You might have been wondering why there’s been no mention here of the fact that on Saturday, the Vice President, Dick Cheney, accidentally shot hunting partner Harry Whittington while out hunting quail. That’s simple: There’s nothing stupid about it. These sorts of things happen.
What is stupid is what the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department did Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, that department contacted the Office of the Vice President to inform them that while Cheney did have the proper $125 nonresident hunting permit, he did not have a newly required $7 Texas stamp for hunting upland quail.
Cheney’s staff, who arranged for the permits, were not informed of the requirement for the $7 stamp, according to a statement made by his office Tuesday. But the staff also paid for a $15 Federal migratory bird stamp, also known as the Duck Stamp, which it turns out Cheney already possessed.
The Department said since the requirement is new, they would let Cheney off with a warning. Cheney’s office responded by sending $7 back to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
That’s an incredible amount of paperwork, expense and bureaucratic garbage to go through, at least for most Americans, just to go hunting. And when the Vice President’s staff can’t even keep up with all the requirements, one might start to think we have too many regulations.
Update: Since people are asking and I should have foreseen that: The game warden who investigated said it was an accident. (PDF) “Whittington downed a bird and went to retrieve it. While he was out of the hunting line another covey was flushed and Cheney swung on a bird and fired striking Whittington in the face, neck and chest at approximately 30 yards.” The local sheriff is also convinced it was a hunting accident. (PDF) “Mr. Whittington’s interview corroborated Vice President Cheney’s statement. This Department is fully satisfied that this is no more than a hunting accident.” And there’s more information on how this type of hunting accident can occur.
Update 2: I’ve obtained the reports from the Kenedy County Sheriff (PDF). He says it’s an accident, too.