'Idiot' shows off big deer, finds out it's an elk

Discussion in 'The Hunting & Fishing Forum' started by warpig, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. warpig

    warpig Guest

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    (1/1/02 12:47:34 am)
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    'Idiot' shows off big deer, finds out it's an elk
    'Idiot' shows off big deer, finds out it's an elk
    Kentucky hunter 'mistakenly' shoots an elk and then shows it off around town to friends thinking it's a deer, faces fines and jail time

    By Roger Alford
    Associated Press — Nov. 29, 2001

    JACKSON, Ky. — Randolph Scott Stidham was so proud of the enormous deer he shot that he drove around town with the animal in the back of his pickup truck showing it off to friends.

    They're the ones who broke the bad news: What he had bagged was no deer but one of the much larger and heavily guarded elk that Kentucky wildlife officials have been trying to restore to the state's Appalachian mountains.

    “ Anyone who mistakenly shoots an elk is an idiot. If a person cannot tell the difference between an elk and a deer, they should get rid of their firearms. They have no business in the woods. ”
    — Roy Grimes, deputy state fish and wildlife commissioner

    Now Stidham, 38, faces more than $8,000 in fines and up to a year in jail for what even the local prosecutor says could be a case of mistaken identity.

    But while Stidham is garnering sympathy around this eastern Kentucky town, state wildlife managers are incensed.

    "Anyone who mistakenly shoots an elk is an idiot," said Roy Grimes, deputy state fish and wildlife commissioner.

    "If a person cannot tell the difference between an elk and a deer, they should get rid of their firearms. They have no business in the woods," Grimes said. "These animals are as big as cattle, so the same person who mistakes an elk for a deer might also shoot someone's cow."

    Elk can weigh as much as 800 pounds, with the antlers alone stretching 6 feet long and weighing 50 pounds. Deer are about a fourth the size.

    Conservation officer Jamon Halvaksz said at least three elk were shot during deer season in surrounding Breathitt County. Someone took the back legs off one and left the rest to rot. Another was shot and left where it fell. Halvaksz said he doesn't believe any of the cases were accidents.

    After friends told him the animal he shot wasn't a deer, Stidham turned himself in to Halvaksz, a move that the local prosecutor said bodes well for him.

    "It was basically a case of mistaken identity," said Breathitt County Attorney Hershel Branson. "Obviously, he's guilty of it, but you have to look at intent. He tried to find a game warden as soon as he thought something was wrong."

    “ He did have deer tags; he did tag it and try to turn it in. It was somewhat bigger than a deer would be, but at 100 yards, you wouldn't be able to see the difference. ”
    — Hershel Branson, Breathitt County Attorney

    Halvaksz said one of the first things he did in the investigation was check to see if Stidham has impaired vision. He said the man's driver's license showed he didn't need glasses.

    "There is no part of an elk that looks like a deer," Halvaksz said. "It's like comparing a tractor-trailer to a pickup truck. The only way to make that mistake is to shoot in the dark, then it might have been a horse, a pickup truck or anything."

    Stidham and his attorney, Andrea Williams, declined to comment on the case.

    Branson said the elk was a young bull with spike antlers.

    "He did have deer tags; he did tag it and try to turn it in," Branson said. "It was somewhat bigger than a deer would be, but at 100 yards, you wouldn't be able to see the difference."

    The penalty for shooting an elk ranges from a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, up to six months in jail, paying $3,200 for replacing the elk, and losing hunting privileges for up to three years.

    Wildlife managers began reintroducing elk to Kentucky in 1997 in 14 counties in the state's Appalachian region. Overhunting had pushed them into extinction in the state more than 150 years ago. The population now is about 1,300 elk, most of which were shipped from Utah, Arizona, Oregon, North Dakota and Kansas.

    "I'm really upset that someone would claim to mistakenly shoot an elk, or shoot an elk and leave it lay," Grimes said. "It's poaching. It's dishonest. It's criminal. They might as well go out and shoot their car."

    My Links: Hunter's HideoutSportsman's ParadiseNitro's Bulletin BoardThe Firearms ForumVIETNAM MEMORIES BULLETIN BOARDOutdoor-Sportsman

    Posts: 1829
    (1/1/02 1:00:37 pm)
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    I say he is a guilty fool with good intentions. Take his hunting license from him and fine him.

    Had a fellow come to South Dakota deer hunting a few years ago. He was staying at a local farmers house. Shot himself a deer and drug it into the farm yard.

    Farmer comes home and see the blood trail in the snow coming out of his pasture down the middle of the road and into his farm yard. He pulls in and sees the guys pickup with a damn cow tied to the bumper.

    I also know a guy who was out poaching deer and shot a horse.
    We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans... -- Bill Clinton, US President (USA Today, 11 Mar 1993, page 2a)

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    (1/1/02 4:36:35 pm)
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    Re: 'Idiot' shows off big deer, finds out it's an elk
    some people were born dumbasses!

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    Posts: 389
    (1/2/02 11:25:14 pm)
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    Poor bastard, fine him and use it as an example. We get an idiot every year shooting moose thinking it was an elk. Just more ammo for the anti hunt crowd.
    Browning-The Best There Is.

    the real fredneck
    Posts: 698
    (1/3/02 7:36:27 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: 'Idiot' shows off big deer, finds out it's an elk
    I've never had the opportunity to go elk hunting but would think it would be easy to recognize the difference between one and a deer

    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
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    (1/3/02 6:19:17 pm)
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    The differences are pretty obvious when seen side by side.

    For someone who isn't very familiar with elk, especially a smaller raghorn bull, I can see where in the thick woods a mistake could be made. Being as he turned himself in after realizing the mistake, I think the game dept should give him the benefit of doubt, fine him, yank the hunting privilege for a year or so, and get on with life.

    These game and fish officials can get pretty narrow minded when it comes to "their" pet projects - such as reintroducing the Mexican Grey Wolf out here in my part of the world. Mistakes will be made by people misidentifying the animals and shooting them with the best of intentions. People should pay for their mistakes - not have their lives ruined!

    Catching someone poaching is another matter. Throw the book and jail time at them with no mercy.

    My 2 bits worth, anyway.

    Posts: 22
    (1/14/02 4:05:45 pm)
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    That, IMHO, is two-bits well spent!!!!!

    Posts: 5
    (2/11/02 11:47:39 pm)
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    If you let him off the hook you open the door for the next idiot to do the same. Ignorance is no excuse. Last year the DNR here in Iowa released 2 Trumpeter Swans in the attempt to begin its reintroduction here and 2 weeks later a couple of 16 year old boys shot them and claimed they thought they were snow geese. These boys were fined and lost the hunting and fishing priveleges for life.
    KNOW YOUR TARGET!!!!!!!!
  2. claytonovic

    claytonovic New Member

    Nov 24, 2007
    Sooke, British Columbia, Canada.
    Maybe they should handcuff him in an elk suit, put some pheremone on him and leave him in a pen with some rutting bulls!!

  3. catfish83861

    catfish83861 Active Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    North Idaho
    While I realize that he allegedly did not realize the difference, he is still in violation. In my country opinion, a very stiff fine and loss of license for three years should suffice. Just this old sailors opinion. Oh yea, wouldn't him on sentry duty when I was coming in, he might not know the difference between me and the bad guy :eek:. catfish
  4. Texman

    Texman New Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    my brother is a wild life biologist and several years ago on a ranch down on the Mexico/Texas border he brought in some elk for a breeding program..

    Sure nuff, first day of season,, one of the drunk Houston lawyers drove back to camp dragging one of his prize elks!!! Brother made him skin it and dress it out, then charged him per pound for the meat and banned him from the ranch for life..

    Jerks,, :mad: that it why I quit guiding and running leases..
  5. whip

    whip Member

    Jan 29, 2006
    Several years ago here in Wyoming some guy tried to check a mule in at a game check station mistaking it for a cow moose. Just a couple of years ago a guy killed a cow moose thinking it was a cow elk. It never ceases to amaze me how some folks can be so clueless when it comes to wildlife.

    I was with my wife up in Yellowstone last year and I heard a woman ask a fellow with her how old a deer had to be before it was considered an elk.
  6. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville Member

    Aug 28, 2007

    Isn't it 5 years?:confused:
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    When I lived in Pennsylvania in the early 1980s, they had (at the time" the only herd of Elk this side of the Mississippi (and the ONLY ones left from the original herds from the 17-1800s, in "Elk" and "Dubois" Counties...the rest since have been "transplanted...") and at the same time every year, right before deer season, they would announce the estimated size of the "herd," I remember when I was there one time it was in the mid 40s...TOTAL herd size...since it was legal to "spotlight" at the time as long as you had no gun, it was a big sport in those counties to run 4x4s to hell and gone ( of course with copious amounts of BEER) with lights until a couple of you cornered a Bull at night, after which he would stop and in full splendor of the lights, stand back, tilt his head back and BELLOW.... :D

    And EVERY year during deer season that I lived there they would have the picture in the paper of a poor slob who had shot a 900 lbs Bull Elk in Elk or Dubois County because "He thought it was a Deer....":cool:

    The Game Commission would take his gun, his car, and he would lose his permission to hunt in PA for life....and every OTHER deer hunter in PA would say it was not enough....;)

    Also, I remember when I checked in my first "all by myself" deer in Athens Ohio, at the check station/sporting goods shop they had a mount of a buck with a sign that said "This is a Deer" and right next to it a mount of a COW with a sign that said "This is NOT a deer!"....and I commented how funny that was...

    The guy checking my deer said it was only half meant as a joke...

    He said a couple of years earlier, a "City Hunter" pulled up with a GOAT tied on his trunk lid, wanting his "doe" checked in...:eek::p;)

    He said it might have been almost be EXPLAINABLE if it had been BROWN...but it was spotted BLACK and WHITE....:eek:
  8. Michael G

    Michael G New Member

    Dec 4, 2007
    Garland Texas
    Many years ago when I hunted in west texas on a ranch, a deer hunter from out of state shot and brought in one of the ranch owners billy goats thinking it was his first deer to kill and a buck to boot. She charged him more for the killl and never told him any different. He drove away with the thing strapped to his vehicle. I don't believe she ever let him come back.
  9. user

    user Active Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    Northern piedmont of Va. and Middle of Nowhere, We
    If shooting the elk is a "general intent" crime, then he's guilty, because he intended to shoot a specific animal, he did shoot the animal, and he did kill that specific animal. If it's a "specific intent" crime, then he's not guilty, because he didn't intend to kill an elk, and had an honest good faith belief that he was killing a deer. I don't know what the law is in Kentucky, but two things have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to find a defendant guilty of a crime: criminal intent ("mens rea" or "evil mind") and a prohibited act. No question about the act in this case; and it seems like a slam dunk as to intent, too, but which way depends on whether he's supposed to have intended to kill an elk, or just to intentionally commit an act which happens to result in the death of the elk.
  10. qajaq

    qajaq New Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    Well, he isn't the only idiot around. Years ago I was at the check station in Massachusetts and a guy came in all excited about the albino deer he had shot. Duh.... How about someone's pet goat?
  11. jim summers

    jim summers Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    I reside in southern Indiana, you can almost step
    There's something scary about someone out in the field who does not know the difference between an elk and a deer. Wonder if he knows the difference between a human and a bear standing on it's hind legs.
  12. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    West, TX
    We have to know the difference between a stop sign and a yield sign before we are allowed to drive. It is a hunter's responsibility to educate himself on animal species before pulling a trigger. No excuses I would give him a maximum sentence and possibly castrate him. Guess that is why I am not a judge.....lol
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