Jun. 23, 2004
"THAT'S GOTTA BE TOUGH, TRYING TO GET A SHOT WITH ALL
THOSE ANIMALS STANDING IN THE CORNER OF THAT FENCE." "OH YEAH,
THAT'S REAL TOUGH, HA, HA."
A secretly made videotape of a hunting incident in
Southern Utah has raised ethical questions and triggered an investigation by
It appears to show deer and elk deliberately trapped ...
until a prize buck is shot and killed by a California hunter. A hunter, who
paid big money for the kill.
John Hollenhorst is here ... to tell us more.
The hunting outfitter vigorously denies allegations of
trapping. He says this videotape... which we received anonymously... is
But he admits what happened was bad. And a top wildlfie
official says he finds it very distasteful.
The incident took place just outside Alton in Kane County.
It's private farmland where a California hunter paid about 11,000
dollars to shoot a trophy deer.
Last September, other hunters shot this videotape as the
Californian and two guides went after an especially desirable buck deer.
OFF-CAMERA VOICES: "THEY GOT HIM TRAPPED, DON'T THEY?
In off-camera conversations, the videotapers are heard
accusing the hunting party of cornering deer and elk along an 8-foot-high fence
for at least an hour or two.
OFF-CAMERA VOICES: "THAT'S SAD MAN, IT MAKES YOU SICK."
"NOT A VERY NOBLE DEATH IS IT?"
Eventually the prize buck of the herd dropped to the
BANG! OFF-CAMERA VOICES: "THEY NICKED HIM, DID THEY? "THEY
But outfitter Wade Heaton says the deer had plenty of
running room. A vast acreage is contained within a series of fences that are
mostly low enough for deer to jump over. A partially completed 8-foot-high
fence was only a partial barrier to the trophy buck.
WADE HEATON/COLOR COUNTRY OUTFITTERS: "HE WAS IN NO WAY
TRAPPED. THERE WAS LOTS OF GROUND FOR HIM TO COVER. HE JUST PICKED A
PARTICULAR CORNER THERE THAT HE COULDN'T GO OUT OF."
He says the incident stretched on because the first shot
only wounded the deer. The rifle malfunctioned and it took time to get
another rifle and finish the job.
WADE HEATON/COLOR COUNTRY OUTFITTERS: "NO ONE IS
PARTICULARLY HAPPY ABOUT IT. IT WAS AN UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT THAT WILL
NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN AND THANK GOODNESS THAT IT WON'T."
JOHN HOLLENHORST REPORTING: "THE PEOPLE WHO SHOT THE VIDEO
REFUSED TO SPEAK TO US ON CAMERA. BUT ONE OF THEM TOLD US IT WAS
THE DEER WERE TRAPPED BY THE FENCE, AND THEIR EXIT POINTS CUT OFF BY
PEOPLE AND VEHICLES."
OFF-CAMERA VOICES: "THOSE GATES RIGHT THERE HAVEN'T BEEN
THERE ALL SUMMER AND NOW THEY'RE PROPPED UP."
The videotapers claim that exit points were blocked by
temporary gates, put up just before the hunt.
WADE HEATON/COLOR COUNTRY OUTFITTERS: "HUUNHHH. YOU KNOW I
REALLY, UH, I COULD GIVE YOU MY OPINION ON THAT. BUT I REALLY DON'T
KNOW. SOME OF THE OTHER HUNTERS IN THE AREA THAT WEREN'T PART OF
I HEARD THEY WERE DOING THAT AS WELL. BUT I REALLY CAN'T CONFIRM THAT
The case is tricky from a legal standpoint: How do you
define the difference between trapping in fact... versus trapping in effect.
And it's an ethical quandary too: how different is this
from a group of hunters pressuring a herd of deer up a box canyon. A
The Division of Wildlife has completed an investigation
and it's now in the hands of the Kane County Attorney.