Web Site Hit Counter

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wisconsin pair shoots 600 animals in 'thrill-killing' of rabbits, deer, turkeys, turtles: officials

June 1, 2008
PORTAGE, Wis. — The alleged thrill-killing of as many 600 animals in Columbia and Marquette counties is the worst case in the nation this year, officials said.

The Humane Society of the United States recently contacted authorities involved in investigating and prosecuting Josh Kerl, 21, of Portage, and Adam Stalsberg, 22, of Neshkoro.

Left: baby jack rabbit
The men are accused of using a high-powered rifle and spotlight to shoot animals from their vehicle over the past year, and the organization wants meaningful fines, permanent revocation of hunting licenses and restitution for the deaths of protected animals.

‘‘The amount of animals killed and the wide variety of animals involved in this case is unusual. It’s a blatant disregard for wildlife,’’ spokeswoman Casey Pheiffer said.
Right: punked out red squirrel
Kerl and Stalsberg are accused of killing mostly small game out of season, including hundreds of rabbits, squirrels and raccoons.

But the pair allegedly also killed deer, turkeys, crows, snapping turtles, ducks and protected species of owls, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks and sandhill cranes.

The majority of animals killed were left to rot, according to officials.

Each man was charged with 82 citations in the counties combined, but the citations are not criminal in nature.
But each man will face two misdemeanor criminal charges that occurred in Columbia County for hunting deer during closed season and hunting deer at night with a spotlight.

For those charges, the men could face a $2,100 fine, 60 to 90 days in jail and having their hunting license revoked for three years. They make their initial appearance on Aug. 20 in Columbia County Circuit Court.

‘‘Thrill-killing lends itself to instant gratification, not the totality of the hunt, which includes everything from studying up on the animal, scouting and finding an ideal spot for a blind,’’ said Chuck Horn, a Department of Natural Resources conservation warden supervisor.
‘‘Trying to get people involved in legal hunting, we stress that pulling of the trigger, or releasing an arrow, are such a small part of the hunt.’’

The alleged thrill-killing by Kerl and Stalsberg is one of the biggest cases in Wisconsin within the last decade, Horn said.

‘‘That’s quite excessive compared to other cases we’ve had,’’ Horn said. ‘‘I was a bit appalled.’’

Although poaching and thrill-killing of animals are both illegal, Horn said, poachers use some or all of the animal, such as meat, antlers or fur, while people who thrill-kill shoot animals and leave the body to rot.

Above: raccoon
Pheiffer, who works as the manager for the Humane Society’s Wildlife Abuse Campaign, said states with the tightest laws against poaching have the lowest occurrences.

‘‘It’s difficult to know what the individual motives are,’’ Pheiffer said. ‘‘Sometimes it’s people who participate in it as a way to impress their friends, or maybe it’s a symptom of a bigger problem.’’

Left: deer in the headlights.
Right: Sandhill Crane (a gorgeous one at that) on the endangered species list.

No comments: