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Idaho fish and game commissioner faces backlash after hunting trip in Africa

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BOISE, Idaho (CBS 2) — A group of former Idaho Fish and Game commissioners is calling for the resignation of a current commissioner who posed for photos with a family of baboons he shot and in Africa.

Blake Fischer .png

According to emails and photos obtained by CBS 2 News through Gov. Butch Otter's office, Blake Fischer emailed several pictures of his kills from his hunting trip to numerous people.

The pictures drew swift backlash.

He begins the email saying he and his wife had just returned from a two-week hunting trip to Namibia.

"First day she wanted to watch me, and 'get a feel' of Africa," Fischer said in the email obtained through the governor's office. "So I shot a whole family of baboons."

In addition to the baboon picture, Fischer emailed photos of other animals that he and his wife hunted and killed while in Namibia including a giraffe, leopard, impala, antelope and waterbuck.

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"I shot a Leopard," he wrote. "Super cool, super lucky. The Leopard is one of the big 5, as in one of the 5 animals in Africa that will kill you before you can kill it. Crazy cool animal. They are normally super nocturnal, so this was really unique."

The photos have garnered the attention of Gov. Butch Otter.

"Governor Otter was briefed and has seen the pictures," said Jon Hanian, the governor's spokesman. "He has expressed concern about them and we’re looking into the situation.”

The story was first reported by the Idaho Statesman.

Former commissioner Fred Trevey, in an email obtained through the governor's office, said Fischer sent the photos to about 125 people.

"My reaction to the photo and accompanying text of you smiling and holding a 'family' of primates you killed, dismays and disappoints me," Trevey said. "I have a difficult time understanding how a person privileged to be an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner can view such an action as sportsmanlike and an example to others."

Trevey says that although the hunt may have been legal, "legal does not make it right."

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"Your poor judgement has unnecessarily put the institution’s credibility, and hunting in general, at risk in a blink of an eye," he said. "My belief is you should take responsibility and resign, sooner rather than later."

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game told CBS 2 News that its commissioners are not employees of the department and therefore it has no comment.

Calls and emails to Fischer seeking comment have not been returned though he told the Statesman, "I didn't do anything illegal."

Two commissioners have declined comment to CBS 2 News, saying all media inquiries for the commissioners need to go through the governor’s office.

Steve Alder, executive director for Idaho For Wildlife, a pro-hunting group, said the hunts were despicable and that you shouldn’t exploit animals and stories like this fuel anti-hunting efforts.

"What bothers me is he’s got the family there and a little baby baboon sitting there with blood all over it, kind of like in the mother’s arms," Alder said. "You just don’t do this. It’s just not something. We don’t want to put out to the public and many of us wouldn’t even do this in the first place."

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