ABC News Airs Undercover Fishing/Hunting Investigation

Tuesday, April 6, 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.


“Painting The Nature Of The Cumberland River” Is Subject For June Nature @ Noontime Program

Larry Richardson, a veteran environmental conservationist, will present a program on the history and impact of the Cumberland River at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s June Nature @ Noontime. The program will be held on Thursday, June 4, from noon-1 p.m. at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building located in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Mr. Richardson’s professional ... (click for more)

Officer Wayne Rich Receives Shikar-Safari Award

Wayne Rich, of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, has been honored by the Shikar–Safari Club International as its 2014 Tennessee Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Mr. Rich serves as a wildlife officer in Jefferson County. He was recognized at the May meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. The annual award from the conservation-based organization ... (click for more)

Work To Start Later This Year On Major Reworking Of U.S. 27 Downtown; 31 Walls To Be Erected As Cameron Hill Faces More Cuts

Work is set to start later this year on the $80 million reworking of U.S. 27 in downtown Chattanooga. TDOT's Jennifer Flynn said all of the right of way has been acquired and construction bids are tentatively scheduled to be opened in August.  The 1.4-mile project includes U.S. 27 from I-24 to south of the Olgiati Bridge.  Work was completed earlier this year ... (click for more)

2 Hurt At Soddy Daisy In Train/Car Accident

Two people were hurt in a train and car accident in Soddy Daisy. More information will follow as it becomes available.   (click for more)

Erlanger Electronic Medical Records Purchase Doesn't Add Up - And Response (2)

Erlanger has recently announced their decision to purchase a $100,000,000 Electronic Health Information System. Something smells. Erlanger's downtown campus has 760 licensed beds, according to hospital-data. That would equate to $131,578 per bed for this system (now that's a lot of ipads). Please re-read that simple math. I use to manage an Electric Medication Administration ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: City Limits Worry Dogs, Cats

If you are a dog or a cat in the Chattanooga area, it is very important to know exactly where the city limits are. You need to know that if a stray animal is rescued in the city, it is taken to one of the finest animal shelters in all of America. But if the errant pooch or tabby is found in Hamilton County – outside the city limits -- it is taken to arguably the worst animal facility ... (click for more)