AMARILLO, TEX. -- Texas convicts were used as practice prey for a prison dog training exercise that came to light after a prison board member took two hunting buddies along on what he dubbed the "ultimate hunt."
Jerry Hodge, vice chairman of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said friends accompanied him to the exercise and that he later sent them jackets bearing the inscription "Ultimate Hunt."
According to sources in Austin, Gov. Bill Clements (R) had planned to name Hodge chairman of the prison board Tuesday but delayed the announcement after the revelations. Clements denied that Hodge had been chosen and said Hodge's actions were inappropriate, but rejected demands for his ouster.
In the exercise, called "running the track," hounds and horses were used to chase down volunteer convicts wearing protective clothing. "Once they find you and tree you, then you get the dogs riled up and then you jump down and fight 'em," said one former prisoner "dogboy." He said, "Boy, that was fun. . . It was a blast."
"I don't think we did anything wrong," Hodge said. He conceded that the jackets were "a mistake" and that calling the event the "Ultimate Hunt" "probably wasn't a good choice of words."