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Idaho wildlife official resigns amid outrage after sharing photos of African trophy hunt

The head of Idaho's Fish and Game Commission has stepped down, after photos of his recent hunt in Namibia went viral. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

The head of Idaho's Fish and Game Commission has resigned, after pictures he emailed to friends and colleagues from a recent hunt in Africa were leaked online.

What are the details?

When Blake Fischer and his wife returned from a two-week hunt in Namibia in southwest Africa, he sent photos of their adventure to those he thought might appreciate the couple's success. Instead, it led to calls for him to step down.

Fischer emailed captioned images of the couple's 14 kills, which included a giraffe, warthog, kudu, and leopard. But once the pics were posted online, outrage ensued — especially over a snapshot showing baboons taken down in a bow hunt. Fischer was shown posing with the dead primates, and wrote, "So I shot a whole family of baboons."

In response, several former commissioners criticized Fischer, calling on him to resign. The first was Fred Trevey, who told Fischer in an email obtained by KBOI-TV, "My reaction to the photo and accompanying text of you smiling and holding a 'family' of primates you killed, dismays and disappoints me."

"I have a difficult time understanding how a person privileged to be an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner can view such an action as sportsmanlike and an example to others," he continued.

Trevey further scolded Fischer, saying that although the hunt may have been legal, "legal doesn't make it right."

"Your poor judgment has unnecessarily put the institution's credibility, and hunting in general, at risk in a blink of an eye," he added. "My belief is you should take responsibility and resign, sooner rather than later."

Initially, Fischer defended himself, telling the Idaho Statesman, "I didn't do anything illegal. I didn't do anything unethical. I didn't do anything immoral. ... I look at the way Idaho's Fish and Game statute says we're supposed to manage all animals for Idaho, and any surplus of animals we have we manage through hunting, fishing and trapping. Africa does the same thing."

What happened next?

However, Fischer handed in his resignation after Gov. Butch Otter called for it on Monday,  saying, in a letter, "I recently made some poor judgments that resulted in sharing photos of a hunt in which I did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested,"

"While these actions were out of character for me, I fully accept responsibility and feel it is best for the citizens of Idaho and sportsmen and women that I resign my post," he continued. "I apologize to the hunters and anglers of Idaho who I was appointed to represent and I hope that my actions will not harm the integrity and ethic of the Idaho Fish & Game Department moving forward."

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