Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Resigns after African Hunt Backlash

This photo from an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner garnered the majority of criticism. (Photo: Idaho Governor’s Office)

A Fish and Game Commissioner in Idaho has been forced to resign after public outcry following a report by the Idaho Statesman detailing his recent hunting trip to Africa.

The newspaper obtained photos from an email Commissioner Blake Fischer sent to 100 friends and colleagues. The photos depicted the hunter and his wife posing with a variety of African animals from their recent trip to Namibia, including an oryx, a giraffe, a waterbuck, a leopard and a group of four baboons.

Several former Fish and Game Commissioners were included on the email, and at least one of them responded asking him to resign. After the Statesman broke the story earlier this week, Idaho Governor Butch Otter reportedly received thousands of emails and phone calls also demanding Fischer’s resignation.

“I have high expectations and standards for every appointee in state government,” Otter said in the press release. “Every member of my administration is expected to exercise good judgment. Commissioner Fischer did not. Accordingly, I have accepted his resignation from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.”

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“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,” Fischer wrote in his resignation letter, according to the Statesman.

“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.”

Photo: Idaho Governor’s Office

Photo: Idaho Governor’s Office

Before the story exploded, however, Fischer took a different stance.

“I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t do anything unethical. I didn’t do anything immoral,” Fischer said in an interview for the Statesman’s initial story. “… 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.”

Former Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners were largely opposed to Fischer’s actions, though some came to his defense.

Former commissioner Will Naillon served with Fischer and refused to be among those calling for his resignation.

“Blake is an ethical hunter,” he told the Statesman.

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Fred Trevey, another former commissioner who served from 2007 to 2015, accused Fischer of unethical and unsportsmanlike behavior.

“I’m sure what you did was legal, however, legal does not make it right,” Trevey wrote in the email obtained by the Statesman. “… Sportsmanlike behavior is the center pin to maintaining hunting as a socially acceptable activity.”

“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 wrote.

Keith Stonebraker of Lewiston, who was a commissioner from 1976 to 1987, echoed Trevey’s sentiments.

“They killed a whole family, including small baboons, and I think that’s revolting,” Stonebraker said. “… It just puts a bad light on us.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Robert Studley August 7, 2021, 1:48 pm

    I see there is no shortage of baboons in this country.

  • Dave Dumon August 6, 2021, 12:19 pm

    shouldn’t step down , and do the people who wanted him out knows what baboons ae like they should read more also he most likely help that place by getting meat for the local people and money into the locals . That said CA is one sick state as the game animals here are increasing , can’t use normal bullets have to non-lead ,p.s local coyote packs increasing m Marin county and they want wack more elk out by point reyes can’t allow us to pay for a hunt what a waste.

  • Steve Ilijic August 6, 2021, 3:21 am

    One more victim of cancel culture. One step closer to re-education camps and gulags.

  • Tom Carvelli June 2, 2020, 1:20 pm

    Everything the fellow did was legal. Like it or not it was legal. He did nothing wrong!

  • Mark Lee May 15, 2020, 2:30 pm

    The complainers are comprised of perpetually indignant liberals who are in search of/trolling for a cause.

    This kind of “looking for trouble” is the evolution of “politically incorrect” condemnation that normal people had mistakenly ignored for years, hoping/assuming that it was going to be a passing fad.

    Guess what? Being indignant must grant these liberals’ some level of satisfaction – preying on others’ freedom is a definitive aspect of fascism. It has to stop.

  • William Zipkin November 7, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Those innocent animals weren’t “pests” & they weren’t “harvested” … they were murdered!

    • Joel Warthen February 11, 2020, 10:30 am

      William Zipkin: You were there? You know the situation? I think not, you are apparently a self righteous reactionary with an unhealthy dose of political correctness.

      • Steve Kosovich March 3, 2020, 8:40 am

        Joel! Can you eat giraffe and baboons, I bet the young ones are delicious.
        The situation was that he killed animals that did not need to be killed.

  • BubbaOnPC November 7, 2018, 12:00 pm

    Looks like a good Hunting trip to Africa…could someone tell me why this Gainfully Employed Tax paying Legal Citizen is being forced out of work ?? Did he Poach these animals? Is Africa accusing him of crimes…trespass…stole a towel from Hunting Lodge?? I never knew you could lose your job for taking pictures of LEGALLY TAGGED kills ! Sounds like some LibTard got bored setting at home waiting on their Welfare check to arrive…or maybe a little jealous that a person, who actually works, has enough money for a Hunting Trip..??? !! If the pictures offend you…dont look ! I guess Idaho will be banning picture taking…period. If Idaho wants to FIRE workers….start with people who pose beside Demoncrats…now that is disgusting and tasteless…..
    I hope this Fischer sues Idaho for 25-30 Million…then uses that money for Civil charges against the whinny ass cry babies that got the ball rolling. If no crime was committed in Africa, then Idaho just needs to put on their Big Boy Undies and suck it up…maybe put a lil more effort into catching Poachers in IDAHO.

    • Steve Kosovich March 3, 2020, 8:43 am

      BubbaonPC, looks like the Idaho commission got rid of a baboon.

  • Vaughn Winslett November 7, 2018, 10:21 am

    Get a life. He is killing pest.

  • Bobs your uncle November 5, 2018, 11:34 am

    surprising that Idaho DW would upset over hunting pictures tasteless or otherwise. He no doubt paid big permit and guide and hunting fees to take those animals, to say nothing of the costs to get there. I’ve heard a lot of areas have a problem with Baboons, they are extremely dangerous, guides would encourage people to take them.

  • John R. Hickam November 2, 2018, 4:22 pm

    This man is not a sportsman. He just wants to kill-anything. Good riddance !

    • KC June 21, 2019, 8:46 am

      Sounds like a ununinformed democrat to me.

    • Joel Warthen February 11, 2020, 10:37 am

      John R. Hickman: Please tell me what evidence you used to convict this man! Are you clairvoyant? Is that how you know that this man “just wants to kill-anything? If you are going to condemn someone use to the facts not emotions.

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