I also went out with a guide in Missouri that told us up front, if you shoot a game fish, stop reeling at the side of the boat, it is never to come aboard. He said newbies shoot several a year and according to his MDC officer they know it happens BUT, this is the legal practice. So now I follow same rule on my boat, no matter the fish or it's state of health, release in water, never over the edge of boat.
I could see how anyone could mistake an 83 pound flathead for a gar......NOT!:laugh: I honestly can't remember any time I ever shot anything illegal thinking it was a legal species. His story seems "fishy" to me. "I couldn't bare [bear] the thought to let such a long[-]lived creature pass on its own." Come on! Curious the youth wasn't in the brag picture since it was technically "his fish." Why would he use it as an avatar if it wasn't his and if he felt so horrible about the unjust "passing" of this "monarch?" He could accurately assess (in the self-prescribed darkness so dark as to mistake a 83lb flathead for a gar) that the spine was severed and the organs "destroyed?" Thus making it OK to go ahead and let it hold another arrow just to make sure it was taken in so it didn't have to die alone? The instant he saw it was a gamefish he knew he should not have shot. He keeps mentioning "youths"--was it some innocent 9 year olds on their first trip or some rebellious 17 year olds who don't care about the law and just choose to shoot anything laws be damned? He clearly wants us to believe the former, but he is conveniently silent on any details. If they were very young/inexperienced, what the hell were they doing "up front" without someone knowledgeable to guide them? I don't know about Missouri, but here the guardian is responsible for any infractions caused by a youth. Can they really take the rights away from these kids? I think they can if they are over 15 and need a licence to fish. What about the other flathead? Or the two bass? If he took in the big flathead because it was a "monarch," why did he take in all the other average gamefish? He also conveniently leaves out his prior troubles breaking game laws. I guess he was just the victim then, too. He's just a poor little cog caught up in the machine, and his only crime is that he cares too much... He sounds like every criminal these days who gets caught. He tries to turn the narrative around to turn himself into a hero, saving poor, defenseless kids and fighting a corrupt government system. His grammar is poor but he throws in a few "whoms" (improperly, I might add) to try to sound like an intelligent, upright citizen. There's too many holes in his story; I don't buy it. Some of it may be true, but the truth is (I believe) he WANTED to shoot that fish and he chose to break the law to do it.Here is his FB response. Sounds like they contacted authorities their self after a youth shot it thinking it was a gar...
I do understand the severity of this situation and I apologize. In the article is claims I "ASSISTED" the taking of this monarch. we were hunting in dark waters and the youth whom shot the fish yelled he had shot a gar in the head thinking it was a 3 foot gar. He had actually shot this fish in the spine just under the dorsal fin. It severed the spine and the grapple had destroyed it organs. We took the fish in and notified the authorities because we knew it would not survive. Someone at the boat dock did an article which circulated. The agent whom wrote the article confiscated my phone, (which agents can do that if you claim to have even one picture of wildlife on it). I was charged with every picture I had every copied off the internet which included a 230" mule deer that I was charged for shooting in Farmington Missouri. I don't know if any of you have been around Farmington but there are no mule deer and there are no whitetails that are 230" either. Anyway there were 3 other youths on the boat and just before trial I was told if I beat the accusations they would take the hunting and fishing privileges away from the youth hunters in the boat. I wasn't even in the front of the boat when the said fish was shot. But I agreed to keep the young hunters from losing the rights I so loved my whole life. I do regret being involved. I have been informed that if we would have left the fish to die that we would not have been charged but I couldn't bare the thought to let such a long lived creature pass on its own. I made the decision to turn it in and now I am paying the price for it. Emotionally, financially and now publicly because the agent wants to make himself look good for all of his upper management. I apologize again for any harm this has brought to our sport and anyone else involved. My number is listed and anyone with any input is more than welcome to contact me with any concerns. Thank you for reading my side of the story and I hope you all can understand the true situation this is. Thanks, Anthony