Driftwood: Spook’s decline reveals ”˜celebrity’ hunter facade

The senselessness of celebrity “professional” hunters has reached another pinnacle of absurdity. William “Spook” Spann, who hosts the outdoor television show “Spook Nation,” has been found guilty of violating his federal probation and must spend 30 days in jail. He also must remain on probation until 2016 and is prohibited from hunting anywhere in the world until Aug. 1, 2014. Sorry, Spook Nation fans, it appears the party is over.

I’ve known of Spook through the hunting industry for quite some time. He kills huge deer, and from all accounts he’s a nice guy. But his hip-hop-laced, high-energy hunting show, which airs on the Pursuit Channel and Wild TV, isn’t for me. His show is just one of hundreds that are ridiculous attempts at portraying the sacred pursuit of game.

According to Spook’s website (www.spookspann.com), which is adorned with flames and blasts AC/DC music, “Spook’s success in the whitetail world has been a true blessing. In fact, Spook’s success is unprecedented. To date, he has harvested 25+ Pope & Young whitetails and 12 Boone & Crockett whitetails. Many of his hunting successes were accomplished on his own properties (Spook Nation Farms). He has harvested over 20 different big game animals around the world. His best season came in 2012 when he harvested an astounding three 200”+ whitetails on film and two other whitetails scoring more than 180 and 160!”

Well, whoop-de-do. Spook can go hang out with Alex Rodriguez and all the other banned baseball cheaters. I guess the fact that this so-called celebrity can raise deer like livestock, even if they are free-ranging, and then kill them makes him some sort of hero. He’s just another ego-infected adrenaline junkie making his bones off inflated bravado funded by sponsors he must produce for at all costs. Basically, animals have to die for him to be of value. It drives me crazy.

In Spook’s case, U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara ruled that he violated the conditions of his release after his conviction for a misdemeanor Lacey Act violation in Kansas. O’Hara’s order mandates that Spann continue on probation until Feb. 28, 2016. He is ordered to spend a total of 30 days during nights and weekends in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons between now and Feb. 28.

Last year, Spook pleaded guilty to transporting a buck across state lines that was unlawfully taken in Stafford County, Kan. Of course, it was an accident, according to Spook, who said over and over again that he’d never do anything to knowingly break game laws. As part of his probation, he was prohibited from hunting for six months, admonished not to commit any further federal crimes and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $10,000 in restitution. On June 10, the federal probation office in Kansas filed a petition alleging Spann violated his probation by hunting in Tennessee and violating a Tennessee law against baiting wildlife, turkeys to be specific. Surely, this is all a big misunderstanding, too.

It’s such a shame that many of these so-called hunting shows are the first exposure newcomers have to the tradition of hunting. Hunting isn’t about being hard-core and killing the biggest buck in the world. It’s about spending time outdoors with family and friends. I think so many people love “Duck Dynasty” because it focuses on what matters most, and it’s not antler inches.
See you down the trail…

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