their trip, Fischer and his wife killed roughly 14 animals that included a giraffe, a leopard, an impala, a sable antelope, a waterbuck, a kudu, a warthog, a gemsbox (oryx) and an eland in Namibia, which they shared within an email to over 100 recipients that included both photos and descriptions.

While Fischer acknowledged that his sharing of the photo may have been in poor taste, he did not apologize for actually killing the baboons. In his resignation, according to the AP, he said that he “recently made some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested.”

What do you think? Should he have kept his job? Do you support his resignation?


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Bendrix B. - posted 1 year ago on 11-06-2018 06:26:35 pm
Rochester, MA

Thats politics. Blake is not the first to harvest a baboon or other primate, he’s just a guy who was politically vulnerable to a limp spine governor appeasing the anti crowd. That said, Blake knew he was a political appointee so he earned that Darwin Award.

The only lesson here is if you want to be in politics, and that includes holding a job beholden to elected officials, you have to guard yourself from extremist attention. I’m sure Idaho lost a good commissioner. Too bad...

Jeffrey A. - posted 1 year ago on 10-23-2018 11:03:10 am
Charlotte, NC

We sink or swim as hunters, collectively, based on public image. Too many folks outside our narrow (and shrinking) community don’t get it, and splitting hairs over what’s legal is completely irrelevant to knee-jerk emotion-based reactions. Memorializing a hunt for ourselves and our family and friends is one thing, but broadcasting a controversial grip and grin on that level is another. An individual in that role distributing a photo of that nature is asking for trouble. If our concern is hunter appreciation, and it absolutely should be, then a photo like that puts us two steps back. When future hunting issues show up at the voting booths, we want voters referencing positive experiences in their mental rolodex, not a community role model priding himself over a dead baboon family.

SETH D. - posted 1 year ago on 10-22-2018 11:25:12 pm
Sunny New Mexico

Anytime we portray ourselves as blood thirsty killers we are wrong. We manage wildlife, we do it to an ethical standard and we move on.

Part of what we do in the hunting field doesn't need to be shared. Killing a large number of anything (including young cute animals) and publicizing it is not helping the hunting community.

Ian F. - posted 1 year ago on 10-20-2018 06:43:35 pm

I don’t support this at all. The optics of the photos, to me, mean less than the hunt itself. Was it ethical? Did the animals die a humane death? And was the chase fair? The animals dead, I doubt it cares what you do with it now photographically. Was the hunt ethical is the more important question.

Gary H. - posted 1 year ago on 10-19-2018 10:32:01 am

Some things dont need to be publicized. Whether is is legal or illegal is neither here nor there. Some things just should not be shared.

Sean M. - posted 1 year ago on 10-19-2018 10:01:27 am

Just like in 2012 when CA DFG President was ousted for harvesting a Mountain Lion LEGALLY in Idaho; his home state. It's a damn shame.