Archery season is nearly a month old as I write this and I’ve been seeing deer but not big ones. November is still a way off so I’ll just wait and hope a decent buck shows up. I’ve always said any deer taken with a bow and arrow is a trophy regardless of the size of the antlers, but some guys will do just about anything to kill a deer. A press release recently issued by Colorado Parks and Wildlife rekindled memories of a subject that has been out of the news for more than 20 years.
According to the report, four South Carolina men were arrested for violating a variety of Colorado's wildlife laws, including the use of poisons and toxicants with their archery equipment. Yup, that’s right; they were using arrows outfitted with illegal "pods" to bring down game animals rather than a well-placed arrow. For those too young to remember, “pod” arrows featured a rubber-like capsule placed behind the broadhead. The pod carries a powerful muscle relaxant that is released as the arrow enters an animal. This means an animal can be hit just about anywhere because the resulting paralysis keeps it from running off and can lead to suffocation.
Many of us who have been around a while remember a guy named Adrian Benke, who advocated the use of these chemical pods. Legitimate sportsmen screamed bloody murder at the time and thankfully the issue died the death it deserved as game departments across the country banned their use.
According to newspaper reports, the men have been returning to the same leased cabin and have been using the illegal drugged arrows since the late-1980s. "It's hard to say how many animals they've taken illegally," state wildlife investigator Rich Antonio told Judge Arthur Smith in court. All four pleaded guilty to the charges. They received thousands of dollars in fines and court costs in addition to losing their hunting privileges in Colorado and other states for four years. In passing sentence, Judge Smith admonished one of the defendants by saying, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, this isn't hunting, this is just going out and killing things.” Perhaps the most disturbing part of the hearing was the reaction by one of the four men, James Doyle, who not only lacked remorse, but dared to defend the group’s actions by saying: "Back in South Carolina, everybody hunts with (poison arrows)." Apparently Doyle felt the illegal method he and his companions used was an "insurance policy" that works for all types of game.
In making that statement, Doyle appeared not only to be an unethical sportsman but a liar as well. We checked on the legality of using such pods in South Carolina and found the practice to be against the law. Apparently for Doyle and his friends the end justifies the means and we can take comfort in knowing these bottom feeders have been removed from the woods at least for the next four years.