In Scalia's last days, ranch guests included hunters' group

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 25, 2016 5:50 PM
In Scalia's last days, ranch guests included hunters' group

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Among the guests at a Texas ranch where Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died were members of an exclusive society of hunters known as the International Order of St. Hubertus.

The owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, John Poindexter, identified himself as a member of the order in his company biography. He is pictured among dozens of members wearing dark green robes in a photo on the order's website.

It's unclear whether Scalia had any ties to the order, which the Washington Post first reported about Wednesday. The paper quoted Poindexter as saying he knew "of no connection between that organization and Justice Scalia."

Poindexter has said Scalia was one of about 35 guests visiting the remote West Texas ranch for a weekend of hunting and time in the outdoors.

Another guest, San Antonio hotelier and businessman Wallace Rogers III, is listed in Texas business records as a previous president of the order's state chapter. Reached by phone last week, Rogers confirmed he attended the gathering but declined to answer any questions about it. He did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.

"I don't want to answer anything," Rogers told The Associated Press last week. "I just don't want to talk about it. It was a tragic thing."

The order, with origins in 17th century Europe, describes itself as "a worldwide organization of hunters who are also wildlife conservationists and are respectful of traditional hunting ethics and practices." Its Latin motto — "Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes" — translates to "Honoring God by Honoring His Creatures."

Scalia flew to Cibolo Creek Ranch with a friend identified by the local sheriff as Allen Foster. While the sheriff's report does not detail Foster's background, C. Allen Foster is a Washington, D.C., lawyer who has previously represented clients in cases before the Supreme Court.

Foster holds a leadership position within the hunting order, the Post reported.

The 79-year-old Scalia's body was found Feb. 13 in his bed at the ranch. A letter from Scalia's doctor says the Supreme Court justice suffered from coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and obstructive sleep disorder among several "chronic medical conditions" that likely led to his death.