With all the rules dealing with hunting, even if you’re paying attention, it’s not hard to accidentally break one. And since you’re out there in the middle of nowhere, with nobody around to see you make a mistake, it’s also easy to pretend you never did anything wrong.
A recent mistake by our state’s chief game warden could have easily gone that way. Brian Nesvik was hunting with his son in the Washakie Wilderness a few weeks ago. He and his son each took shots at cow elk they were properly licensed for. Brian brought his down, but as he watched through the binoculars as his son shot, Brian was sure his son had missed his elk.
Brian told his son to pick out the same elk and shoot again. The boy took another shot, and that one was definitely a hit. The hunters went out and took care of their meat, but on their way back to pack the animals out, they ran across another dead cow elk. It turns out this was the first elk Brian’s son had shot at.
But instead of illegally tagging the elk with one of the extra licenses they had for another area, or just walking away from it as though it had never happened, Brian did the right thing. He field dressed the animal to preserve the edible portions, then he immediately called the game warden.
Our chief game warden was charged with being an accessory to taking an overlimit of big game, and he had to pay a $420 fine. But because he did the right thing and admitted his mistake, rather than trying to cover it up, there were no further penalties.
My hat is off to Brian Nesvik. He did the right thing, and he showed his son, by his actions, how to be a responsible, ethical hunter.