Preliminary TV Show Review: Wild Justice
There are some very involved discussions going on around some blog regarding outdoor TV shows and the responsibility the outdoorsmen and women should or should not have with what they air. Now, I am not going to go into that discussion right now, but I want to take it a step further. The National Geographic Channel has a new show called Wild Justice where they follow game wardens of the California Department of Fish & Game and tell their stories. I have to say that when I first heard about it I had mixed feelings. There are always rumors about how the wardens treat outdoorsman and the rep isn't always good. I have a feeling those stories are a bit exaggerated, but I also feel there are two sides to every story.
I have watched the first three episodes of Wild Justice. They have covered bear poaching, deer poaching, enforcement of the laws and marijuana issues. So far, it has all been set in Northern California, near Tehama County. There have been some interesting bits and pieces that have me wanting to see where else they will go with this. Now, I am also not naive and thinking this show is all 100% as it happens. I know it's not. A good example was last nights show regarding deer poaching. Someone was shooting arrows at deer in a residential neighborhood at night. One arrow was found not 30 feet from a house near some childrens bedrooms. The part of the show where it was obvious that it was shot and edited was when the wardens responded to a second call about the arrows. Let me ask this, if you are walking in your yard (supposing you have one) and you find an arrow in the snow, are you going to let it sit there? No way! You'd pick it up, look at it and probably take it with you when you make the call. When the wardens arrived at the second house, they asked the couple to come outside and show them the arrow. As the camera panned, you could see the arrow sitting, in plain view, on the porch. When they got to the place where they found the arrow, suddenly there it was back in the snow. I understand the need to tell a story, but come on people. Do they think we are that stupid? It seemed like a bad episode of cops. If they want us to leave the arrow where we found it, they should have mentioned it on the show.
One guy goes a bit over the top, but I can see why. He's got a HUGE area to cover, as do most of the wardens. One of the stats that came up during the show was that there is ONE warden for every 180,000 Californians. That is a staggering number and rather scary for the wardens and for we hunters. One of the things these guys and gals do it to go out and try to help save our resources so we have game to hunt. Can you imagine if they had followed the warden when he caught the poachers from Riverside, CA? There was some good discussion on this around California blogs, too. You can find a good thread over at DIYbowhunter.com, too.
I won't go into every detail of the show (you can watch it yourself), but while on the topic of deer poaching, there was a guy they nabbed last night that just downright pissed me off. I mean cursing at the TV pissed off. This prick is known to be a poacher and the wardens set up and wait for him. They show photos of the two deer this guy killed and both were pregnant. Yep, you read it right. BOTH were pregnant. One with twins and one with a buck. He shot them both after the season was over. When he comes down the road they nab him. Bad news for him is that he had 5 beers (or so he says) and gets nailed for that, too. This is the part that REALLY had me dropping a few F-bombs at him. This poacher comes out and says that that Fish & Game could have handled it differently. Wait... that's not even the best part. He said that the area is littered with deer and he passed on four bucks before shooting these doe. He said that everyone should have chilled out because he only shot a couple of does. You f-ing jackass. That is why we have CA DF&G and why I don't even consider you a hunter. You are a poacher. We all have to follow the rules like everone else, why do YOU think you are above the law? He said he was 'raised right' and he eats all of the meat. Well, in one of the photos shown, the deer was rotting in a field. Looks like you did a good job of eating it all, sir.
I do have one suggestion for the producers (who will probably never read this, but it makes me feel better). When you stop some of these guys and discuss the laws, go over them. Talk about the law and what is allowed and not allowed. The CA laws are hard enough to read an understand, but explain them to us. I have a feeling that some of the guys have a hard time deciphering the laws themselves, but that is only my opinion.
All in all, it's a good show for California hunters to watch and try to see what the wardens have to go through. It's pretty intense and so far I am interested in seeing more.