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Call it something else, please

I’m not a hunter. Compared to me, even Mitt Romney looks like Daniel Boone. I have nothing against hunting, it’s just not my idea of a good time. But I can at least understand the allure, on some level, of matching wits with your prey on even terms, on their turf.

This, however, I don’t understand at all.

Dan Duncan may not have known it was against the law to hunt from a helicopter in Russia, but some say the Houston billionaire should have.

Duncan, 74, appeared before a grand jury in Houston this week to answer questions about a 2002 hunting trip he took in Russia where he shot a moose and a sheep from a helicopter.

Duncan told the Chronicle he believed he was within the law because his Russian guide instructed him to take the shots.

It wasn’t until he was recently contacted by U.S. investigators that he learned the practice was illegal in Russia and that by bringing the trophy heads back to the U.S., he violated a law here known as the Lacey Act.

But some believe the executive with pipeline giant Enterprise Products Partners shouldn’t have used the assistance of the aircraft when making the shot anyhow.

“Hunting from aircraft has long been prohibited in the U.S. So I’d think any experienced hunter from the U.S. would know it’s illegal elsewhere,” said Michael Bean, an attorney and chairman of the wildlife program for Environmental Defense in Washington, D.C.

I’m sorry, but taking a potshot at a moose from a helicopter, I don’t know what you call it, but I don’t call it hunting. It’s not a fair fight. I feel the same way about the “canned” hunts on private ranches, where the game is basically trapped in an enclosed area, and every two-bit Kit Carson who pays for the privilege is guaranteed to kill something. To me, this has more in common with Michael Vick than it does with anything that can reasonably be called a sport. I have no opinion on whether or not the feds should pursue a case against this guy – maybe he really didn’t know it was illegal, and for sure they have better things to be doing – and to some extent, I don’t really care. I’ll settle for him feeling shame for taking part in this. If he’s not ashamed of himself, he should be.

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2 Comments

  1. Jim D says:

    I’d note that, at least until you give the moose the opportunity to shoot back, it is not going to be a fair fight. It’s sort of shades of gray.

    My understanding was that the helicopter wasn’t moving. Moreover, as one of the sources notes, Duncan is an old, old man.

    Still, there’s a point whre hunting ceases to be a sport. This is probably not sport hunting, but I’m still not entirely sure I’m feeling the outrage.

    If he had used the Imperial Death Star to liquidate said moose (and/or every single Jedi) I’d agree with you 100 percent.

  2. Jim D says:

    And for what it is worth, hunting from an airplane and/or helicopter is illegal in the United States, too.

    (This Duncan case worries me though, I’m afraid some crafty lawyers will try to gut the Lacey Act).