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“I shot a whole family of baboons,” Idaho Fish and Game commissioner boasts

Idaho Fish and Game commissioner Blake Fischer poses with four dead baboons and a giraffe after a game hunting trip in Namibia. (Idaho Statesman/Idaho Governor's Office)

Blake Fischer’s job is to protect animals. He is one of Idaho’s Fish and Game commissioners; a man tasked with making sure that the animals in his state aren’t over-hunted or illegally poached.

That’s what made the e-mail he sent out to a hundred colleagues and friends on Sept. 17th so shocking. Because inside that letter was a picture of Fischer, out in Namibia on holiday, posing with an entire family of dead baboons.

Under the photograph, Fischer had written:

“My wife and I went to Namibia for a week. She wanted to watch me and ‘get a feel’ of Africa. … So I shot a whole family of baboons.”

In the photograph, Blake Fischer is grinning broadly, holding up the carcasses in of the dead animals in a mockery of a family photograph. Their baby lies in the front, its head craned back like its neck has been snapped, blood still spilling out from its stomach.

They were just four of at least fourteen wild animals Fischer had killed in Africa, according to his letter. He’d slaughtered leopards, giraffes, impalas, and waterbucks alike in a big game hunting safari across the Namibian wilderness.

In his letter, Fischer joked: “I think she got the idea quick.”

Blake Fischer’s safari of slaughter

Blake Fischer With Leopard

“I shot a Leopard,” Fischer boasted in his e-mail. “The Leopard is one of the big 5 … animals in Africa that will kill you before you can kill it. Crazy cool animal.” (Idaho Statesman/Idaho Governor’s Office)

Blake Fischer’s e-mail went out to about a hundred friends, family members, and co-workers, many of them Fish and Game commissioners themselves.

Not everyone was amused. Some of the people on Fischer’s list were horrified by the photographs of their colleague, posing over the corpses of animals who had been killed purely for sport.

Local papers, after getting wind of the outrage, managed to get ahold of Blake Fischer’s e-mails by filing a records request, and before long, Fischer’s safari slaughter was exposed to the world.

Many are calling on him to resign, including some of his own colleagues.

“I think that’s revolting,” former commissioner Keith Stonebraker told the Idaho Statesman. “It just puts a bad light on us.”

Another former commissioner, Fred Trevey, wrote a long e-mail to Fischer, admonishing for what he’d done:

“The photo and accompanying text of you smiling and holding a ‘family’ of primates you killed, dismays and disappoints me. … Your poor judgement has unnecessarily put the institution’s credibility, and hunting in general, at risk in a blink of an eye.”

Blake Fischer’s photograph does, in fact, violate the state’s department of Fish and Game’s best policies, which say that hunters should “refrain from taking photographs of the kill and from vividly describing the kill within earshot of non-hunters.”

Fischer himself, however, insists that he didn’t do anything wrong. When contacted by the Idaho Statesman, Fischer said:

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

He insists that the animals he killed were overpopulated in Namibia and that he followed every regulation while hunting them.

For many, though, his justification hasn’t been enough. The response online has been nearly unanimously critical, with many calling on Fischer to lose his job.

More to the story

Is this a clear-cut case of animal cruelty — or just a hunter culling an overpopulated herd? Dave & Dujanovic talked about this story on KSL Newsradio, and while Debbie Dujanovic said that it left her “incensed”, Dave didn’t see any problem with it at all.

“If you see a deer, you wouldn’t think a second thought,” Dave says, “but as soon as you see something more exotic–” we burst into outrage.

If you missed the show, you can still hear everything they had to say on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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