David Adams, the Georgia hunter who shot and killed the panther from his tree stand three years ago near West Point Lake should thank his lucky stars. DNA tests revealed that the animal was an endangered Florida panther. Federal authorities investigating the killing concluded that the panther was not threatening the hunter, and that, as some have postulated, the panther had been captured in Florida, transported to Georgia, and escaped from captivity, was not credible.

Mr. Adams may not have been aware that within the sights of his rifle was a federally listed endangered species, but he can not be excused for killing such a magnificent animal, regardless of its status. Adams has been convicted of killing the endangered panther and received a fine of $2000 and given two years probation, during which he is prohibited from hunting anywhere in the country. Killing an endangered species can result in a fine of up to $100,000 and a year’s imprisonment. I suspect that when Mr. Adams is allowed to resume hunting, he will think before he shoots.