‘I shot a whole family of baboons’: Idaho wildlife official faces calls to resign after Africa hunting trip

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho Fish and Game Commission member is being criticized by some after he shared photos of himself posing with a family of baboons, including young baboons, he killed while hunting in Africa.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter spokesman Jon Hanian told The Idaho Statesman in a story on Friday that the governor’s office is looking into the matter involving Commissioner Blake Fischer, where former commissioners and even a pro-hunting group are calling for his resignation.

Fischer and his wife shot at least 14 animals in Namibia, according to the photos and descriptions included in an email he sent to more than 100 recipients. That included a giraffe, leopard, impala, sable antelope, waterbuck, kudu, warthog, gemsbok (oryx) and eland.

Most of the photos with the African animals are posed as standard big game hunting photos of the kind often seen in Idaho with deer, elk and mountain lions.

The photo causing some to question Fischer’s judgment and ability to remain a commission member is one of him smiling broadly with four dead baboons propped in front of him, blood visible on the abdomen of the smallest baboon. Fischer killed them using a bow and arrows.

“So I shot a whole family of baboons,” Fischer wrote below the photo in the emails he sent.

“My reaction to the photo and accompanying text of you smiling and holding a ‘family’ of primates you killed dismays and disappoints me,” former commissioner Fred Trevey replied to Fischer’s email with the photos. “Your poor judgement has unnecessarily put the institution’s credibility, and hunting in general, at risk in the blink of an eye.”

Trevey continued, “My belief is you should take responsibility and resign, sooner rather than later.”

Keith Stonebraker, another former commission member, told the newspaper an apology by Fischer would satisfy him.

“They killed a whole family, including small baboons, and I think that’s revolting,” Stonebraker said. “It just puts a bad light on us.”

Steve Alder of pro-hunting group Idaho for Wildlife told the Statesman he too hopes Fischer resigns.

“The biggest thing is the baboon thing,” Alder said. “I was really troubled. That’s my biggest issue. He killed the whole baboon family and you’ve got little junior laying there in mom’s lap. You just don’t do that. I hate wolves as much as anyone, but I’m not going to take a wolf family and put it on display and show the baby wolf.”

Fischer, meanwhile, is defending his actions.

“I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t do anything unethical. I didn’t do anything immoral,” Fischer said.

The commission Fischer serves on makes policy decisions concerning Idaho’s wildlife, and it often manages game populations through hunting and fishing regulations. Those regulations are intended to require ethical behavior in the pursuit of wildlife. Some of Idaho’s policies, such as on wolf and grizzly bear hunting, have been challenged in federal courts.

The commission has seven members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Fischer was re-appointed this year, but he needs Senate confirmation.

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