A Minnesota hunter had an elk confiscated after running afoul of hunting laws in Montana. And to make matters worse, it happened on reality TV.
Jim Latvala was delighted to bag a six-point bull elk while out hunting with his brother Warren in Montana, but his joy turned sour when he was approached by a warden – who in turn was followed by a TV cameraman, the Pioneer Press reports.
It turns out the cameraman was shooting for a reality TV show called Wardens, and he captured this particular warden handing out a $135 citation to the 65-year-old fishing guide from Two Harbors, Minnesota.
Latvala had failed to tag his elk immediately following his kill –which are the rules in Montana, but not Minnesota. The brothers feel that the presence of the cameraman made the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) warden hand out the citation.
"The people who work (for FWP) should be out looking for poachers, not someone who took 21 minutes to fill out their tag," Warren Latvala told the Billings Gazette.
"It was the first time we actually got to hunt together, and me taking this bull, we were elated, euphoric, in la-la land," Jim Latvala added.
Warden Sgt. Joe Knarr told the newspaper that the warden was justified in handing out the citation, while the producer of Wardens Mitch Petrie said his cameramen are "fly-on-the-wall" and that wardens are under no pressure to produce anything.
The Latvalas were somewhat vindicated after the attorney for Park County, Montana, dismissed the charge of failure to properly tag a game animal, and phoned Jim Latvala telling him he could keep the head of the elk, but that the meat had been given to a food bank
Latvala was unhappy with this, telling the Gazette the meat would have lasted him two years, adding: "I take hunting pretty seriously. I’m not in it for the blood."