There is an interesting lawsuit in Nevada in which Rick Vukasin, a 65-year-old electrician and big-game hunter, is a Canadian outfitter and a hunting guide in Tajikistan for a type of “shoot and switch” ploy. Vukasin says that he paid $50,000 to kill a rare, threatened argali sheep known as “Marco Polo” but received a lesser trophy rack in the mail.
Vukasin killed the Marco Polo in December 2012 and said that it was a beautiful 400-pound, big-horned ram with perfect spiraling horns. However, rather than receive the 58-inch-long horns in the mail, he received horns with marks and clips — different horns from the one that he inspected in Tajikistan. He blames Ameri-Cana Expeditions Inc. of Edmonton, Alberta for switching the horns. While the company insisted that they had sent the originals, they later offered to sent a replacement. Vukasian wants the original forms or reimbursement. For him, there is a big difference between horns of any animal and the horns from the animal that he personally killed.
The argali are actually a threatened species and the country only sells 60 permits a year.
Vukasin tried to file a fraud claim with the FBI and suggested that he found other duped hunters. he contacted an FBI agent in Great Falls, who indicated he probably was a fraud victim but there was little authorities could do unless they found a number of other hunters who’d also been duped.
He is also suing Yuri Matison who is a well-known tracker. Matison was selected by the Wild Sheep Foundation to its Mountain Hunter Hall of Fame in 2009.
Vukasin is seeking $75,000 in damages that include not just his money but damages for “worry, anxiety, loss of sleep, physical and mental distress” in not getting his trophy horns. That could raise some interesting questions. First there is the factual question of whether it can be shown that the horns were switched. Presumably, discovery might be able to confirm that fact and if not testing might show an age difference. Then there is the question of the value of horns when someone else killed the original animal. The horns, for him, are the embodiment of his adventure and proof of his skills. It could seem clear that a replacement trophy would not make him whole. The issue is how to quantify the pain and suffering of a hunter without a rack.
Source: USA Today