Illinois hunter bags 51-point buck, possibly one of the ‘largest bucks ever shot in America’

An Illinois hunter’s 51-point kill may be one of the “largest bucks ever shot in America,” the state Department of Natural Resources announced this week. Keith Szablewski, of Johnston City, shot and killed the deer in November during the first weekend of the shotgun season in the state, WSIL-3 reported. WISCONSIN MAN BAGS 19-POINT BUCK AFTER … Continue reading “Illinois hunter bags 51-point buck, possibly one of the ‘largest bucks ever shot in America’”

An Illinois hunter’s 51-point kill may be one of the “largest bucks ever shot in America,” the state Department of Natural Resources announced this week.

Keith Szablewski, of Johnston City, shot and killed the deer in November during the first weekend of the shotgun season in the state, WSIL-3 reported.

WISCONSIN MAN BAGS 19-POINT BUCK AFTER HUNTING ANIMAL FOR YEARS: ‘I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS’

"I was just sitting there and I heard the deer behind me," Szablewski, who only began hunting deer four years ago, told the news station.

After making the kill, "I walked up to him, I looked at it and thought, 'What a blessing,'" he added.

"I walked up to him, I looked at it and thought, ‘What a blessing.’"

— Keith Szableswki

State conservation officials have since told the man that the buck, which weighed roughly 265 pounds, “could have as many as 51 scorable points," WSIL-3 reported. That’s four more points than a world-recording breaking 47-point buck, which was shot in 2016 by a hunter in Tennessee.

TENNESSEE HUNTER SPOTS 12-POINT ALBINO BUCK IN RARE SIGHTING: ‘IT WAS LIKE SEEING A GHOST’

Szablewski reportedly plans to take the buck’s antlers to the Illinois Deer and Turkey Expo in July. There, a panel of judges will again score the animal and officially determine if it broke the record.

“I pray before I go hunting,” the hunter told the RFD Radio Network. “And on that day, I did pray to God to bring me a buck, and He sure answers prayers.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

New York hunters fined after ‘undead’ deer jumps from truck

Two New York hunters have been smacked with a fine after an “undead” deer they had shot – illegally – hopped out of the back of their pickup truck, creating danger in the road and a perfect trail for authorities to catch them on Thanksgiving night.

On Nov. 22, law enforcement officials in the town of Berne, in Albany County, stopped a pickup truck with two male passengers inside after a witness “spotted them shoot from the truck and then drive off,” the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation reports, as per New York Upstate. According to the outlet, responding official ECO Brian Canzeri found “fresh blood” on the tailgate and rear of the vehicle.

The responding official seized two rifles and spotlights from the illegal hunters, and soon discovered that both of the men had criminal records. (iStock)

'BELOVED' WOLF KILLED JUST OUTSIDE YELLOWSTONE RENEWS DEBATE OVER BUFFER ZONES

According to the outlet, the unnamed hunters told Canzeri that a 4-point buck ran in front of their vehicle as they drove down Bradt Hollow Road, prompting one of the passengers to shoot out of the driver’s side window, attempting to kill the deer. Believing the animal to be dead, the men loaded the deer into the bed of the truck, and drove away — but the creature had other plans.

“However, the deer was not dead and approximately a mile down the road the deer jumped out of the bed of the truck. They turned around to look for animal and were stopped by Deputies as they tried to flee,” Upstate reports. “The wounded deer was located soon after and put down.”

Canzeri proceeded to seize two rifles and two spotlights from the illegal hunters, and soon discovered that both of the men had criminal records. One of the suspects had an arrest warrant pending, while the other had past hunting violations in the area.

According to the outlet, the officer proceeded to issue several tickets for their actions, including “taking big game deer with the aid of light, shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling, discharging from a public road, loaded gun in a motor vehicle, taking by means not specified, and taking deer from a motor vehicle,”

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Two days later, on Nov. 24, three more dead deer were found near the scene of the crime, with evidence indicating that they are likely connected to the illegal hunters. Moving forward, additional charges may be filed.

Representatives for the DEC did not immediately return Fox News’ request for additional comment on the story.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak

‘Beloved’ wolf killed just outside Yellowstone renews debate over buffer zones

A 7-year-old wolf known as Spitfire, who was a popular sight among wildlife watchers at Yellowstone National Park over the last several years, was shot and killed by a hunter last weekend after wandering just outside the park’s border.

The incident closely mirrors the death of that same wolf’s mother — who was known as 832F, and nicknamed “06” after the year she was born — in 2012, The New York Times reported.

DRAMATIC VIDEO SHOWS HUNTER RESCUING BUCK FROM FROZEN LAKE

Upon her death, 832F was eulogized by the Times and called “the most famous wolf in the world” by wildlife photographer Jimmy Jones. A book, “American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West,” had also been written to celebrate her life.

Montana wildlife officials say Spitfire, also a female, known as 926F of the Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack, was killed sometime in late November. Despite being a legal kill, admirers of Spitfire and her mother have since vowed to fight to establish buffer areas around the park’s borders where hunting such animals for sport would be off-limits.

“We are passing along the devastating news that our beloved 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack was killed in the Montana trophy hunt,” a Facebook group called The 06 Legacy wrote in a tribute Friday.  “She was the daughter of our namesake 06 and she was known as the Queen of the Lamar Valley.”

Karol Miller, the founder of the Facebook group, added that she and her followers are now planning to fight “even harder” for protections for Yellowstone’s wolves, which she says “are killed for nothing more than sport.”

Critics have also questioned the sportsmanship of killing wolves just outside Yellowstone’s boundaries, as some have learned to see humans – including the ones who photograph them on wildlife tours – as not being a threat to their survival. Yellowstone’s wolf biologist further told the Times of hearing hunters brag about the ease of killing wolves who wander just over the border.

“Wolf hunters talk about seeing a pack of park wolves outside the boundary and being able to pick the one they want,” Doug Smith told the outlet.

Proponents, meanwhile, say that hunters are needed to control the population of wolves in Montana to protect nearby big-game species.

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Smith confirmed that the Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack’s chances of survival have been hindered with Spitfire gone, and her two children are now serving as the alphas of the pack. He estimates there being around 100 protected wolves in Yellowstone National Park, spread across 10 packs.

Police call on hunters for help in murder of father of 9

Michigan police investigating last month’s shooting death of an avid hunter and father of 9 are urging other hunters who may know something to contact them.

Chong Yang, 68, was hunting deer on public property in Clinton County, northwest of Lansing, when he was killed Nov. 16. He was wearing hunter’s orange clothing at the time for safety.

“We want to get the word out as much as we can,” Bath Township Police said in a Facebook post Friday. “Someone out there knows something and we urge that person or anyone else with information to come forward so we can bring some closure to the family.”

Police said they were reaching out especially to woodsmen who regularly hunt in the area where Yang was killed.

DRAMATIC VIDEO SHOWS HUNTERS RESCUING BUCK DEER FROM FROZEN LAKE

Officer Avery Lyon said that when Yang was found his gun and backpack were missing, WLIX-TV reported Friday.

Police had previously said personal belongings were taken, according to the station.

Yang’s daughter Ia Yang told the station her family is united, trying to help police find the person who shot him.

ILLINOIS FIRST DEER HUNTING WEEKEND YIELDS 59,000 DEER

"My father was a kind, hardworking, generous person. We just want closure, justice for my dad. That's it," she said.

Chronic wasting disease spreads in Wisconsin: Should humans be concerned?

Hunters love the thrill of the chase in Wisconsin, but with more deer being infected by chronic wasting disease (CWD), should they consider backing off? What’s more, should humans be worried about infection too?

According to The Cap Times, CWD cases have occurred in the state since 2002. At that time, the state would then kill entire herds on commercial deer farms to eliminate the problem. Commercial farms would also have to be sanitized.

However, in 2013, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) allowed some facilities with infected deer to continue operating. That precedence still plays out today.

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Now, affected facilities are not allowed to move live deer on or off their premises, reports The Cap Times. However, they can choose to keep unaffected deer alive.

The newspaper mentions how officials see this response: it’s meant to keep CWD inside the fences of infected facilities. However, now there are 9 total deer facilities infected by CWD still in operation.

Can CWD Spread to Humans?

Chronic wasting disease is a highly contagious brain disease that affects deer, elk and moose populations.

According to the CDC, scientists believe it’s caused by proteins called prions. The prions spread among animals through bodily fluids or contaminated food or water.

Scientists also think the prions stick around long after an infected animal is dead, making the disease difficult to prevent.

Currently, researchers don’t know about any dangers to humans, and the CDC said there haven't been any reported cases of CWD infection in people.

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However, the CDC mentions that several studies have found CWD transmission possible in mice and monkeys, which carry similar genes to humans.

In addition, the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance points out 3 rare cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans (4).

In 1997-1998, three young adults were found to have the extremely rare CJD. The disease has similar symptoms to CWD.

All three young adults had eaten venison, raising concern over whether these were cases of CWD transmission. However, the CDC found no direct evidence for this concern, states the CWD Alliance.

Despite there being zero chronic wasting disease cases found in humans, CDC states:

“These experimental studies raise the concern that CWD may pose a risk to people and suggest that it is important to prevent human exposures to CWD.” Research into the risk for humans is still ongoing.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel’s senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny’s work, visit AskDrManny.com.

Mufasa the white lion’s legal battle heats up as sanctuary fears rare animal will be auctioned off to hunters

A South African wildlife sanctuary is gearing up for an extended legal battle against the country’s government over custody of a rare white lion it fears will be auctioned off and killed amid a growing international outcry.

Mufasa, the three-year-old white lion, is currently in custody of the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Its lawyer, in an online petition that has garnered more than 200,000 signatures, wrote that only 300 of his kind are left in the world, 13 of which exist in the wild.

South African police reportedly gave the lion to the sanctuary in late 2015 after confiscating it from the person who owned him as a pet, because the owner failed to have the proper permits.

South Africa’s North West Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development is now trying to get back custody of Mufasa, according to the Sunday Times. The newspaper says the criminal case involving its owner has been resolved, and the department had originally planned to move the lion to another, larger sanctuary at that point.

However, the leader of the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre claims she has been told by three officials that Mufasa is going to be auctioned off to “recover legal costs.”

BIG-GAME HUNTERS DEFEND KILLS, SAY THEY WON'T BACK DOWN AFTER RECEIVING BACKLASH FOR POSTING PHOTOS

“In the last few weeks we have seen and read extensively about what happens to lions in the industry,” the sanctuary wrote on a fundraising page. “This means there is only one of two options left.

“Please help us prevent the atrocity of having this beautiful lion condemned to a trophy or a bag of bones,” it added.

The Sunday Times reported that the department, in a court filing, has denied that Mufasa will be auctioned. South African officials did not respond to requests for comment from Fox News.

The sanctuary now says the case over Mufasa’s custody rights is headed to a higher court and it has raised more than $7,000 in legal fees to aid in that area.

“We tried to stay in regional court to prevent the escalation, but the department has now forced our hand, hence the increase in fundraising effort,” it wrote.

The tug-of-war over the lion also has attracted outrage from celebrities, including ‘Gladiator’ actor Russell Crowe and comedian Ricky Gervais.

"We are given dominion over animals because of our intelligence (questionable), to me, that dominion has an implicit duty of care," Crowe tweeted in October. "A person who derives pleasure from killing animals is as sick as any murderer #stoptrophyhunting"

Mufasa the white lion’s legal battle heats up as sanctuary fears rare animal will be auctioned off to hunters

A South African wildlife sanctuary is gearing up for an extended legal battle against the country’s government over custody of a rare white lion it fears will be auctioned off and killed amid a growing international outcry.

Mufasa, the three-year-old white lion, is currently in custody of the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Its lawyer, in an online petition that has garnered more than 200,000 signatures, wrote that only 300 of his kind are left in the world, 13 of which exist in the wild.

South African police reportedly gave the lion to the sanctuary in late 2015 after confiscating it from the person who owned him as a pet, because the owner failed to have the proper permits.

South Africa’s North West Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development is now trying to get back custody of Mufasa, according to the Sunday Times. The newspaper says the criminal case involving its owner has been resolved, and the department had originally planned to move the lion to another, larger sanctuary at that point.

However, the leader of the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre claims she has been told by three officials that Mufasa is going to be auctioned off to “recover legal costs.”

BIG-GAME HUNTERS DEFEND KILLS, SAY THEY WON'T BACK DOWN AFTER RECEIVING BACKLASH FOR POSTING PHOTOS

“In the last few weeks we have seen and read extensively about what happens to lions in the industry,” the sanctuary wrote on a fundraising page. “This means there is only one of two options left.

“Please help us prevent the atrocity of having this beautiful lion condemned to a trophy or a bag of bones,” it added.

The Sunday Times reported that the department, in a court filing, has denied that Mufasa will be auctioned. South African officials did not respond to requests for comment from Fox News.

The sanctuary now says the case over Mufasa’s custody rights is headed to a higher court and it has raised more than $7,000 in legal fees to aid in that area.

“We tried to stay in regional court to prevent the escalation, but the department has now forced our hand, hence the increase in fundraising effort,” it wrote.

The tug-of-war over the lion also has attracted outrage from celebrities, including ‘Gladiator’ actor Russell Crowe and comedian Ricky Gervais.

"We are given dominion over animals because of our intelligence (questionable), to me, that dominion has an implicit duty of care," Crowe tweeted in October. "A person who derives pleasure from killing animals is as sick as any murderer #stoptrophyhunting"

Massachusetts man arrested for illegally hunting geese with bow and arrow near school grounds: police

A man was criminally charged in Massachusetts for illegally hunting geese with a bow and arrow on Thanksgiving Day near an area school, officials said.

The 19-year-old was hunting Canadian geese to eat for Thanksgiving dinner, Douglas DeCosta, Falmouth lieutenant, said, according to The Boston Globe. One goose was found decapitated

Officials spoke with the man who said he was using a bow and arrow to target the geese, the Massachusetts Environmental Police said.

Several arrows were scattered on Falmouth's Lawrence School grounds where the geese often congregate, DeCosta said. One arrow was also stuck in a shed. The man was charged with the careless use of a weapon resulting in property damage, according to officials.

The teen allegedly told police he had a license to hunt, but police said he was lying, The Globe reported. He was charged with procuring a hunter license via false statement, officials said.

His hunting equipment was seized.

Other charges include no Federal Duck Stamp, no hunter education course and hunting near dwelling in use within 500 feet.

The man is from Cape Cod, which is about 20 miles northeast of Falmouth, Boston's WHDH-TV reported. Falmouth is about a one hour and 30 minute drive south of Boston. 

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Illinois first deer hunting weekend yields 59,000 deer

Illinois deer hunters started the fall’s firearm season with a bang, napping nearly 59,000 deer in a single weekend.

KENTUCKY MAN BAGS 'RARE' DEER WITH DECAPITATED BUCK HEAD ENTANGLED IN ITS ANTLERS

The state’s deer hunting season this year is running in two sets: Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

In the first, hunters pulled in 58,836 deer, which according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources represented a 14 percent increase over the first weekend of the season last year, which totaled 51,450.

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Illinois deer hunters will be given another opportunity to nab a buck in the weekend of Dec. 7-9, when muzzleloader-only season opens.

Archery season will continue through January 20, 2019.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.

Mufasa the white lion’s legal battle heats up as sanctuary fears rare animal will be auctioned off to hunters

A South African wildlife sanctuary is gearing up for an extended legal battle against the country’s government over custody of a rare white lion it fears will be auctioned off and killed amid a growing international outcry.

Mufasa, the three-year-old white lion, is currently in custody of the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Its lawyer, in an online petition that has garnered more than 200,000 signatures, wrote that only 300 of his kind are left in the world, 13 of which exist in the wild.

South African police reportedly gave the lion to the sanctuary in late 2015 after confiscating it from the person who owned him as a pet, because the owner failed to have the proper permits.

South Africa’s North West Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development is now trying to get back custody of Mufasa, according to the Sunday Times. The newspaper says the criminal case involving its owner has been resolved, and the department had originally planned to move the lion to another, larger sanctuary at that point.

However, the leader of the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre claims she has been told by three officials that Mufasa is going to be auctioned off to “recover legal costs.”

BIG-GAME HUNTERS DEFEND KILLS, SAY THEY WON'T BACK DOWN AFTER RECEIVING BACKLASH FOR POSTING PHOTOS

“In the last few weeks we have seen and read extensively about what happens to lions in the industry,” the sanctuary wrote on a fundraising page. “This means there is only one of two options left.

“Please help us prevent the atrocity of having this beautiful lion condemned to a trophy or a bag of bones,” it added.

The Sunday Times reported that the department, in a court filing, has denied that Mufasa will be auctioned. South African officials did not respond to requests for comment from Fox News.

The sanctuary now says the case over Mufasa’s custody rights is headed to a higher court and it has raised more than $7,000 in legal fees to aid in that area.

“We tried to stay in regional court to prevent the escalation, but the department has now forced our hand, hence the increase in fundraising effort,” it wrote.

The tug-of-war over the lion also has attracted outrage from celebrities, including ‘Gladiator’ actor Russell Crowe and comedian Ricky Gervais.

"We are given dominion over animals because of our intelligence (questionable), to me, that dominion has an implicit duty of care," Crowe tweeted in October. "A person who derives pleasure from killing animals is as sick as any murderer #stoptrophyhunting"