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Another Day in the Life Of Captain Buddy

Discussion in 'Chesapeake Flyway Forum' started by BadBean, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. BadBean

    BadBean Elite Refuge Member

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    Flamboyant hunting guide gets federal slap
    Member of a noted Shore family is fined $5,000 for goose kill

    By Matthew Dolan
    Sun reporter

    April 20, 2007
    The old Cap'n Buddy sported flashy rings as he crowed about his good fortune. A Rolex on his wrist, he covered his feet in snakeskin boots and boasted on a homemade Internet video that he's "old and bold and full of gold."

    Today the captain is a little less full.

    After a two-year sting operation in which federal agents posed as law-breaking hunters, 73-year-old Levin Faulkner Harrison III pleaded guilty yesterday to overseeing the illegal killing of Canada geese in excess of the daily limit.

    A federal magistrate judge in Baltimore imposed a $5,000 fine on the self-described "Boss Hogg of Tilghman Island." She also ordered Harrison to contribute $675 to a wildlife fund and took away his commercial hunter guide license.

    The hunting violations were nothing new for Harrison, who is descended from a family of the island's largest private landowners yet introduces himself as the fun-lovin' Cap'n Buddy. He has had six prior misdemeanor convictions for breaking laws designed to protect fishing and oystering in the Chesapeake Bay, lawyers said.

    One prosecutor called him "a bit of a scofflaw."

    Yet Harrison again avoided prison time. He could have faced a maximum penalty of six months behind bars and a $15,000 fine, but that wasn't part of the "Buddy Plan" - also the name of his old boat.

    "The government does not believe that's necessary to deter Mr. Harrison," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Romano, who recommended the no-prison sentence as part of a plea agreement.

    Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner agreed but warned Harrison that he risked time behind bars if he breaks game laws again.

    "You can't do that anymore," Gesner chided. "I hope you take this seriously."

    Harrison remained somewhat defiant after the hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday. Dressed in a blue suit with decidedly less bling, Harrison explained that his online video caught the attention of federal agents who eventually charged him with hunting violations.

    "They thought I had money so they come after me," he said.

    The music video called "Laugh Your Bass Off" and posted on goodoleboysoutdoors.com (registration required) shows Harrison sniffing a wad of hundred-dollar bills.

    "Cap'n Buddy's my name, fishin' my game," he says on the video while bikini-clad women dance behind him on his boat.

    Later, he jokes on the video, "It ain't never easy being me."

    His lawyers, Andrew C. White and Roy B. Cowdrey Jr., argued that characterizing Harrison as a chronic lawbreaker was unfair.

    "I don't think that's an accurate reflection of the man," Cowdrey said, adding that Harrison had been held ultimately responsible before for the misdeeds of his employees.

    The attorneys said the length and breadth of the undercover investigation surprised them for a plea that ended with a single misdemeanor conviction.

    "They flew the agents in from Texas," Cowdrey said.

    Harrison and his business had originally been charged with six counts; five were dropped as part of the plea agreement. After the hearing, Cowdrey eventually stopped a reporter from asking follow-up questions about the future of Harrison's businesses, which he said, by the way, will be fine.

    For more than 50 years, Harrison has fished the bay while overseeing a processing plant, an inn, a restaurant and a fleet of charter boats. So famous was his family's Harrison's Chesapeake House that island diners included presidents and senators.

    A larger-than-life character on the 3-mile-long island, he took to the roads in a camouflage Hummer and upgraded his 50-foot charter boat, Buddy Plan, to the 62-foot Capt. Buddy.

    In the late 1980s, according to reports in The Sun, he and several partners built the $20 million Harrison's Pier V at the Inner Harbor. The partnership defaulted in the mid-1990s and the city took over.

    But in the eyes of gaming wardens, Harrison is now more infamous than famous.

    According to police and court records, Harrison has been fined for violating state fishing regulations at least three times in the past 13 years.

    In 1993, Harrison was found guilty of possession of striped bass out of season and fined $3,500, with $1,500 suspended. But the captain had friends in high places.

    The governor wrote a letter to the judge praising Harrison's character, and the Department of Natural Resources secretary at the time testified for the defense. Harrison also was fined for illegal possession of striped bass in 1999 and 2000.

    In July 2006, the Maryland Natural Resources Police said an officer caught Harrison again, this time with undersize striped bass at his seafood processing plant.

    In court papers filed in yesterday's federal case, undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents contacted Harrison's Country Inn and Sport Fishing Center in late 2005. The two agents put down a deposit for a day of goose hunting at $185 apiece.

    When they arrived at 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2006, the agents drove to the designated farm field in Bozman, followed by Harrison in his Hummer.

    The license plate read CPBUDDY.

    At the field, Harrison set up decoys and used a birdcall to attract geese, court papers say. After one of the two agents had killed his daily limit of two Canada geese, the agent told Harrison they had reached their daily bag limit.

    Then Harrison's employee piped up, according to prosecutors. With Harrison standing nearby, the unidentified employee said the agents could shoot the employee's limit, too.

    The agents eventually shot a total of eight geese, court papers say. Harrison warned them while he went to fetch lunch that they should hide any excess birds in their car to avoid detection from law enforcement.

    As the day ended, Cap'n Buddy, ever the host, posed for a picture with the agents and their geese. They revealed themselves and charged him moments later.
     
  2. Hroonk

    Hroonk Elite Refuge Member

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    So, 8 geese for 4 people @ 2 birds a peice? I'm with Buddy on this one. BS:eek:

    That's as BS as the story about the Asseteague Warden writing a violation for "attempting" to kill over the limit when 2 guys shot at a black duck after already killing one. 2 guys, 2 dead black ducks + a ticket.
     
  3. jkryspin

    jkryspin Elite Refuge Member

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    You can be with Buddy all you want, but limits are individual limits - not party limits. Where's the discrepancy?
     
  4. Scotty

    Scotty Elite Refuge Member

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    No, there is no such thing as a party limit, so both are taking over the legal limit of game... There is a per person daily bag limit, not a per blind limit. If you are hunting and you kill your geese, than you are done, it is then against the law to even attempt to take another goose.. dont you read your regulations..:z
    This guy is obviously an outlaw and shows no bones about it... I think it is good that he got cracked, he should have been way sooner!!
     
  5. 7bartman

    7bartman Elite Refuge Member

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    I bet the investigation cost more than the fine. Glad to see our tax dollars hard at work. Another slap on the wrist. Money talks and b.s. walks.
     
  6. muskrat25

    muskrat25 Elite Refuge Member

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    If you remember, I thought there was a legal deficiency in the "2 tickets for 2 blackducks for 2 hunters" equation- in particular the fact that the officer didn't know who was "attempting" to go over the limit.

    That wasn't a problem in this case. I gotta admit, though, that I was expecting something a little sexier, like he charged extra to shoot "his" limit. I guess his motive was to bring back these "happy clients" at $185 a pop. Either way, illegal and unethical, and he clearly knew it was a problem ("Be sure to hide them..."). I'd be interested to know what revoking that license really means- can the "business" get another license? And can he hunt "non-commercially"? That would really hurt- assuming he doesn't ignore that law, as well.
     
  7. BadBean

    BadBean Elite Refuge Member

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    Well what bothered me is that it was actually Law Enforcement going over the limit here. Buddy and the other guide didn't fire a shot from what I got out of the article, they just said go ahead and shoot "our limit too." So If I am with a guide and he tells me to go ahead and shoot over my limit then he would be responsible for my actions and I would be absolved of the crime(s) I committed? Also is it ok to knowingly break the law as long as you are a law agent? The undercover agents were the ones that in reality broke the law as the article says "The agents eventually shot a total of eight geese, court papers say."

    But there is no arguement or doubt from me that Captain Buddy is a scofflaw, his continuous behavior and history clearly illustrate that fact. But in this case I do question the methods of "getting" him.
     
  8. jkryspin

    jkryspin Elite Refuge Member

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    Police don't get charged with speeding when driving in excess of the speed limit during a chase. Same philosophy here. Do undercover officers get charged with possession of drugs when they buy from dealers?

    :rolleyes:
     
  9. Hroonk

    Hroonk Elite Refuge Member

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  10. fur-fins-feathers

    fur-fins-feathers Elite Refuge Member

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    I wonder what the other five charges were? Negotiating a plea is something I've never heard of with the Feds. I guess it depends who you are!
     

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