Thursday, December 2, 2010

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.

7 comments:

  1. Al, you'd be surprised at who's listening when you write this stuff. But better yet, you can get the addresses to email the producers and the network to ask your questions and express your opinion.

    I haven't seen any of the series, but I don't doubt it's a little over-dramatized. Kinda have to expect that these days.

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  2. I've had very mixed feeling on game wardens. If they are on marine patrol, expect a hard time no matter what you're doing. It's engendered in them. Had a very kind lady in S FL on a duck hunt. Met a nice lady in Montana. Then two obscenities in North Carolina. They have a tough job, no doubt, but I don't know about glorifying them...

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  3. Phillip - I sent NatGeo an email. We'll see if they respond. You are right on. I didn't expect it to be anything less that 'staged' in some areas. It was pretty obvious. I hope they might take a deeper look into their editing in the future.

    Ian - I have mixed feelings, too, but I don't think this show is glorifying them at all. It's just showing what they have to deal with and what to be aware of. They need to do more to explain laws and such. Some let it get to their heads. I doubt this show will actually show that, but we can always hope, right?

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  4. Glorifyng may be the wrong word. I don't like filing people in one spot or another...it's profiling, I suppose, but some of the least patient and understanding professionals I've been around have been game people. They try too hard, in my experience, to look to mess with people. Not true in all cases, but it has trended that way

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  5. I can understand you stance, Ian. Here in California, especially Southern California, we have what I believe is one of the toughest fights when it comes to hunting and having everyone (wardens, hunters, any other LEO) know the laws. The reason I want to see more of the show is to see how the wardens are portrayed (after the producers edit the footage)and to see what the hunters are doing in the field. For me it's not all about what the wardens are doing. They had one show about marijuana cultivation. I thought it was good because if I were hunting and came across something like what they were showing I'd want to beat feet and get out of there. It's not something I want to find myself in, but without the show I would never have known what a 'grow' looks like.

    I want to see hunters following the law and abiding by them, but I have my doubts if much of that will be aired. They have shown some. In reality, most people want to see drama, even if it puts law-abiding hunters in a bad light. I certainly want to see poachers brought to justice, but not each week. I can appreciate your point fully though.

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  6. I like this show so far - my wife and I watch it together. But, for all the resources expended it doesn't seem like they accomplish much - at least what they show on TV.

    And the copying down of the numbers from the arrows for evidence.... WTH????? What kind of evidence does that even constitute?

    No doubt they have tough jobs with not enough resources for the areas they are assigned. And the majority of them seem to truly profess a love of their jobs and the outdoors.

    happy hunting, dv

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  7. "I don't like filing people in one spot or another...it's profiling,"

    AMEN!!!!!
    If you have a dog box in your truck in this state you WILL be profiled as being a piece of S&*t and for sure a poacher.
    Can I ask a question, maybe none of you know much about houndhunting or maybe you do, but if you were an average Joe citizen and you watched the bear and pig episodes what would you think of houndsmen? That they are all cruel (they actually said that on the pig stalker episode) evil poachers? Whats up with filming dogs hiding under trucks from strangers...why is a legally taken black bear on top of a dog box shown on everything that has to do with bear poaching on this show.
    When I was in college getting my degree in wildlife management I thought I might like to be a warden. That was until I was faced with the attitude that 90% of them for some reason seem to have.
    Indians (native americans if you like)...BAD!
    Falconers...BAD!
    Houndhunters...very, very bad!
    Well being as I struck out on all three accounts I kind of gave up that grand illusion, maybe I should have stuck with it.
    There are some very professional wardens in this state and a some of them appear on the show...there are also a bunch of weenie heads and unfortunately they're on the show as well.
    It's an unfortunate fact that some wardens do not like hunting or possibly even animals at all.
    I even know of one in this state who is a firm believer that bow hunting should be outlawed...because it's cruel...their are some wardens who would be better off working for the HSUS.
    (Did you know CADFG is accepting donations on a yearly basis from the HSUS for their detection dog program?)
    Its sad but it seems that the days of the old time wardens who loved the animals and the hunt and treated you like you were innocent until proven guilty are over.
    I do appreciate the job the wardens do, it is a tough and dangerous job...I just appreciate it when they are catching and convicting real criminals instead of harrassing people for your chosen method of hunting.

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