Cracking Case Takes Guts

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors

Dec. 10, 2008

Cracking Case Takes Guts
It was an elaborate scheme to cover up an illegal deer kill, but all a New
Hampshire Fish & Game conservation officer had to do to crack the case was
show some guts. Well, a gut-pile, actually. You’ll also read about a bear
attack that was just the result of bad timing, and much more!

Deer Belly Evidence Leads To Charges
The odd case of the moving gutpile began November 8 when New Hampshire Fish
& Game officer William Boudreau was called by a landowner who reported
hearing shots and finding deer entrails in an area closed to hunting.

J.R. Absher

Boudreau quickly determined that the remains came from a female whitetail,
while the marks on the ground indicated the deer had been dragged to a nearby
gravel pit owned by the University of New Hampshire, where it was placed into a

The Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald reports that Boudreau’s investigation then took
him to local deer check stations, where he discovered that no doe deer had been
registered that day.

The CO’s detective work next led to UNH public works supervisor David
Howard, one of the few persons who had access to the locked gravel facility.
Howard told the officer he had killed a doe on November 8, but in a different
township than the area near the gravel pit.

That’s when conservation super sleuth Boudreau began to weave his intricate

He returned to the site of the illegal kill, located the gutpile, and placed
his Game and Fish Department business card (with the time and date hand-written
on the back) inside the deer’s stomach. Boudreau then phoned Howard and
requested that he (Howard) take him to the location of his Nov. 8 kill the
following morning. Howard agreed.

On the next day, when the two drove to the site where Howard claimed to have
shot and field-dressed his doe, sure enough, there was a gutpile.  And the
deer stomach containing Boudreau’s business card? It was there, too!

In the end, Boudreau’s hunch that Howard would move the doe’s remains played
out like something from a crime novel or a television script.

Here at the Outdoor News Hound, we like to call it, “CSI: Gutpile.”

According to the newspaper report, court records indicate that Howard has
presented the fish and game department with a written confession and has
admitted to hunting on posted property. He is scheduled to be arraigned next
week in Portsmouth District Court.

Interior Dept. OK’s Loaded Firearms In National Parks
A U.S. Department of the Interior ruling issued last week allows individuals
holding valid concealed carry permits to have loaded weapons in a national park
or federal wildlife refuge if the state in which the park or refuge is located
also allows loaded firearms in parks.

The rule reverses a long-standing regulation that restricted loaded firearms
in parks and wildlife refuges. It will become effective next month.

The new regulations allow right-to-carry permit holders to exercise their
Second Amendment rights on national park and wildlife refuges in those states
that recognize such permits.

The move will provide consistency across our nation’s federal lands and put
an end to the patchwork of regulations that governed different lands managed by
different federal agencies. In the past, Bureau of Land Management and Forest
Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while lands managed by DOI did

"We applaud the Interior Department’s efforts to amend these out of
date regulations," said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. "We are
pleased that the Interior Department recognizes the right of law-abiding
citizens to protect themselves and their families while enjoying America’s
National Parks and wildlife refuges."

Pennsylvania Bear Attack Victim: Bad Timing
Following an investigation into a black bear attack in which a Pennsylvania
hunter suffered puncture wounds and lacerations, the state game commission has
determined that the unfortunate man was simply "in the wrong place at the
wrong time: in between two bears."

The unnamed hunter was following fresh bear tracks through a snowy cornfield
on Nov. 25 when he encountered one bear, which at first ran away a short
distance and then turned and ran back toward him. As the hunter turned around
to look, a second bear hit him.

Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer David Carlini
said that he has concluded that no illegal actions took place and the hunter
was simply the victim of bad timing.

The victim suffered puncture wounds, bites and gashes, but nothing life
threatening. As the two bears ran off, the hunter walked to a dirt road
and was taken for medical treatment.      

To search the cornfield, WCO Carlini enlisted the assistance of Onyx, a
female Labrador retriever specially trained by the Game Commission to locate
evidence related to wildlife-related crimes and to retrieve hidden evidence,
and Lancaster/York Counties Land Management Group Supervisor Linda Swank,
Onyx’s exclusive handler since her recruitment into the agency’s canine
division in 2001.

"We found no evidence of a wounded bear or bears, no blood trails and
no den sites," WCO Carlini said." It simply appears to be a
case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: in between two bears. Why these two bears were together is unknown."

NSSF Challenges Grizzly Bear Lead Study
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the national trade organization
representing firearms manufacturers and the shooting industry, is challenging
the results of a study implying that grizzly bears in the Northern Rocky
Mountains have elevated lead levels in their blood during hunting seasons there.

A recent article appearing in the Billings (Mont.) Gazette, and subsequently
picked up by the Associated Press, reported that researchers concluded that
bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem had elevated lead levels as a result
of eating bullet fragments in the viscera of big game animals shot by hunters.

Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel, questioned
the validity of the report based on the motives of the researcher.

The study was conducted by Tom Rogers, a University of Montana graduate
student who has connections with an organization that has a history of
advocating the banning of lead bullets for hunting. Two researchers identified
as associates of Rogers are members of the Peregrine Fund, and one serves on it
board of directors.

"Some claims in the report bear more scrutiny," Keane wrote in
response to the newspaper report of the study. "No scientific
determination has been made as to what an ‘elevated blood level’ of lead is for
grizzly bears. Rogers used the level for humans."

Rogers’ study asserted that 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter is
considered an elevated blood level in humans. Keane counter that the Centers
for Disease Control’s recommended threshold for an adult is 25 mpd; the 10 mpd
level is for a child.

"Another misleading claim is that lead bullets shatter on impact.
Anyone who has ever field dressed a big-game animal will attest to the fact
that hunting bullets mushroom — they do not shatter," said Keane.

Quote Of The Week
"All Famous Fishermen are supposed to be widely traveled, and it is a rule
that the farther away fish are, the larger they become. The principle of
distance adding prestige is applied to anglers seeking recognition far from
home as well as to those making long trips to inform the home folks.”
-Charley Waterman
"How to be a Famous Fisherman"
“Field Days,” 1995

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear
in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the
outdoors weekly for You may contact him at