Ethical Situations

Submitted by Jerry S. on 11/9/1998.

( jds@vvm.com )

While doing a mount the other day, I began thinking about some of the questionable situations in the taxidermy industry that could be encountered. I just wanted to throw out a couple of situations and get some other people's ideas on them. 1) Two weeks into the deer season a client brings you a caped and frozen deer head that he said he killed on opening weekend and froze. The hide obviously has a late summer coat and the antlers are in velvet? He's tagged it so do you take it or not? 2) During bow season you take in a deer and, upon skinning the neck, it has an obvious gunshot wound. Now what? 3) A good client brings a BIG buck to you. While you are skinning the head, you notice a .22 cal bullet hole between the eyes (as if poached at night). This doesn't match the story he told about shooting it? Keep it? Return it? Call the game warden? One more . . .4) while skinning a huge striper, you see the tail of a baitfish in it's gullet. Closer inspection shows a rainbow trout rigged as bait (illegal). Now what? Please understand . .. these are NOT situations that are in my shop now, nor have they been in the past!!! Just what-ifs for the sake of evaluating your personal feelinbgs and for possible discussion. Thanks! Jerry S.

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Been there!

This response submitted by John C. on 11/9/1998.

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Sadley if you start trying to a narc, everyone including the legal hunters will stay away from your shop. You need to have a statment on the bbottom of your invoice thats says I__________ (clients name) do hereby swear this game was legally taken. Sighned and dated. Check with the local prosecuters office and they may be able to help you out with the statment. Or see your favorite lawyer. You also need a not held for harm statment releasing you from all liabilitie for animals taken illegally. You cant be the judge, jury or forensic pathologist for the game dept. I understand the need to do whats right. But I have been there and even legal hunters will stay away. So unless you have a million people to call on for clients. You dont have proof that the deer has harvested early, you have suspishions (spelling I know). Maybe the deer was shot in the head by someone else last night and Joe Hunter saw the deer walking slowly within range. And as for Jimmy Fisherman maybe he did catch the striper legally, Jeremy Jacklegger hhad last it a hour earlier. Storys grow as some hunter retell it time and time again, all taxidermist know this, we have heard the same story 5 or 6 times before the client gets his specimen back. Morally, etchiclly, business wise, DO WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. DO WHAT YOU CAN LIVE WITH. I know (in my mind) I have done stuff that was poached, but where I grew up a poacher will kill you if you turn him in, (hillbillys are mean as hell, they will do anything for you, just dont piss them off) Do what you think is right and what you can live with!!!!!!! Good luck John C.


My teacher told me...

This response submitted by Paul Coenen on 11/9/1998.

( p_coenen@mail.phillips.k12.wi.us )

The guy that's instructing me had the feds at his place because he got involved with an investigation concerning another taxidermy business selling illegal fish (he was their witness) and his horror stories about when they came and tore apart his shop looking for illegal stuff is enought to turn away that kind of business. And they were on his side these were the guys on his side. I guess they wanted to make sure he was a straight shooter before the trial. He really made an impression on me to never bend the rules. I work another job so when my business gets up and rolling, I can turn away that busines and it's no big deal. I feel for your guys...it's a tough decision. But then again, if it's got a legal tag, who are we to judge??? Good luck in your decisions.


opinion-Yox

This response submitted by Bill on 11/9/1998.

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if I am aware of the trophy being taken illegally, I tell them 1) they stole it from a sportsman, 2)I don't want them around my studio, 3) the CO checks ALL trophies here. Bottom line is he's a maggot AND he ripped us off at a chance to get the animal legally. I just had a phone call yesterday from a local tax. who had a similar question. I told him that the state doesn't pay us to be gamies but we do have ethical obligations. The last outlaw I had here finally has gotten the point and not returned...how? Easy, I tell everyone who inquires EXACTLY how he got the animal! Of course, they don't shoot at me around here, either. You should have heard about the last idiot who threatened to shoot one of my penned bucks...If you honestly didn't know the game was illegally taken until after the mount is processed, the law didn't either. I like JC's suggestion about the signed statement to cover your ass, too. Just remember, YOU have to play by the same rules as well!!!No extra ducks or unsigned deer tags.


deja-poacher

This response submitted by Bill on 11/10/1998.

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Now that we've brought up the subject, I answered yesterday (see above) and then I heard another one last night. A good customer was leaving work here while a good friend was visiting. After finding out that each one knew the others hunting spot, the same 100 acres, the client mentions that he knows a guy who took too many turkeys last spring.(we are allowed 2 spring birds) Seems he has a counting problem. The solution? Same as my last letter. We told the customer he's getting ripped off, and the friend of mine is fuming, he doesnt like to even take his 2 birds from one woodlot(too small) so I can GUARANTEE you the guy gets a lesson in counting turkeys this spring. Either that or the guy shoots one too many and the NWTF will be sending my pal $100. Peer pressure works sometimes!


yet another nightmare

This response submitted by Dave on 11/10/1998.

( rkerr1998@aol.com )

Here's another nightmare for ya. It happened last year not too far from me. I'm not sure what the deal is with importing polar bears, last i heard they were about to let you bring them in. Anyway someone calls the bureau of fish and game here and says Joe Blow has a polar bear in his freezer. The next day state troopers, local cops, and game wardens pull up at an ungodly hour in the morning to check him out. First he and his family are pulled from the house and the police search the house to secure any firearms. Then the game wardens search every nook and crany of the house for the bear and anything else they may find. And what did they find. Nothing. All legal and on the up and up. All the tags and books were in order. NO polar bear. What a waste of time and money. His and the officers involved. If memory serves me right there were around 10 there all day. I dont know who called this in but would think more than likely one of those bunny huggers. Around the same time another guys place was searched and resulted in nothing wrong with his stuff either. He did have a problem with the steel legholds sitting in a box in his attick though. (they are very illegal here in Jersey, thanks again bunny huggers, but in my opinion if you cant control your dog or cat you shouldnt be allowed to have them) Sorry for the ranting but poachers and slob hunters are lower than whale crap ( bottom of the ocean??) and ruin everything for us law abiding people. Would i turn away thier work? Damn right I would! Dave K.


Dave, that wasnt a bunny squeezer

This response submitted by Bill on 11/10/1998.

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...I'll put my money on an ***hole taxidermist doing that. My buddy in downstate NY tells me all about the local shops all snooping around the other guys place to find a crack someplace, no sales tax on a job, a wholesale piece said to be there work,etc. Instead of looking over thier shoulder worrying about the other guy they should just do good work for THIER clients. Instead they just try to drag a good business down to thier LOW level. Boy would I love to name names, too!!! Thats the worst I've seen it, they're like a bunch of old ladies, it's pathetic. Oh, I'm sorry if I offended any old ladies! So, I'll bet a taxidermist made that phone call.


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