I'm not sure that Jeff's 45hp mud motor is necessary in a flooded corn field,
but hey, I'm not a pro-staffer, so what do I know?
Edit (6.25.11) - Foiles has accepted a plea agreement and is headed to federal prison. Details here.
Wow. Last month's post on the Jeff Foiles conundrum has been linked to, re-posted, and forwarded around North America - becoming one of my most-read posts of all time. It's funny - hardly anyone wants to comment on it in a public forum. I think my favorite response so far has been from a Kentucky hunting forum, where a poster commented, "I don't need some Yankee (yours truly, apparently) to tell me that Jeff Foiles is a Douche Bag." Beyond my amusement over being called a Yankee, I thought it was pretty damn hilarious. It also raises a good point, and re-iterates the point I originally tried to emphasize last time - this isn't about just Jeff Foiles. It's about the culture - our American hunting culture - that pays him to exist, and kill and kill and kill and kill. There's even a Facebook group (I assume, pre-indictment) called "Jeff Foiles is my hero."
And that is more of my concern about hunters - young hunters particularly. What does a pro hunter need, you could ask many of them? They'd answer "lots of bands," "lots of sponsors," and "DVDs with a lot of ducks and geese falling out of the sky." That is just ugly. So let's beat this dead horse into the ground! The information I have is from several sources, the most comprehensive of which are the Springfield State Journal-Ledger (here) and Environment Canada (here).
Foiles v. United States
On January 27th, Foiles pleaded not guilty to 23 federal felony violations of the Lacey Act. Trial to begin April 5, 2011..
Foiles vs. Environment Canada
As he was leaving federal court in Springfield, Illinois, a courier notified Foiles that he is to appear for arraignment in Edmonton, Alberta on April 5, 2011 on 10 migratory game violation charges (primarily bag limit and possession limit violations) and 2 criminal charges (cruelty to animals).
In fairness to Jeff Foiles and the prosecutors, I won't wager a guess on how the cases will turn out. The major buzz, and there's plenty of buzz, since hunting season is over, is that Foiles still refuses to provide a detailed press release, media interview, or other information to his sponsors, investors, clients, and supporters. As one internet poster noted, "If you think you might be found guilty, wouldn't it be difficult to make a detailed statement that was neither false or incriminating?" Heh, good point. Fair enough.
It's exciting that this case has brought forward the discussion on "why do we hunt?" The answers range pretty widely - as they should - from "I just want to see the sunrise with my kids," to "If I didn't see ducks for a whole season, I would definitely quit for a few years," to, "I load that gun with the intention of killing birds that day. That is the goal." Regardless, hunters seem to really be thinking about it right now. I've written several times before about managing our own expectations of our field experiences. Being conscious of why we are going afield on any given day, I think, is the best way to make sure we have a chance to meet our goals. I would argue that a lot of today's hunting DVDs don't make a positive contribution to our understanding of the sport, or passion for anything except kill shots.
Maybe this will change the whole "pro staff" structure and economy, which endorses the production and sale of DVDs like "Kill Em All 14" and "Mountains of Dead Ducks 23" (I'm exaggerating). I'm gonna keep an eye on it and report back to you. In the meantime, I'd also like to see some waterfowling DVDs that embrace the resource and experience of hunting as much as the harvest. Have any suggestions? Let me know - I'll let you know what I see.
Y'all behave yourselves out there!