Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors
Oct. 14, 2015
Facebook Leads to Charges in West Virginia Albino Deer Killing
The West Virginia Natural Resources Police solved the case of an illegal killing that involved an albino deer in Boone County, thanks to help from Facebook users. You’ll also read about the most common cause of boat damage in the United States, and much more.
Case Closed, Thanks to Social Media
On September 27, West Virginia Natural Resources Police Officer Dakoda Chattin received a call from Boone County 911 advising that an albino deer had been shot and killed in someone’s yard along Route 17. After interviewing witnesses, the only evidence available was that there were multiple suspects involved and they drove a smaller model gray truck.
The incident was posted on the Natural Resources Police Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DNRpolice), with a request for help from the public. The post was subsequently viewed by nearly a half-million people and was shared by more than 7,000! Information received following the post helped Officer Chattin learn of suspects who might have committed the crime.
After investigation and research into names provided by the public, Officer Chattin made contact with three suspects. They admitted in their statements that they had committed the unlawful act.
Charges include hunting without a license, hunting during closed season, carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from a public road, and using an illegal firearm for deer hunting.
The taking of an albino by a licensed hunter during an open hunting season is legal. Some states prohibit taking completely white or albino deer.
“We continue to be impressed with how we’ve been able to solve crimes with the public’s help,” said Natural Resources Police Col. Jerry Jenkins. “The response has been beyond what we anticipated when we began using Facebook earlier this year. It’s become a valuable tool for us to gather information about crimes and suspects.”
Top Causes of Boat Damage in The U.S.
Captain Ahab and his ship, the Pequod, were served their fate by the mighty whale, Moby Dick, but a leading boat insurer reports that these days submerged objects such as trees and rocks cause more damage to boats than marine mammals.
Claims data from State Farm, the nations’ largest property insurer and a leading insurer of watercraft, indicates the most common cause of identifiable boat damage is striking a submerged or floating object, representing 31 percent of all losses submitted to State Farm in 2014 in the United States. Wind and hail damage is the second most common cause of claims, accounting for 13 percent of the State Farm total in 2014. Collision with a fixed object, such as a dock, was third with almost 8 percent.
Collisions with other watercraft represent only a small percentage of losses.
The company suggests the best way to prevent such damage is to know the water. Always research the area where you will be boating to familiarize yourself with possible hazards, such as submerged objects.
In addition, boat operators should know the nautical “rules of the road,” especially when meeting, crossing, or overtaking another boat. Maintain a safe speed and keep a watchful eye on the waters.
Virus Outbreak Takes Toll on Idaho Whitetail
Based on continuing reports of dead deer, Idaho Fish and Game officials estimate up to 1,000 whitetails have died from an outbreak of bluetongue, a virus transmitted by gnats that is similar to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). However, the outbreak is not expected to significantly reduce whitetail populations or affect hunting seasons that began October 10.
Bluetongue is transmitted the same way as EHD and is a similar disease, though neither poses a threat to humans. Gnats transport the virus from animal to animal. Outbreaks become more severe during hot, dry summers when animals congregate around water sources with muddy shorelines that are prime breeding ground for gnats.
The disease has hit whitetail herds in the Grangeville, Whitebird, Harpster, Juliaetta, Kendrick, Troy, Deary, and nearby areas this summer. The Clearwater area had a large-scale outbreak of EHD in 2003, when Fish and Game officials estimated up to 10,000 whitetails died.
Bluetongue is less common than EHD, and found in livestock throughout the Great Basin, although rarely fatal to livestock, according to Mark Drew, Fish and Game’s state wildlife veterinarian.
Deer with bluetongue virus were also confirmed in Eastern Washington and Northeast Oregon this fall.
Delaware Joins National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) announces the addition of the bipartisan Delaware Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus as the 48th state to join its National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC).
The new Caucus Chairs include Representatives Jeff Spiegelman and William Carson, Jr., and Senators Bruce Ennis and Brian Pettyjohn, and they will serve as the leaders of the Caucus in the Delaware General Assembly for the state’s 177,000 hunters and anglers.
“Delaware has proud hunting and fishing traditions and there are many legislators of this great state that are looking forward to using our new sportsmen’s caucus as a platform to protect and promote our outdoor sporting heritage,” said Rep. Spiegelman.
With the addition of Delaware, the NASC network now includes sportsmen’s caucuses in 48 states, with a combined membership of over 2,000 legislators.
Since its creation in 2004, NASC has more than doubled in size and has become the most effective and recognized group of bipartisan pro-sportsmen legislators in the nation.
Quote of the Week
“The perfection of life with a gun dog, like the perfection of an autumn, is disturbing because you know, even as it begins, that it must end. Time bestows the gift and steals it in the process.”
– George Bird Evans,
An Affair With Grouse, 1982
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 sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at email@example.com.
(Top Photo courtesy of West Virginia Natural Resources Police)