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Last fall Marv Hoyt shot three elk, taking the meat from one and leaving the other two to rot covering one with branches to make it less visible. That much we know.

Marv was not just some poacher, he was the Idaho Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) a large and influential environmental org representing the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Audubon, and some ten or fifteen other groups. Marv sat on the board of directors for years.

But all that, the poaching, the leadership position on probably "The" most influential environmental association in the Yellowstone area, is not what makes this incident confounding.

Like a lot of places along the Idaho/Wyoming border I know these hills. It was a while ago but I've walked east west the whole way a few times and north south at least once The area the poaching occurred in are some not so high not so impressive mountains east of Afton Wyoming past the Idaho border, they're between Afton, Soda, and Montpelier if you know where that is.

Kind of brushy, kind of grazed a lot, trees and mountains not so high. Mormon country. Ranches but nothing too big or too impressive. It's the kind of area where people know each other and reputation is important. Mostly summer range, with plenty of lower canyons, some of it has been logged. There's access, you can drive in from a lot of directions, it's a lot less wild than the Wyoming range across Star Valley. Nice hills, nice folks, nice country.

This story broke ten days ago as of this writing, it was printed or posted on the web sites of all the small papers in Idaho, and quite a few in Montana and Wyoming. The one I linked to above is actually more thorough than the AP articles that followed. In almost all cases it was that one brief article, then nothing, it's Christmas.

One of his friends, from an org too extreme to belong to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition suggested that maybe Marv had "buck fever". Another, a journo thought Marve had become confused. By his telling, Marv has been hunting fifty years, and has taken six elk and three deer from that same area. Sixty three year old guys with a lifetime of hunting do not get buck fever then shoot three elk, nor do they shoot three elk due to confusion. Two elk were shot in the hind quarters then dispatched from close range. That's a lot of shooting.

A local property manager tells of another incident when Marv party hunted, that's shooting two animals and telling a friend to come and tag the second one. He also shot a spike elk on a cow tag. The spike elk could have been a mistake, the other two incidents not quite. Marv has shown a real disregard for game laws for a long time. The property manager did mention he didn't allow Marv to hunt on the properties he managed. Reputation.

ponytail in back

What confounds me is where is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC)? Their director gave a tepid statement at best, “GYC deeply regrets this incident and in no way either condones or excuses Marv Hoyt’s judgment,” said Caroline Byrd, GYC’s executive director.

JUDGEMENT???? Please the guy is a dog gone poacher! That's not a bad decision, not a lack of good judgement, that's about one of the lowest descriptions you can add to someone's name, oh, he lied to the Fish and Game Officers for half an hour. So I'd guess he's a lying poacher.

The punishment is about normal. Felony dropped to a misdemeanor, loss of hunting privileges for six years, probation, a couple thousand in fines. The shame is by far the worst. If Marv remains in Idaho this will stick with him to his grave.

Marv Hoyt didn't up and one day this fall become a low life, from the sounds of things he's been, ahem, abrasive, for a long time. Yet the GYC decided he was just the fellow to run the Idaho side of things. What confounds me is that the GYC had someone like this in such a position of authority, and for so long.

Yes he was great at making lots of noise over Simplot the polluting mining company. Got on the Daily Show. But other than be a burr under the saddle of some polluters I'm not sure anything was actually accomplished.

The other thing that confounds me is the hunters. Poaching of this sort is reviled. Wasting meat is a heinous crime. Yet they too are silent. Oh, he gets called all kinds of names on social media sites, but I'm talking about Marv's contemporaries. The writers and pundits of the hunting left. The "good" hunters that speak up in reverential tones for wolves and grizzlies, like Marv did.  The people Marv made fly rods for and went bird hunting with. The ones who call others "slob hunters", simply because they don't hunt the same species, or listen to the same music. Big silence there.

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