Former Gov. candidate Rex Rammel could face charges for allegedly killing elk

Wow!! Who’s next?

Who knows? If there is a conviction in this case, it might solidify my theory that anti-wolf advocates are behind the decimation of elk herds 😉

Recall, Rex Rammel is the politician who joked about “Obama tags“. He also had a run in with then Governor and now Senator Jim Risch after his canned hunt elk escaped and were shot by Idaho Fish and Game agents.

We’ve written about him here before.

Rex Rammell vs. the Elk vs. the Law
Boise Weekly

Former Gov. candidate could face charges for allegedly killing elk .
KBOI 2 – Boise

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Addition by Ralph Maughan. So this Karen Calisterio in North Idaho who just had a “scary,” but completely unverified encounter with wolves on her property was Rex Rammell’s campaign manager.

New story. Warden confiscates elk from Rex Rammell, plans to file poaching charges. By Rocky Barker –



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  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    So what is it with all these elk-lovin (but poaching) anti-wolf folks who worry that wolves are killing all the elk? 😉

    1. william huard Avatar
      william huard

      It’s bizarre to say the least. I think it shows it shows how litttle these people care about wildlife! All they care about is having food in the freezer- who cares how they get it. Did anyone see the new show on Nat Geo last weekend about the Wildlife Enforcement agents who battle poachers? These 11 people including children were caught poaching a bear and they had already ripped out the gall bladder to sell on the black market! I never realized the sheer magnitude of the problem that poaching is

      1. jon Avatar

        Yeah, I did catch that show. Did you see one of them bear hunters was taking the gall bladders from bears and selling them? Then saw the little kid jumping on the dead bear like it was a frigging trampaline. Almost made me break my tv.

      2. jon Avatar

        I think they took that bear legally William, but makes little difference, the bear is still dead, but supposedly, one of them bear hunters was taking the gall bladders from the dead bears and selling them as you already know. Also had a thrill killer of deer on there as well.

    2. Mike Avatar

      The problem is the hunters who are closet poachers. Always has been. There’s a huge portion of them that poach. I’ve seen it with my own eyes (eh, it’s only one day out of season, and dang that animal is right in front of me? Whats it gonna hurt?).

      I know not all hunters are like this. There are some highly ethical ones, but man are there a ton of bad apples in the cart. They do more to hurt hunting than any PETA campaign.

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        Back in the day when I used to hunt a lot in Idaho, there was some fudging the rules…kill a deer a day before the season opens or accross the state line or kill one too many deer and put someone elses tag on it. Many hunter will fudge. You are right. But it was rare simply because the opportunities do not come up that often. Of all the deer I saw killed, which was several hundred, only a few were fudged….less than 5%.

        Out and out poaching as is done by the Rammells is rare and was usually done by people who live or work in the country. It is risky to poach. People will turn you in.

        It is not that easy to find deer or elk unless you frequent the same places they do.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    save 100 elk … jail an anti-wolf activist.

    1. Mike Avatar

      Yep. That’s the cold, hard truth. If you are really worried about the population, yank the hunting licenses from these monsters.

      1. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
        Nathan Hobbs

        They have little regard for wether they hold a legal tag or not…what is taking a license away from them going to do?

  3. jon Avatar

    I just really wonder how many elk are being killed by poachers.

    1. PointsWest Avatar

      I think it is not that many…a few percent of what are taken legally. It is not as easy as it seems. Guns are loud. Deer and elk are big and hard to hide. They must be hung and butchered. People will know. Anyone can turn you in.

      1. mikepost Avatar

        I am sure it varies from place to place but most wildlife managers figure as many are poached as are legally taken. Most seasons are only a few days or weeks, the poaching goes on 365.

      2. PointsWest Avatar

        You make poaching sound so easy…like deer and elk are lined along remote roads where poachers can drive and shoot the animal of their liking.

      3. Dude, the bagman Avatar
        Dude, the bagman

        I think it’s probably pretty easy if you live in the country. My old man has a couple apple trees, and we suspect his neighbors have salt licks because there are frequently deer hanging around (and even moose in the winter). A lot of people shoot on their property, so gunshots aren’t an uncommon occurrence. Your neighbors might be less likely to turn you in since you have to live next to them, and they know you are armed and have little respect for the law.

        I never got into hunting (have nothing against it, just don’t do it), but it’d be pretty easy to poach if a person were inclined to do so.

      4. PointsWest Avatar

        But vast areas of the West are public land and no one can live on public land. Other areas have so many dwellings that you could never fire your gun without a half dozen neigbors hearing the shot. Not all people who live in the country like to eat deer or elk or own guns.

        Poaching occurs. No doubt. I’ve seen it myself. But it is not so easy to accomplish and it is risky and I will never believe that more than a few percent of deer and elk are poached when compared to hunting except in certain areas that are conducive to poaching.

      5. Dude, the bagman Avatar
        Dude, the bagman

        Agreed. I’m sure it’s a small percentage of people in a small percentage of areas. My point is only that for those who live in the country have a better opportunity to poach. Those inclined to do so MAY do so serially and have a disproportionate effect relative to their percentage of the population.
        Also, I think the chances of getting caught are not that high, and the consequences not that severe relative to the chance of getting caught. Take drunk driving for example – lots of people do it knowing there’s a chance of being caught and going to jail. If a person can get away with it enough times to justify the penalties, a rational person will follow the incentives (or so economic theory would suggest).
        Most people will obey the law rather than deal with the shame and hassle of being caught. If they and their friends think the laws lack legitimacy, shaming doesn’t work so well (for example, support for Rammel on his Facebook page). A few bad apples can do a lot of damage, and you only hear about it when they get caught.

  4. jon Avatar

    You got Tony Mayer than Cal Groen and now Rex Rammell and all 3 of them have taken elk in an illegal manner and all 3 of these guys are supposed to be elk lovers.

    1. WM Avatar


      You sure about Cal Groen? It is my understanding that Groen was allegedly assisting in the butchering of an elk shot by someone else on private land on which they had previously sought and received permission to hunt. The property had apparently changed hands unknown to the hunters, and no permission had been sought from the new owner. The incident is still being investigated (for possible trespassing charges) by ID County sheriff Giddings (yep, same guy that is doing the SSS raffle), at the request of IDFG (possible conflict of interest since Groen is Director). WOW! Maybe there are updates to this story.

      Here is an older news story:

      ID is an interesting place. Haven’t heard dueling banjos yet, but wouldn’t be surprised, in some places. I certainly have thought it was possible where I have hunted.

      1. jon Avatar

        Alright, thanks for clearing that up.

  5. jon Avatar

    Isn’t this the nut who said he would buy hunting tags to hunt Obama? i think Rammell is the guy who said that.

    1. SAP Avatar

      Rammell on “Obama tags”:

      Rammell’s campaign page is still up, too. This should open on a photo of Rex horseback with a wolf pelt in hand.

      You can also read what he thinks about climate change on that site; he claims that the Earth has gotten cooler for the past decade (!), and that “The catastrophic consequences predicted by the doomsayers are evidence of their lack of faith in a Supreme Being who holds the creation and the future of the world in His hands. “

    2. Ken Cole Avatar

      Jon, are you even reading the stories or comments that you are responding to? They contain the same information that you mention or ask about.

  6. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    How about a new reality TV series , ” Karen Calisterio’s Idaho ” ?

    Cue the lipstick…

  7. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    In my seventy years on this planet, I have learned that those who make the most noise about certain subjects are likely to be doing so to hide their own misbehavior. If someone constantly waves the flag and shouts from the rooftops about what a patriot he is, he is probably cheating big time on his taxes. If he thumps his Bible at every opportunity and tells the world how righteous he is, he has probably been having sex with his daughters since they were twelve.
    If he proposes to save wildlife by killing all of the predators, he is probably the biggest poacher in the valley.
    Rex Rammel waves the flag, thumps his Bible and his Book of Mormon and professes to save wildlife by killing all of the wolves.
    Put him away and throw away the key!

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Larry Thorngren,

      You really have a point.

      I’ve figured if I had another life, I might do well as a blackmailer because I’d know just who to follow around to discover something hidden.

  8. PointsWest Avatar

    I posted this in the other thread but I was told by someone who knows the Driggs area (from where the Rammell’s hail) well that the Rammell’s are known to kill elk without any tags whatsoever. So it is very unlikely that this was Rex Rammell’s first illegally taken elk.

  9. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    Here is an interesting little tidbit.
    Rex Rammel belongs to a group on facebook called
    “Don’t buy Idaho hunting tags”

    You may have to refresh the page a few times as it throws up a different list of members with each refresh..but he is in there.

    And two screen shots proving it..just in case he removes himself from the group. O


    What a clown.

  10. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    So strange that Tony Mayer gets busted and now Rammell. Who’s next, Otter or Balyeat? Honestly, these people are pretty hypocritical. I love how these people think they are out to save elk from being decimated to benefit sportsmen. I guess it’s a case of do as I say don’t do as I do.

    1. jon Avatar

      Northern Idaho Wolf alliance members get into argument with Butch Otter about wolves.

      Otter says we didn’t want the dam things here in the first place.

  11. jon Avatar

    Saw a funny comment I thought. save an elk, jail a rammel

  12. PointsWest Avatar

    Top Ten Rex Rammell Legal Defenses

    Former gubernatorial candidate Rammell stated that he denies the charges of poaching and that he intends to fight any such charges. Below are the Top Ten potential legal defenses that a man of Rammell’s caliber might use in a court of law.

    Number One: The Rammell’s have grandfather rights in poaching elk.

    Number Two: The whole thing is a frame-up by the liberal “gotch-ya” media.

    Number Three: Hunting tags are unconstitutional except in the case of killing the President of the United States.

    Number Four: Originally wounded the elk at the Middle Fork in October and pursued the animal for six week to Tex Creek where he finally made the kill.

    Number Five: Fish & Gave Officer violated Rex’s constitutional rights when he touched his junk during a body search.

    Number Six: Hunting Regulations are ambiguous and capricious and too complicated for hunters and the government is not the solution to our problems, the goverment is the problem.

    Number Seven: He thought the elk was one of his captive herd that escaped his pen in 2006 and was worried about polluting the Yellowstone gene pool.

    Number Eight: Thought gubernatorial candidates were exempt from certain rules since he could not hunt during campaign season.

    Number Nine: Thought the tag was for the Middle Fork of Tex Creek and always thought that November was the 10th month.

    Number Ten: Thought he saw Barrack Obama invading America at Tex Creek and decided he should shoot.

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      Number Eleven: “Wuh, it’s not October ? This isn’t the Middle Fork?…”

    2. ProWolf in WY Avatar
      ProWolf in WY

      Number 12-I was saving this elk from a gruesome death by a Canadian Gray Wolf.

  13. Ken Cole Avatar

    I don’t get it. Did he get rid of his elk? Why didn’t he just go in the back yard and kill one of his own?

    1. PointsWest Avatar

      Yes…he got rid of his elk not long after the big fiasco in 2006. I’ll bet he poached elk even while he ran his elk farm, however.

  14. Ken Cole Avatar

    Some people are thinking that maybe this a campaign strategy for impressing the right wingers. Butch Otter got a DUI and got elected. This kind of thing raises his profile among a certain segment of society who hates the government.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      His facebook page is getting comments of support.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg


    2. PointsWest Avatar

      Idahoans do not like poachers. Many have driven while intoxicated and might forgive a DUI in someone else. Few have ever poached.

      I think this will do Rammell in. A judge may make an example of him and give him some jail time for his flagrant disregard of the law.

      On the other hand, Hitler and gang were from Bavaria, one of the most rural parts of Germany and Hitler did jail time for inciting a riot only to emerge more popular than ever. Palin-Rammell 2012! “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!”

      1. SAP Avatar

        PW – I really think we need to stop with the Hitler comparisons for many many reasons. As the sign said at Jon Stewart’s rally, “Hitler is Hitler.”

        The best reason right now is that right-wing extremists are so quick to call us Nazis, that it just rapidly de-generates into “I know you are, but what am I?”

        People who lived through the era (I’m not one of them) of authoritarian genocidal regimes would tell you that today’s insane, scapegoating, crybaby theocrats may have some similarities to 1930s Nazis, and that people of goodwill and decency need to be vigilant.

        At the same time, we cheapen the horror and suffering that so many endured, that so many died from, when we stamp “Nazi! Nazi! Nazi!” all over every crank who really just needs his Depends changed.

      2. PointsWest Avatar

        The Tea Partiers and/or Glen Beck are not calling me a NAZI. I am an independent.

        I see no parallels between the Democrats and NAZI’s but I see many between the Tea Party and the NAZI’s…not so much in their fiscal policies but in the arrogance of and total reliance upon their ideology, their drive for dominance, their use of fear, their intolerance of dissent, and their lack of compassion for other human beings.

        Sorry. It’s not that I am calling names. It really is the way I see it and I am not going to hide it.

      3. ProWolf in WY Avatar
        ProWolf in WY

        So the guy is against NPR huh? I guess it must be too liberal and not enough to satisfy his crackpot taste.

  15. WM Avatar

    Interesting factoid. IDFG put out a special news release (available on their webiste) on Rammell’s arrest. It was probably done to be sure the media got the facts correct on the incident, but nonetheless a novel/odd release on a specific alleged game violator.

    If he is convicted of the alleged crimes – especially threatening the officer, fleeing the scene to avoid being ticketed, jail time could be involved, as well as a ban on hunting license purchases (whatever good that would do). Maybe he could get sent to Boise where that private jail operator contractor from Tennessee, that is being criticized in the press, could oversee his incarceration (don’t drop the soap in the shower – sorry couldn’t resist).

    or, if that doesn’t work:

    1. WM Avatar

      Follow up: A shocking video on CCA (Tennessee contractor) allowing inmate fighting at Boise jail. US Attorney is investigating – 11/30/10.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The Idaho Republican Party sees Rammell as a real trouble maker.

      Folks may recall Rammell’s “elk ranch” and his failure to keep them enclosed. Acting Republican governor, now U.S. Senator, Jim Risch had Fish and Game shoot Rammell’s wandering elk.

      There is no love lost with Rammell ending up in the clink.

      As I think more about this, it makes sense that a lot of the extreme anti-wolf people are more anti-government than anything. Their focus is on wolves to a degree, but it’s doubtful they have respect for established law in general. Many are followers of classic conspiracy theories that have circulated for years and years.

      1. SAP Avatar

        Not all Tea Partiers are anti-wolf extremists, but all anti-wolf extremists are Tea Partiers.

    3. PointsWest Avatar

      I liked the story in Michael Moore’s documentary ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ where they found that a judge, who filled up a private for-profit prison with teens with minor offenses, was taking money from the owners of the prison…presumably to keep the prison full of prisoners no matter how minor the crimes.

      That good ol’ profit incentive can work miricles…I’m tellin ya!

      Greed is good.

    4. PointsWest Avatar

      ++Ralph writes: Folks may recall Rammell’s “elk ranch” and his failure to keep them enclosed. Acting Republican governor, now U.S. Senator, Jim Risch had Fish and Game shoot Rammell’s wandering elk.++

      It is why Rammell got into politics. He was so incensed that the governor had killed “his” elk that he retaliated by trying to replace the governor with himself. His race for governor was a vendetta of sorts. He sacrificed a lot. He mortgaged his home, for example, and I believe he lost it or nearly lost it. I’d guess he lost most of his wealth in his quest for the vengeance that has yet to materialize.

      It is tragic. I knew a Construction Superintendent in Las Vegas who hunted (if you could call shooting elk in a pen hunting) his Velvet Ranch near Ashton and Rex took him to Rexburg where he actually raised his elk before releasing them into the 90 acre pen. He said Rex was a very nice guy, showed him his operation, and invited him to his home.

      I think the anti-wolf people are all about their issues with authority and control.

    5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Pointswest writes:

      +++ “I think the anti-wolf people are all about their issues with authority and control.”

      That is why scientific studies have no effect on their attitudes. Having said that, there are also personal psychological reasons why some people show such enthusiasm for wolves.

      1. Craig Avatar

        I think you are right Ralph. Hunters think what they see in the field is what’s happen everywhere. But at least they are out there, some way more than others and it’s an domino effect when one heres Elk numbers suck ect.

  16. PointsWest Avatar

    There is an article in the Rexburg Journal this morning about Rex Rammell’s poaching with a bit more detail. The article says Rex’s legal defense is that he thought the date and Middle Fork designation on the tag were a mere “formality” and that there was nothing in the actual hunting regulations that prevented him from using that tag at Tex Creek.

    Rex refused to accept the citation and would not allow the elk to be confiscated by F&G because he considered the elk meat to be his until he was proven guilty in a court of law. The F&G called for backup from the county Sherriff’s office and from the Idaho State Police and several officers decended on the Rammell home in Amon. Rex says he agreed to turn over the elk on condition that it be returned if found not guilty.

    We’ll hear the F&G and the police’s version at a later date, I’m sure.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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