Animal Rights

Like Shooting Sheep From a Helicopter

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Federal prosecutors are mulling felony charges against Houston billionaire Dan Duncan after he freely admitted to shooting a moose and a sheep from a helicopter during a 2002 hunting trip to Siberia. Duncan says he did not realize shooting game from helicopters is illegal in Russia, relying on his local hunting guide to inform him of any relevant laws or regulations. Duncan's attorney, Rusty Hardin, notes that the guide is now a top official in the Russian agency that issues hunting licenses. Although Russian officials have raised no objection to Duncan's hunting trip, U.S. prosecutors are thinking about charging him under the Lacey Act, which is aimed at trafficking in rare plants and animals. Duncan says neither of the animals he shot was rare. "What the hell is the U.S.' interest in bringing felony charges here for hunting on Russian soil, where not one single person has complained?" Hardin asked in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. "Is this really the best use of our prosecutorial resources?"

[Thanks to Roy Reynolds for the tip.]