ABC News Airs Undercover Fishing/Hunting Investigation

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 - by Jim Shepherd, The Outdoor Wire
<i>Federal law enforcement sources told ABC News that ICE and the FBI are investigating the fishing and hunting tour operating business for arranging sex for American men overseas.</i>
Federal law enforcement sources told ABC News that ICE and the FBI are investigating the fishing and hunting tour operating business for arranging sex for American men overseas.
- photo by ABC News

Monday night ABC World News Tonight aired an undercover report that certainly didn't make the hunting and fishing world look very good. That's not a value judgement on the facts of the report, or anyone's guilt or innocence- that's for the courts to decide. But it's a simple observation based on having seen a report that includes tour operators advising ABC News' Dan Harris that he could certainly have a little "entertainment" along with his overseas hunting and fishing trip- with beautiful women.

"I mean, it's a third world country and you can do whatever you want," the unidentified tour operator told Harris from the floor of the Dallas Safari Club convention. "You know if you want to do a party it's not like here-you can't touch, you can't look-you can do whatever the f**k you want."

That's awful, but it gets worse.

Now, Harris reported, federal law enforcement officials have confirmed they're investigating the allegations that some of these tour operators aren't just offering "parties" they're offering "sex with children" for American men overseas on hunting or fishing expeditions.

The story is a continuation of one we reported -briefly- several months ago, minus all but one name- Phil Marsteller. He says abusing minors has "become a cancer on his industry."

As you can imagine, Marsteller's not the most popular guy in the guided tour industry. In fact, one tour operator in the ABC report says Marsteller is anything but popular. "There's a code of the West in this industry that nobody breaks--and he broke it," the operator said, unaware he was being filmed, "That's why nobody likes him."

Yesterday, I spoke with Marsteller about what was about to happen - and how it would likely impact an industry already reeling from a troubled economy.

His reaction wasn't one I expected. Instead of vindication after vilification by many in the industry, Marsteller was regretful that such a negative light was being shined on the tour industry. "It didn't have to happen," he told me, "I had told plenty of people this was happening. They just decided to turn a blind eye to it."

Not everyone.

The Dallas Safari Club spoke out on February 1, issuing saying it would "aggressively enforce zero tolerance for those participating in these types of activities."

"Our Club has a well-established track record of banning outfitters for hunting ethics violations," said Ben Carter, DSC executive director, "but this deplorable activity goes beyond ethics and into criminal liability."

"Dallas Safari Club will not stand by while human decency is assaulted, either at home or abroad. I cannot overstate our condemnation of this appalling exploitation of minors."

According to Carter, DSC will continue to support ethical guides and outfitters, legitimate hunters and anglers - and "the industry as a whole" - for their invaluable worth to global conservation.

At this point, it's entirely too-early to tell where any investigations into these nauseating allegations will lead, but one thing remains the same:

We'll keep you posted- even when we're disgusted by the whole matter.


Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Fireside at Greenway  Oct. 30 Erin Medley and a starry night Outdoor Chattanooga will finish our 2014 Fireside at Greenway Farm series with a special evening of guitar folk and stargazing this Thurs., Oct. 30, 7 ... (click for more)

Governor Haslam Dedicates Trail At Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area

Governor Haslam joined staff from the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas, Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation last Friday to dedicate a new trail at Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area. “Tennessee has incredible natural areas that offer something for everyone, and this partnership will help protect and preserve these lands for future generations ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Cold, Wet Front To Make For Chilly And Damp Trick Or Treating; Snow Showers Possible Saturday

A surge of cold, moist air will make for less-than-ideal trick or treat conditions on Halloween night. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing this weekend. There is a possibility of snow showers in Chattanooga on Saturday. Here is the latest forecast: Today Showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)