Hunting is important to the Montana way of life, but its controversial nature leaves a dark cloud hanging over it. Often, poachers and hunters are lumped into the same category—wanton killers—by non-hunters. A more unfair epithet has not likely been hurled in the direction of a more undeserving demographic. Poachers are chumps. Period. Hunters are sportsmen, wildlife advocates, conservationists, and at the end of the day, champs. Here are a couple cases in point.
Jim Posewitz – National Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year 2015
Hunter ethics? This guy wrote the book on them, with the now-classic Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. Aside from that, he worked for Montana FWP for 30 years, dedicating his life to wildlife advocacy, species reintroduction, sportsmen’s rights, and hunting tradition. These days, Posewitz continues to preach about the historical role of hunters in the conservation movement, dedicating much of his time and resources to nonprofit fundraising. A champ indeed.
Andrew Shields – All-around bad guy
And in this corner, we have Andrew Shields of Bozeman, who recently pleaded guilty to felony unlawful possession of a game animal, along with several other poaching-related misdemeanors. Shields admitted to killing a bull moose without a license and “three or four” mule deer bucks. As part of a plea bargain, felony charges for possession of dangerous drugs were dismissed. Shields was also on probation for felony DUI and theft charges. He has lost his hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for life.