Home Boating & Fishing Fisherman Charged With Shooting, Killing Pilot Whale With WWI Era Rifle

Fisherman Charged With Shooting, Killing Pilot Whale With WWI Era Rifle

Pilot Whale. (Credit: Wikipedia)
Pilot Whale. (Credit: Wikipedia)

A commercial fisherman has been charged with using a rare World War I era rifle to shoot and kill a pilot whale that died after beaching itself in Monmouth County.

The fisherman, Daniel Archibald, 27, of Cape May, admitted to authorities that he used a Mosin-Nagant rifle to shoot at pilot whales swimming near the Capt. Bob commercial fishing boat in 2011, a statement from U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

On Sept. 24, 2011, an 11-foot, 740-pound pilot whale beached itself in Allenhurst, Monmouth County, and died shortly thereafter. A necropsy uncovered a .30 caliber bullet lodged in the whale’s jaw. The bullet wound triggered an extensive infection that caused the whale to starve to death a month later.


Archibald, who was fishing for tuna on board the Capt. Bob, which is docked in Cape May, posted a Facebook photograph of a tuna head on a hook with the caption “thanks a lot pilot whales” about a month before the incident allegedly took place, authorities said.

Special agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement, eventually searched the Capt Bob and found the Mosin-Nagant, a World War II rifle that has not been manufactured in several decades. Forensic analysis, the statement from Fishman said, revealed that the bullet found in the whale was similar in all general rifling characteristics to test bullets fired from Archibald’s rifle. When interviewed by special agents, Archibald admitted that he had “spray[ed]” bullets at pilot whales in an effort to chase them away, according to the statement.

Special agents confirmed the Capt. Bob was fishing in New Jersey around the time the whale was shot by reviewing records from the boat’s vessel monitoring system, a GPS-based tracking system which commercial fishing boats must use under federal law.

Archibald faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a statutory maximum fine of $100,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense. He is currently free on $10,000 unsecured bond, with travel restricted to the United States, except for fishing in international waters. He is required to surrender all firearms and firearms purchaser identification cards and is prohibited from using or possessing a firearm on land or sea, Fishman’s statement said.

  • Frank Rizzo

    I am not in favor nor condone this, but the headline is a bit much. These rifles are not so rare and go for less than 200.00 They were made by the Russians in the millions and used up until Viet Nam by either the Russians and and or their clients around the world at that time.

    • Daniel Dixon

      Smooth shooting rifle. I see lots of guys modernizing them now.

  • James Fennessy

    The defenseless whale died a slow and painful death because this jerk decided to shoot it. I hope that he serves prison time and learns some empathy towards defenseless victims who are targeted by bullies for sport.

  • Trevor

    He should be shot with the same rifle.

  • JW P

    I actually have a similar rifle, except it’s a 1917 Reminington 30 aught 8 (or 6) that my doughboy great grandfather used in WWI. I’m not sure if mine is in working order however.