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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Bighorn hunter says international guide stole his trophy

HUNTING — A short story version ran in the paper Saturday telling of a Montana big-game hunter who's suing a Canadian outfitter and a world-renowned hunting guide in Tajikistan for stealing the trophy horns of a rare wild argali sheep known as the “Marco Polo.”

He accuses the outfitters with switching his trophy with lesser horns as they were shipped to the USA.

The story is intriguing, since all of these guides are big-wigs at the annual Safari International conventions.

Click “continue reading” to see the entire story from the Associated Press.

Newberg joins Elk Foundation board despite outfitters’ plea

HUNTING — Despite an effort and even a hint of extortion by some Montana outfitters to have him barred, television host Randy Newberg’s appointment to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s board was announced on Wednesday.

“Our position is pretty simple,” David Allen, RMEF’s CEO, told the Billings Gazette. “We feel we have room for all types of hunters and nonhunters.
Some outfitters don't like Newberg because his Sportsman Channel show features do-it-yourself hunting at the expense of guided hunts.  See details and links in this previous post.
“We are not going to get into hunter versus hunter debates because that’s nonproductive for all of us,” Allen added. “One person on a 24-member board does not have an undue influence on strategy.”
Click here for the story by Brett French of the Billing Gazette.

Montana outfitters threaten Elk Foundation over board nominee

BIG-GAME — Some Montana outfitters are threatening to withdraw support from the the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation if the conservation group doesn't withdraw its nomination of national hunting TV show host Randy Newberg to its board of directors.

The outfitters contend Newberg's Sportsman Channel show, On Your Own Adventures, favors do-it-yourself hunters and puts down the services of guides.

In an email from Montana Outfitters and Guides Association to all of the RMEF board members, management and other state outfitter associations, director Mac Minard stated on Wednesday that “Outfitters from several states have expressed concern …” because Newberg “…is affiliated with, and often represents one or more organizations that some perceive to be anti-outfitting/landowner often presenting the western Outfitting Industry in a negative light.”

Minard’s email goes on to say, “(Montana based outfitters) have indicated they may withdraw donations to RMEF if the appointment goes through.”

  • Newberg is outraged by the charges and posted this thread of comments on his Hunt Talk blog site.
  • Billings Gazette outdoor writer posted a story on the flap, noting that the story may be updated later today.

My two cents: I'm very surprised the MOGA would take this stand against a hunter and outdoorsman who is top notch in his line of work. If anything else, a little diversity on the RMEF board would make the organization stronger. Mostly, I see this as another regrettable fracture in the ranks of sportsmen.

Read on for more details from the Gazette story:

Local hunter rallies to salvage non-residents’ botched guided hunt

HUNTING — It's buyer-beware when paying money to an outfitter for a big-game hunt, especially when the deal is made online and payment is in person without going through a safety net such as PayPal or a credit card.

I give examples of hunters who say they've been burned by a Spokane-area man who advertises a hunting service on eBay in today's outdoors column.

  • Note: since my column was published, Sean Siegel's eBay ad for a 2013 7-Day Eastern Washington Elk Hunt has been removed.

One of these disgruntled hunters was able to salvage his trip from California through the generosity of a local man who heard of his plight at a restaurant.  I din't have room in the column for “the rest of the story:”

In 2012, Jeff Hunt of Modesto, Calif., and a friend booked a five-day bear hunt. First problem: Local hunting facilitator Sean Siegel had promised that for the price of $1,000, he would set the hunters up with a place to hunt, complete with tree blinds.

“I have it in writing,” Hunt said. “But he sets us up in a ground blind. I'm glassing through the trees at daylight and I see lady doing dishes through her kitchen window. There’s a road right there. Another house. A school bus. I have a .300 Win. Mag and I’m afraid to shoot the thing.”

The clincher: Siegel later gave the men directions to timber company land on Mica Peak, but he never told them they were required to have an Inland Empire Paper Company access permit. A company security guard caught them, booted them off and called Fish and Wildlife police.

”We went to a restaurant, and we’re all pissed off about getting ripped off by this hunting guide, and somebody we don’t know from Adam hears us and offers to take us hunting,” Hunt said.

“The next morning he drives us all the way north near the Canada border and we saw several bears. We didn’t shoot one, but at least we saw some. The best part of our hunting experience was through a guy who wouldn’t take a dime for what he did for us.”