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Calif. Gray Whale Shot With Machine Gun

by jimandjerry / September 9, 2007 4:47 AM PDT

NEAH BAY, Wash. (AP) -- An injured California gray whale was swimming out to sea Saturday after being shot with a machine gun off the western tip of Washington state, officials said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Kelly Parker said five people believed to be members of the Makah Tribe shot and harpooned the whale Saturday morning. The extent of the whale's injuries were not immediately known.

Tribe members were being held by the Coast Guard but had not been charged, said Mark Oswell, a spokesman for the law enforcement arm of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

A preliminary report said the whale was shot with a .50-caliber machine gun, Oswell said.

Coast Guard officials created a 1,000-yard safety zone around the injured whale, which was shot about a mile east of Neah Bay in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The whale had begun heading to sea Saturday afternoon, Oswell said.

Although the tribe has subsistence fishing rights to kill whales, Oswell said preliminary information indicates the whale may have been shot illegally.

"We allow native hunts for cultural purposes. However, this does not appear to be of that nature so far," he said.

The Makah Tribe has more than 1,000 members and is based in Neah Bay.

"cultural purposes" my butt this sucks


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My conjecture is that the tribal elders
by drpruner / September 9, 2007 6:06 AM PDT

will deal with the perps, if the facts are straight. They brought disgrace on the People. The white authorites can have what's left.

Killing whales by any means is not a pretty sight, but the tribes generally use the old way, which is at least a fair fight.

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What makes me wonder....
by Angeline Booher / September 9, 2007 6:49 AM PDT

..... is just how sporting is it for any hunter of any prey to use a machine gun.

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What I would like to know is:
by Paul C / September 9, 2007 10:11 AM PDT

Do Native American tribes have an exemption from Federal firearms laws?

To possess any automatic weapon, one must first obtain a Class 3 Federal Firearms License, then fill out 17 reams of paperwork for the permit to own the specific firearm one wishes to purchase.

Were these procedures followed, or was this another case of a tribe deciding it could ignore whatever law it deemed to be racist, dictatorial or merely inconvenient?

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I believe a machine gun can have the "auto"
by drpruner / September 10, 2007 7:44 AM PDT

feature disabled. Then it's a semi-auto, and maybe legal. Although the caliber and [assumed] belt feed still make it a rather formidable weapon.

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Not sporting (or legal) at all on full automatic.
by drpruner / September 10, 2007 7:55 AM PDT

(See below) And I think some game hunting involves caliber restrictions. What's sadder is that the .50 cal is not likely to hit a vital spot, so the whale may live for days with major internal injuries. The European and Japanese whalers use a projectile with an explosive head; much better. (Better being relative, of course.)

The shooters were likely younger members of the tribe, and I can't imagine that any of the elders with oversight of the fishing knew about the weapon.

To me, meat is meat. I live in cattle country, and I'm reminded every day that "bovine" and "ruminant" are synonyms for extremely placid. But the last several days of their lives are filled with noise, hunger, thirst, crowding, and a violent death. I like meat, and don't have any objection to it. (1 Tim 4:1-5) But I doubt I could take part in its preparation.

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