Gov. Butch Otter on Thursday appointed a former director of the Idaho state office of the Bureau of Land Management to replace the Fish and Game commissioner who resigned in October after photos of his African hunting trip sparked public outcry.
According to a news release from the governor’s office, Tim Murphy’s appointment is effective immediately. Murphy has a long history on Idaho public lands issues. In addition to leading the BLM, Murphy also spent a decade as the director of fire and aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
“Among the challenges facing wildlife management in Idaho, I always keep a keen focus on the value of agricultural land to Idaho’s wildlife and open space,” Murphy said in the release. “Hunting, fishing, trapping and other wildlife-based recreation are key components of life in Idaho. I’m pleased to join the department as a commissioner for the southwest region and look forward to opportunities to hear and address issues and needs important to Idahoans.”
Murphy will serve out the remainder of the term for the position vacated by Blake Fischer, which ends June 30, 2022. His appointment is subject to a routine confirmation vote by the Idaho State Senate during its upcoming legislative session, which begins in January.
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The Fish and Game news release said, “Fischer was asked to resign in the wake of a series of inappropriate photographs and captions that circulated widely after a hunting trip to Africa.” The photos included the then-commissioner posing beside a family of baboons shot with a recurve bow. He and his wife also hunted giraffe, leopard, impala, sable antelope, waterbuck, kudu, warthog, gemsbok (oryx) and eland on the trip.
Fischer defended the hunt as legal, but former Fish and Game commissioners called his actions “revolting,” and Otter requested Fischer’s resignation shortly after the photos went public. At the time, Otter said Fischer’s actions “tainted” Idaho’s reputation.
The Fish and Game Commission is made up of seven commissioners who “supervise the Department of Fish and Game; establish regulations and other needed controls on fishing, hunting, trapping and management of wildlife in line with the state’s wildlife policy; approve department budgets for submission to the legislature; hold public hearings and make decisions on the management of the state’s wildlife.”