Wolverine seized from Georgetown bar by California Department of Fish and Game Agents
May. 10, 2012The wolverine, one of the rarest mammals in California, is at the center of a controversy at the Georgetown Hotel and Saloon.
Somebody complained to the California Department of Fish and Game that the Georgetown Hotel and Saloon had some illegal stuffed animals on display. Wardens visited the bar to investigate, and they removed a wolverine and red-tailed hawk. The two creatures are on a list of rare animals that are illegal for individuals to possess in California, living or dead.
The Department of Fish and Game will forward the complaint to the El Dorado County district attorney's office for further investigation.
The Georgetown Hotel opened in 1896. Bar patrons and business owner Virginia Asbury tell FOX40 the stuffed animals have been there for as long as anyone can remember.
The wolverine may be donated to a museum.
Jenifer Gee, Auburn Journal editor
A mounted wolverine was taken from a Georgetown bar this week, leaving its owner upset and a local watering hole without its main ice breaker.
The California Department of Fish and Game seized the taxidermied critter Tuesday from the Georgetown Hotel and Bar, stating it is illegal to own a protected species, be it dead or alive, according to Patrick Foy, a warden with the department.
“The wolverine is the single rarest animal in the state of California,” Foy said.
He clarified that while it is a protected species, it is not considered an endangered species.
On April 27, the department received a complaint that the bar had illegal mounted animals on its wall. Foy said a warden was then asked to stop by the bar during his normal patrol duties. The warden noticed the wolverine, left his business card and asked for the owner to call him.
Foy said after another unsuccessful attempt to talk to the owner, the warden returned to take the wolverine and a red-tail hawk, which is also a protected species.
Foy said the owner was not cited.
Sonja Fox, whose mother, Virginia Asbury, has owned the hotel and bar for about 20 years, said the seizure “definitely threw us all off-guard.”
Fox said her mother had received only the warden’s card dropped in a night bag but she never got the message to call him or what he wanted.
“I’m sure if she had known she was supposed to call him, she would’ve,” Fox said.
Fox said her husband took the wolverine and hawk down for the warden.
She said they inherited the wolverine when they took ownership of the bar but is not sure of its true history.
“As legend would have it a man around here, Archie Liddicoat, said he confiscated it from a bar called Wolverine in Alaska and brought it here,” Fox said.
The wolverine was the centerpiece in a bar filled with taxidermied animals including badgers, deer, Elkhorn, fox, rabbit, squirrel, jackalope, a duck and a shark.
They even house the ashes of a faithful customer who was born, lived and died in Georgetown.
Fish and Game warden Foy said there’s no way to tell the wolverine’s age. He said enforcement of the law is important in setting a precedent for others.
“So if the next guy finds the only wolverine in California and kills and stuffs it and puts it on his wall, what’s to stop him from saying, ‘I’ve had the thing for 20 years and the guy in Georgetown, you let him keep the wolverine. Why shouldn’t I get to keep him?’” ...