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Hunter Shoots Hiker, Mistakes Him For Bear

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October 26, 2011

Hunter Shoots Hiker, Mistakes Him For Bear

By Chad Love

In light of yesterday's post about accidents involving guns, here's another tragic example of why you should always, always positively identify what you're shooting at before you squeeze the trigger.

From this story in the Salem, Oregon Statesman-Journal:

A 67-year-old Turner man who shot and killed a hiker Friday while hunting for bear was on family-owned property, Marion County Sheriff's Office officials said Tuesday. Gene Collier and his 12-year-old grandson were hunting in the 6300 block of Silver Ridge Road SE, a rural area about one mile west of Silver Falls State Park at about 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21.

"The property he was shooting on belongs to Gene and other family members," said sheriff's office spokes-man Don Thomson. Collier told detectives that he thought he saw a bear moving in the brush and fired one shot from his .270-caliber hunting rifle. The shot struck Christopher A. Ochoa, 20, of French Camp, Calif., who was hiking with a friend through the field on their way to Silver Falls State Park. Ochoa, an active Marine Corps reservist, died at the scene.

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Comments (52)

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from 007 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

There is no excuse for it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

"thought he saw a bear moving in the brush"

oh. boy. guess we're shooting first, asking questions later.

a story like this is going to feed the anti-Sunday Hunting folk here in PA.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MJC wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Yet another example of why I wear orange in the woods, even when I'm not hunting but somebody else might be. Especially if the somebody else shoots at brush.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pbshooter1217 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Don't get me wrong, the shooter should of made sure of what he was shooting, but it sounds like the victim was trespassing. You always need to have orange on when walking through the woods.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dasmith wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

These are the "Accidents" that are completely avoidable.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FOX wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

All hunters should take away from this always always be sure of your target. This is a tragedy that could have been avoided.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

"Stupid!" is the best commentary.

I checked the source story. Collier is not a good hunter and is not an ethical sportsman, so it is no wonder he would (apparently) shoot into the brush at an object he has not positively identified.

It is also stupid to stroll through private property without permission, though I'm sure Ochoa and his friend had no idea someone was hunting or how dangerous their route was.

"Stupid,stupid,stupid."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

THE DAY I ALMOST SHOT A MAN. It was a cold rainy day for deer hunting up near indian heaven wilderness in the cascades of sw washington. here youre often hunting in the clouds as well as thick timber and reprods. i was still hunting when i spotted a bear doing what bears do this time of year. they are cruising the forest looking for that last bit of protein with their noses to the ground turning over logs looking for tasty bits. i spotted him about fifty yards away and confirmed it with my binos. i needed to get a lot closer for a shot due to the thick cover. i slowly worked my way in to within the 25 yard line and decided i could make the kill. gun up, safeties off, i waited for the critter to take one more step forward to clear a small fir. imagine my surprise when bruin stood up and stretched his back out. i had put the sneak on a mexican bear grass picker. this guy was completely dressed in dark colors wearing a black hoody pulled down over his head to stay warm and keep the rain off. not one piece of blaze on him. i just slowly walked off behind him. he never knew i was there. im sorry but after sept 1st till new years if your out recreating in the woods you best have some blaze on. its cheap insurance and i personaaly feel that it is irresponsible for the outdoor rec industry not to be proactive in educating the urban rubes about this precaution. also have you noticed that almost all their gear and clothing is dark colored, from their parkas and hats to packs? as far as im concerned if your hiking or picking or hunting in the fall and you get shot because you were missidentified to due not obviously being a human. then you assume 50% of the blame just for being stupid. and i gotta tell you if i should happen to shoot some poor soul and they are looking like my prey; well im not going to be crying about it.

-10 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kyle VanBritson wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm 17, this is my second year hunting and I know better than to shoot at an object untill I have identified what species it is and what sex it is(especially when deciphering a jake and a hen).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I agree that the guy was stupid for hiking and maybe tresspassing , BUT you can't shoot people for being stupid or I would run out of bullets. It still comes down to the person pulling the trigger. I had several of these to investigate while working, and the excuses were so outrageous I would leave most of the time shaking my head wondering why some people should even be allowed to even have a firearm in the woods. A lot of the time the people went into the woods together and knew the other person was in the same woods. That is why we started extensive investigations and polygraph examinations to insure that it was not murder because they were so ridiculous. The mandatory wearing of blaze orange while deer hunting took care of over 85% of all of our negligent shootings.

+9 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sad story.

No excuse for the shooter.

I do think that hikers and other "non-hunting" outdoor enthusiasts should be more "in tune" with hunting seasons though. Just makes sense to be on the safe side.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Well I hope SARGE1 has a comment for this one, as I am interested in how he would treat this tragedy ? A 10 yr old is told to shoot again and kills grandfather, S1 says the boy having to live with it is punishment enough.
67 yr old man(not NUGENT 62yr)shoots Marine Reservist(trespasser)claiming he saw a bear ? How should this be treated, I am curious as this was no accident. He will also have to live with this the rest of his life. I have seen game wardens treat the same three infractions three different ways(killing,not human). We have manslaughter minimum, up to aggravated manslaughter(PA) and second degree murder(CA). There was a turkey hunter on the E.coast blasted by another hunter and the shooter rendered aid and the person shot could not file charges of negligence against him because of the law at the time(absolved him completely). The disfigured blind hunter went to the state capital and had that law changed. Rendering aid no longer abditcates you from your responsibilities.
Please identify your target before you raise your weapon.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Thanks Sarge01

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

None of the blame to the victim. Anyone who shoots at motion or an obscured target gets 100% of the blame. You don't shoot at "a dark color" or "a flash of white" or "a motion" or a frickin' noise. "I tawt I saw a bear" isn't worth jack s**t for an excuse and the shooter should be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and manslaughter.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Agree with all about blaze orange. The only circumstance I can see acquitting a hunter is if he shot at a game animal, missed, and hit someone behind the animal if that someone is all in camo.

Camo is a fashion statement. Its only purpose is to conceal you from other people.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

dtownley,
67 year old man, even on his own property, in WV gets charged with negligent shooting of human being for shooting Marine Reservist. The only problem in WV is the penalty. The maximum is $1000.00 and 1 year in jail and most magistrates don't give people the jail time. Not nearly enough for killing a human being. Loss of hunting privileges for 5 years which amounts to very little.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sarge01, that is quite a scale for Miss Justice to wield

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sarge01, that is quite a scale for Miss Justice to wield

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sarge01, that is quite a scale for Miss Justice to wield

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from IowaGuy wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

No excuse, he pulled the trigger not knowing for sure what he was shooting at. Trespassing is not relevant.

The paper says guy has had at least 3 violations of game laws in the past, sounds reckless.

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20111026/NEWS/110260422/Hunter-s...

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Basheer Benhalim wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

There is just no excuse for shooting at the brush, I am sure this guy feels terrible for what happened but you know who feels worse. The family of the man who is dead. I hope this is a clear warning to all the people who think taking a "sound" shot is a smart thing to do.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Here is a story about WHAT WOUDL YOU DO? Only 1 other person has heard this story. Many Many years ago, The Ranger, my best friend since we were 5 years old, and I were hunting squirrels on a beautiful fall saturday. The Rang was up a head about 50 yards checking out the tops of oaks along a power line. He wasn't looking in the brush. Just looking in the tree tops. He walked right past a 16 year old kid bow hunting dressed in what passed for camo at that time in a ground blind. The kid didn't see me. He deliberately drew back his bow and pointed at my friend in orange in the open who didn't know his life was suddenly in serious danger. I was close enough the I could almost make out the size and estimated age of the kid. My first thought was to yell or shoot in the air but If I did, and the kid spooked and released the arrow, my friend was dead. My second shot was to shoot the kid and risk a jury and jail. But with #4 shot in a 12 gauge from 60-70 years I would probably wound the kid and the arrow was still be released, killing my pal and I would go to jail anyway. I waited until the kid released the bow tension, and he saw me. Then went up to him and slowly in measured tones threatened to shoot him dead if he drew back the bow on me as I walked past. The kid laughed as if it was funny. I have never been so mad, or nearly 30 years later, since.

We didn't report the kid ( as I was informed it would be my word against his anyway) and when we went back that way in 40 minutes give or take the kid was gone. I still remember how white hot I was, that my best friend of 25 years could be taken for a stupid stunt. I like to think as the kid matured he thought about how close he came to killing another or himself dying that day, and maybe he had to grow up real fast and it all worked out. His life wasn't ruined and no one was hurt.

Life is not TV or a video game. It has real consequences. And thats the reason to take a kid hunting. Responsibility can't be learned on TV or dungeons and dragons or whatever they play now. You have to see it up close and personal.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from troyalexander508 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

This happened on a less severe level in my town. Last year a kid at my school was on a run training for cross country and got hit by a hunter. He took a few pellets from a shotgun through the leg, it was recoil from something the man shot at. I guess mistakes happen, but something like this just seems to be a little rediculous

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Thought he saw a bear? The horrific nature of killing someone for no good reason goes without saying, but it's already despicable to just blindly shoot like that, even if you know it's a game animal.

If you're not even noticing that the bear isn't a human, how in the hell are you supposed to be making a decent, clean kill shot in the vitals?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Can you imagin how the guy feels with his grand kid out there finding out he shot a person. All because he didn't make a positive ID on his target.

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from joaxe wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

So much for PA getting Sunday Hunting approved...

This is a sad example of one of the main topics against Sunday Hunting in PA in the 3rd and final PA House meeting on House Bill 1760 this past Thursday morning.

Idiots, like the shooter in the story above, become the poster children for all anti-hunting groups and legislature that wishes to curtail or completely eliminate our hunting heritage in this country .

Then again...what were "hikers" doing on private property anyway?!?! Private property is just that...private. Posted or not, you are not the one paying taxes on it and, unless you have written permission, do NOT belong on the land - for any reason.

Prayers go out for the young man and his family...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fat guy Aaron wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

sounds like he just wanted him off his property

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from mesarich wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

You just do not shoot at anything until you KNOW what it is. Then you should also know what is behind it, to be completely safe. No excuse for this. Feeling bad will not bring anyone back from the dead.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ol Krusty wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

It seems that our society is shoot first ask questions later. If your in bear country and paranoid as hell about being there, you shouldnt be there. Pick up a different hobby like basket weaving and leave the woods to others with calmer nerves.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I really dont understand why my story is receiving negative posts. Do you not understand the story and arguement and are you not thinking about them. Just curious.

-4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bioguy01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

And this is why one of the 10 rules of firearms safety is: Positively identify your target and what is beyond.

Tom Donohue - "gun up, safeties off, i waited for the critter to take one more step forward to clear a small fir. "

You didn't properly identify your target before raising the gun and taking the safety off. It's good that you identified your target before pulling the trigger, but positively identifying your target from a distance with binoculars would have been the preferred action.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

To Bioguy, i guess you folks arent really reading the story.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

i never understood the whole, "i heard something and it had to be a deer", or the "i just saw something brown and shot" argument. you have to identify what your shooting at before you pull that trigger. i attribute 99% of these to people getting buck fever. think that animal your after is in the brush and you just blind fire due to adrenaline rush. tisk tisk, no reason for it. in defense of the shooter (even though there is really nothing to defend), guy shouldnt have been trespassing. no human life is worth an animal.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GERG wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

It blows my mind that there is a discussion about this? You never ever pull the trigger unless you are absolutely positively sure of your intented target. There are very few hunting accidents. This aint one of them. Tragic yes, accident no.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

tom donohue,
I read your story and re-read it again and came up with the same conclusion that I came up with the first time. I can't believe you put blame on someone for getting shot just because they are stupid. If you read my post I said you can't shoot people for being stupid or I would run out of ammunition. The ultimate blame rests on the shooter who has to make positive identification before he or she pulls the trigger. In my line of work I have heard all of the lame excuses people use for shooting people in the woods and none of them hold water. I hunt with binos and don't even pull my gun up until I have made positive identification of what I am going to shoot. Does it make me miss an opportunity once in awhile, maybe but at least it lets me make a positive ID of what I am shooting. There is no deer, elk, moose or any other game animal on this earth worth shooting some human over. I investigated over 80 negligent shootings in my career and considered none of them accidents, someone made a mistake and pulled the trigger when they weren't supposed to.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Hey Sarge. I am an experienced hunter. as i noted the conditions that day were awful. Rain, mist, clouds to ground level (3400ft elev in the Pacific NW in late Oct says it all) reprod timber etc. the picker dressed in black hoodie pulled over his head bent over working the ground looks just like a bear under those conditions. While i agree that it is the hunters responsibilty to positively identify the prey, under those conditions i was 100% sure of what i was seeing. as noted i stalked in an additional 25 yards and reconfirmed under the binos
, 8x40 nikons, again! Just how damn close do others get to bears before they shoot? My point is if its hunting sseason and you want to be in the woods, blaze orange is cheap insurance to save your life. You have to take individual responsibility for your safety, you cannot place the entire burden on others. You have a DUTY to ensure your own wellbeing and that of others, its not a oneway street. Why dont we just drive in the left hand lane and then blame the other guy for causing the accident? i did not entirely blame the picker for almost being killed, but he was at least 50% responsible at that moment, and still 100% responsible for his own safety. Stupid is as stupid does. And i for one am not gonna take the hit for someone elses misbehavior. I think you should reread my post. Really you investigated 80 negligent hunting shootings? There probably isnt 80 such events over a 10 year period in the entire US. No offense but its pretty rare. Some years it never even happens.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Tom Donohue....Since it was a human and not a bear, you clearly had NOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED your target. Weather conditions are no excuse. You identify what you are shooting at. Period. If visibility is so poor that you can not identify between a human and a game animal at 25 yards with binos then you shouldn't be out at all until conditions improve.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Dear dtbc333
WOW i guess we all have to stay home now or at the bar playing buck hunter until weather conditions improve. ok everyone out of the woods NOW! Its not safe for you or others so GET OUT! Once again we have a commenter who does not comprehend what hes reading. We all cant be hunting on the wide open prarie. some of us actually go into the deep dark woods; weather not withstanding. I get the feeling that where i like to hunt would scare the beejeebers out of most.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

tom donohue,
I'm going to forget that you questioned my integrity when I said that I investigated over 80 negligent shootings, but for your information I investigated negligent shootings over a 5 county area for over 35 years. When you say there aren't that many in a 10 year period in the US it shows me that you don't have a clue what is happening in the field of hunter safety. We have had years that we have had 65 or 70 in our state in one year. That was years ago before hunter safety classes and blaze orange,back in the early 70's. Very few make national news only the local newspaper. The second year that I worked ( 1972) I had 3 people killed the first week of our firearms buck season. In WV in the early 70's during our 2 weeks bucks season there was from 7 to 10 people killed every year. Thank goodness we got that under control and in 2004 was the first year that we never had anyone killed during the two weeks of bucks season. Do your research before putting your foot in your mouth.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Thx sarge you make my point exactly. The wearing of blaze has saved a lot of lives. You know your not gonna mistake a hunter or anyone else in the woods in blaze for an animal. Ill still bet the claim still stands tho. There like as not hasnt been 80 misadventures during hunting season in the last ten years US wide. i gotta believe that if your state had had 70 shootings in one hunting season your governor would have shut that and the next season down. The wild west was never that bloody.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Here are the stats for michigan:
2007 - 32 incidents, 2 fatal 14 self inflicted/
2008 - 22 2 8.
2009 - 18 2 9.
2010 - 14 3 7.
The latest for Washington state
2005 - 13 4
2006 - 7 1
2007 - 11 1

These 2 states have large hunter numbers. Mich has to be No:1 in the land. 650,000+ per annum easy. Wash in 07 sold 307,000+ licenses. As you can see over a 7 year period there was only 15 fatalities between these 2 heavily hunted states. Just by extrapolation you couldnt get to 80 fatalities from hunting in 10 years nationwide.
More hunters die every year just getting to and from the field by transport than by misadventure afield.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Tom Donohue...Thanks for being so civil in your response....I however will not stoop to your level. I live up against the Rockies in CO, so don't give me BS about where you hunt being "scary"...We all hunt bad weather, but if visibility is so poor you can't identify something at 25 yards with binocs then it clearly isn't safe to be shooting. One of the most basic safety rules of shooting is to identify your target AND what is behind it. If you can not do that you should not be taking a shot, PERIOD. You are simply still trying to make excuses for your failure to POSITIVELY IDENTIFY your target. Thank god you aren't in the woods around me.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Hey your prophetic, ill be in CO, my olde haunt, next year for elk and muleys i look forward to seeing you(+).
I understand that it is difficult for open country hunters to appreciate just how thick it is here in the NW. even in good weather its challenging to the psyche.
Now, i had positively identified my quarry. Our gaurdian angels saved the day however. Heres another dimension to the story.. I know for 100% certainty that the picker was an illegal alien, working illegally doing a job an american wont do (right) not paying taxes, using social support services at whim, sending all his money back to wherever, no insurance, driving illegally, probably voting tho, criminal. Me, a natural born US citizen, family man, productive high taxpaying veteran, doing my best to support the government class at the expense of my own retirement, your average 53%, engaging in a legal activity for which i am charged handsomely. If i had shot the picker, here illegaly, should i report it? Well? What would you do and why?

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I think the lack of sympathy you're garnering, Mr. Donahue, comes from statements like this one that you made: "but he was at least 50% responsible at that moment, and still 100% responsible for his own safety. Stupid is as stupid does."

If you'd shot that guy, 100% of the blame would have been yours. None on him. The only stupidity involved is in trying to find some "comfort zone" for yourself in an event that almost led to you shooting a person.

Sure I can imagine circumstances where a person can't be blamed. If some idiot were to dress up in a deer costume during deer season and walk around on all fours like a deer, well... and then of course there's camoflage clothing -- designed to make people invisible to other people. If you're actively TRYING to not be observed by people, not being seen is your own fault.

I agree with you about Blaze Orange 100%. But Blaze is basically a hunter culture thing. And judging by the people in the field, it's not very fashionable these days. So most hikers out and about in the fall aren't going to be aware of the need for or existence of blaze. And most hunters out and about in the fall are foolishly dolled up in the latest camo fashions.

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from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

If Co is your "old haunt" as you claim, then you would know its far from open country. You seem to think you are the only one who has been to or hunted the NW. Where you are is no excuse for not identifying your target anyways, which you did not do. How can you possibly claim to have positively identified your target as a bear when it was in fact a human? What feature did you POSITIVELY identify as being a bear? So far all you have said was black, and bent over as if foraging. Doesn't sound anywhere near a positive ID to me. As for your rant about the person being an illegal immigrant...You know nothing for sure since you said you snuck away without speaking to the man, and even if he were an illegal you are really trying to say that would justify you shooting him? That is pretty sickening. I am against illegal immigration as much as the next guy, but I don't believe it should be punished by being shot by a hunter in the woods. A big part of the negative responses you have received is the way in which you talk to people, not just your story alone. A little respect goes a long way, even on an internet board. Here's hoping you don't draw a tag here next year.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I will try one more time to set the record straight and reach your tunnel vision outlook. I said that I investigated over 80 negligent shootings, I didn't say I investigated 80 fatal negligent shootings. That being said I contacted the State office from which I retired and received the stats for the last five years.
2006-27
2007-33
2008-28
2008-25
2010-28 141 hunting incidents for the last 5 years.
Included in the 141 were heart attacks, treestand falls, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, self inflicted wounds, slipping and falling, crossing fences with loaded firearm, etc.
There were approximately 58 2 party negligent shootings in that 141 hunting incidents over the last 5 years.
At this rate it wasn't hard for me to investigate 80 negligent shootings in a 5 county area in 35+ years. I hope this clears up the confusion that you seem to have.
Mike, You mentioned about dressing like a deer. I had one just about as bad. Two guys went into the woods together to hunt. One of the guys killed a 6 point buck and was carrying it on his back in thick brush. He was wearing complete camo. His buddy shot and killed him at a distance of 60 yards with a 9 power scope. I charged and convicted him with negligent shooting of a human being. We have a law that says you can't shoot at game unless it is plainly visible. If he had let the guy take 10 more steps he would have been in the wide open. Another thing. The deer's head was hanging down, and dead deer and live deer look a whole lot different to me.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

i was trying to keep it just to fatals. most of the minor incidents are self inflicted. heart attacks-really!

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I wasnt in search of sympathy. In keeping with the flavor of the original posting i was showing how easy it can be to make a mistake in the field even for those of us old hands, and to give those here something to ponder.
To rangerdans; dude, way to show major restraint, i would have kicked that kids butt into the next county. good story. Be safe out there.

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from sambo wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago
from robert cota wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Just a sad day for all and the sport in general. Make me sick. No reason for it!

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from Egg wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Intentionally pulling that trigger was criminal. Period. Not an accident, rather, negligent homicide at the least.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I agree that the guy was stupid for hiking and maybe tresspassing , BUT you can't shoot people for being stupid or I would run out of bullets. It still comes down to the person pulling the trigger. I had several of these to investigate while working, and the excuses were so outrageous I would leave most of the time shaking my head wondering why some people should even be allowed to even have a firearm in the woods. A lot of the time the people went into the woods together and knew the other person was in the same woods. That is why we started extensive investigations and polygraph examinations to insure that it was not murder because they were so ridiculous. The mandatory wearing of blaze orange while deer hunting took care of over 85% of all of our negligent shootings.

+9 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

None of the blame to the victim. Anyone who shoots at motion or an obscured target gets 100% of the blame. You don't shoot at "a dark color" or "a flash of white" or "a motion" or a frickin' noise. "I tawt I saw a bear" isn't worth jack s**t for an excuse and the shooter should be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and manslaughter.

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from jbird wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sad story.

No excuse for the shooter.

I do think that hikers and other "non-hunting" outdoor enthusiasts should be more "in tune" with hunting seasons though. Just makes sense to be on the safe side.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

tom donohue,
I'm going to forget that you questioned my integrity when I said that I investigated over 80 negligent shootings, but for your information I investigated negligent shootings over a 5 county area for over 35 years. When you say there aren't that many in a 10 year period in the US it shows me that you don't have a clue what is happening in the field of hunter safety. We have had years that we have had 65 or 70 in our state in one year. That was years ago before hunter safety classes and blaze orange,back in the early 70's. Very few make national news only the local newspaper. The second year that I worked ( 1972) I had 3 people killed the first week of our firearms buck season. In WV in the early 70's during our 2 weeks bucks season there was from 7 to 10 people killed every year. Thank goodness we got that under control and in 2004 was the first year that we never had anyone killed during the two weeks of bucks season. Do your research before putting your foot in your mouth.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

There is no excuse for it.

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from FOX wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

All hunters should take away from this always always be sure of your target. This is a tragedy that could have been avoided.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Here is a story about WHAT WOUDL YOU DO? Only 1 other person has heard this story. Many Many years ago, The Ranger, my best friend since we were 5 years old, and I were hunting squirrels on a beautiful fall saturday. The Rang was up a head about 50 yards checking out the tops of oaks along a power line. He wasn't looking in the brush. Just looking in the tree tops. He walked right past a 16 year old kid bow hunting dressed in what passed for camo at that time in a ground blind. The kid didn't see me. He deliberately drew back his bow and pointed at my friend in orange in the open who didn't know his life was suddenly in serious danger. I was close enough the I could almost make out the size and estimated age of the kid. My first thought was to yell or shoot in the air but If I did, and the kid spooked and released the arrow, my friend was dead. My second shot was to shoot the kid and risk a jury and jail. But with #4 shot in a 12 gauge from 60-70 years I would probably wound the kid and the arrow was still be released, killing my pal and I would go to jail anyway. I waited until the kid released the bow tension, and he saw me. Then went up to him and slowly in measured tones threatened to shoot him dead if he drew back the bow on me as I walked past. The kid laughed as if it was funny. I have never been so mad, or nearly 30 years later, since.

We didn't report the kid ( as I was informed it would be my word against his anyway) and when we went back that way in 40 minutes give or take the kid was gone. I still remember how white hot I was, that my best friend of 25 years could be taken for a stupid stunt. I like to think as the kid matured he thought about how close he came to killing another or himself dying that day, and maybe he had to grow up real fast and it all worked out. His life wasn't ruined and no one was hurt.

Life is not TV or a video game. It has real consequences. And thats the reason to take a kid hunting. Responsibility can't be learned on TV or dungeons and dragons or whatever they play now. You have to see it up close and personal.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

tom donohue,
I read your story and re-read it again and came up with the same conclusion that I came up with the first time. I can't believe you put blame on someone for getting shot just because they are stupid. If you read my post I said you can't shoot people for being stupid or I would run out of ammunition. The ultimate blame rests on the shooter who has to make positive identification before he or she pulls the trigger. In my line of work I have heard all of the lame excuses people use for shooting people in the woods and none of them hold water. I hunt with binos and don't even pull my gun up until I have made positive identification of what I am going to shoot. Does it make me miss an opportunity once in awhile, maybe but at least it lets me make a positive ID of what I am shooting. There is no deer, elk, moose or any other game animal on this earth worth shooting some human over. I investigated over 80 negligent shootings in my career and considered none of them accidents, someone made a mistake and pulled the trigger when they weren't supposed to.

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from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Tom Donohue....Since it was a human and not a bear, you clearly had NOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED your target. Weather conditions are no excuse. You identify what you are shooting at. Period. If visibility is so poor that you can not identify between a human and a game animal at 25 yards with binos then you shouldn't be out at all until conditions improve.

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from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Tom Donohue...Thanks for being so civil in your response....I however will not stoop to your level. I live up against the Rockies in CO, so don't give me BS about where you hunt being "scary"...We all hunt bad weather, but if visibility is so poor you can't identify something at 25 yards with binocs then it clearly isn't safe to be shooting. One of the most basic safety rules of shooting is to identify your target AND what is behind it. If you can not do that you should not be taking a shot, PERIOD. You are simply still trying to make excuses for your failure to POSITIVELY IDENTIFY your target. Thank god you aren't in the woods around me.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I think the lack of sympathy you're garnering, Mr. Donahue, comes from statements like this one that you made: "but he was at least 50% responsible at that moment, and still 100% responsible for his own safety. Stupid is as stupid does."

If you'd shot that guy, 100% of the blame would have been yours. None on him. The only stupidity involved is in trying to find some "comfort zone" for yourself in an event that almost led to you shooting a person.

Sure I can imagine circumstances where a person can't be blamed. If some idiot were to dress up in a deer costume during deer season and walk around on all fours like a deer, well... and then of course there's camoflage clothing -- designed to make people invisible to other people. If you're actively TRYING to not be observed by people, not being seen is your own fault.

I agree with you about Blaze Orange 100%. But Blaze is basically a hunter culture thing. And judging by the people in the field, it's not very fashionable these days. So most hikers out and about in the fall aren't going to be aware of the need for or existence of blaze. And most hunters out and about in the fall are foolishly dolled up in the latest camo fashions.

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from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

If Co is your "old haunt" as you claim, then you would know its far from open country. You seem to think you are the only one who has been to or hunted the NW. Where you are is no excuse for not identifying your target anyways, which you did not do. How can you possibly claim to have positively identified your target as a bear when it was in fact a human? What feature did you POSITIVELY identify as being a bear? So far all you have said was black, and bent over as if foraging. Doesn't sound anywhere near a positive ID to me. As for your rant about the person being an illegal immigrant...You know nothing for sure since you said you snuck away without speaking to the man, and even if he were an illegal you are really trying to say that would justify you shooting him? That is pretty sickening. I am against illegal immigration as much as the next guy, but I don't believe it should be punished by being shot by a hunter in the woods. A big part of the negative responses you have received is the way in which you talk to people, not just your story alone. A little respect goes a long way, even on an internet board. Here's hoping you don't draw a tag here next year.

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

"thought he saw a bear moving in the brush"

oh. boy. guess we're shooting first, asking questions later.

a story like this is going to feed the anti-Sunday Hunting folk here in PA.

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

These are the "Accidents" that are completely avoidable.

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from Steward wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

"Stupid!" is the best commentary.

I checked the source story. Collier is not a good hunter and is not an ethical sportsman, so it is no wonder he would (apparently) shoot into the brush at an object he has not positively identified.

It is also stupid to stroll through private property without permission, though I'm sure Ochoa and his friend had no idea someone was hunting or how dangerous their route was.

"Stupid,stupid,stupid."

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from Kyle VanBritson wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm 17, this is my second year hunting and I know better than to shoot at an object untill I have identified what species it is and what sex it is(especially when deciphering a jake and a hen).

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Well I hope SARGE1 has a comment for this one, as I am interested in how he would treat this tragedy ? A 10 yr old is told to shoot again and kills grandfather, S1 says the boy having to live with it is punishment enough.
67 yr old man(not NUGENT 62yr)shoots Marine Reservist(trespasser)claiming he saw a bear ? How should this be treated, I am curious as this was no accident. He will also have to live with this the rest of his life. I have seen game wardens treat the same three infractions three different ways(killing,not human). We have manslaughter minimum, up to aggravated manslaughter(PA) and second degree murder(CA). There was a turkey hunter on the E.coast blasted by another hunter and the shooter rendered aid and the person shot could not file charges of negligence against him because of the law at the time(absolved him completely). The disfigured blind hunter went to the state capital and had that law changed. Rendering aid no longer abditcates you from your responsibilities.
Please identify your target before you raise your weapon.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Agree with all about blaze orange. The only circumstance I can see acquitting a hunter is if he shot at a game animal, missed, and hit someone behind the animal if that someone is all in camo.

Camo is a fashion statement. Its only purpose is to conceal you from other people.

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from Basheer Benhalim wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

There is just no excuse for shooting at the brush, I am sure this guy feels terrible for what happened but you know who feels worse. The family of the man who is dead. I hope this is a clear warning to all the people who think taking a "sound" shot is a smart thing to do.

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from shane wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Thought he saw a bear? The horrific nature of killing someone for no good reason goes without saying, but it's already despicable to just blindly shoot like that, even if you know it's a game animal.

If you're not even noticing that the bear isn't a human, how in the hell are you supposed to be making a decent, clean kill shot in the vitals?

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from mesarich wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

You just do not shoot at anything until you KNOW what it is. Then you should also know what is behind it, to be completely safe. No excuse for this. Feeling bad will not bring anyone back from the dead.

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from Ol Krusty wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

It seems that our society is shoot first ask questions later. If your in bear country and paranoid as hell about being there, you shouldnt be there. Pick up a different hobby like basket weaving and leave the woods to others with calmer nerves.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

i never understood the whole, "i heard something and it had to be a deer", or the "i just saw something brown and shot" argument. you have to identify what your shooting at before you pull that trigger. i attribute 99% of these to people getting buck fever. think that animal your after is in the brush and you just blind fire due to adrenaline rush. tisk tisk, no reason for it. in defense of the shooter (even though there is really nothing to defend), guy shouldnt have been trespassing. no human life is worth an animal.

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from GERG wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

It blows my mind that there is a discussion about this? You never ever pull the trigger unless you are absolutely positively sure of your intented target. There are very few hunting accidents. This aint one of them. Tragic yes, accident no.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I will try one more time to set the record straight and reach your tunnel vision outlook. I said that I investigated over 80 negligent shootings, I didn't say I investigated 80 fatal negligent shootings. That being said I contacted the State office from which I retired and received the stats for the last five years.
2006-27
2007-33
2008-28
2008-25
2010-28 141 hunting incidents for the last 5 years.
Included in the 141 were heart attacks, treestand falls, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, self inflicted wounds, slipping and falling, crossing fences with loaded firearm, etc.
There were approximately 58 2 party negligent shootings in that 141 hunting incidents over the last 5 years.
At this rate it wasn't hard for me to investigate 80 negligent shootings in a 5 county area in 35+ years. I hope this clears up the confusion that you seem to have.
Mike, You mentioned about dressing like a deer. I had one just about as bad. Two guys went into the woods together to hunt. One of the guys killed a 6 point buck and was carrying it on his back in thick brush. He was wearing complete camo. His buddy shot and killed him at a distance of 60 yards with a 9 power scope. I charged and convicted him with negligent shooting of a human being. We have a law that says you can't shoot at game unless it is plainly visible. If he had let the guy take 10 more steps he would have been in the wide open. Another thing. The deer's head was hanging down, and dead deer and live deer look a whole lot different to me.

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from sambo wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago
from MJC wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Yet another example of why I wear orange in the woods, even when I'm not hunting but somebody else might be. Especially if the somebody else shoots at brush.

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from pbshooter1217 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Don't get me wrong, the shooter should of made sure of what he was shooting, but it sounds like the victim was trespassing. You always need to have orange on when walking through the woods.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Thanks Sarge01

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

dtownley,
67 year old man, even on his own property, in WV gets charged with negligent shooting of human being for shooting Marine Reservist. The only problem in WV is the penalty. The maximum is $1000.00 and 1 year in jail and most magistrates don't give people the jail time. Not nearly enough for killing a human being. Loss of hunting privileges for 5 years which amounts to very little.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sarge01, that is quite a scale for Miss Justice to wield

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sarge01, that is quite a scale for Miss Justice to wield

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sarge01, that is quite a scale for Miss Justice to wield

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from troyalexander508 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

This happened on a less severe level in my town. Last year a kid at my school was on a run training for cross country and got hit by a hunter. He took a few pellets from a shotgun through the leg, it was recoil from something the man shot at. I guess mistakes happen, but something like this just seems to be a little rediculous

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Can you imagin how the guy feels with his grand kid out there finding out he shot a person. All because he didn't make a positive ID on his target.

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from joaxe wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

So much for PA getting Sunday Hunting approved...

This is a sad example of one of the main topics against Sunday Hunting in PA in the 3rd and final PA House meeting on House Bill 1760 this past Thursday morning.

Idiots, like the shooter in the story above, become the poster children for all anti-hunting groups and legislature that wishes to curtail or completely eliminate our hunting heritage in this country .

Then again...what were "hikers" doing on private property anyway?!?! Private property is just that...private. Posted or not, you are not the one paying taxes on it and, unless you have written permission, do NOT belong on the land - for any reason.

Prayers go out for the young man and his family...

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from Fat guy Aaron wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

sounds like he just wanted him off his property

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from robert cota wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Just a sad day for all and the sport in general. Make me sick. No reason for it!

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from Egg wrote 2 years 22 weeks ago

Intentionally pulling that trigger was criminal. Period. Not an accident, rather, negligent homicide at the least.

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from IowaGuy wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

No excuse, he pulled the trigger not knowing for sure what he was shooting at. Trespassing is not relevant.

The paper says guy has had at least 3 violations of game laws in the past, sounds reckless.

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20111026/NEWS/110260422/Hunter-s...

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from Bioguy01 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

And this is why one of the 10 rules of firearms safety is: Positively identify your target and what is beyond.

Tom Donohue - "gun up, safeties off, i waited for the critter to take one more step forward to clear a small fir. "

You didn't properly identify your target before raising the gun and taking the safety off. It's good that you identified your target before pulling the trigger, but positively identifying your target from a distance with binoculars would have been the preferred action.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Here are the stats for michigan:
2007 - 32 incidents, 2 fatal 14 self inflicted/
2008 - 22 2 8.
2009 - 18 2 9.
2010 - 14 3 7.
The latest for Washington state
2005 - 13 4
2006 - 7 1
2007 - 11 1

These 2 states have large hunter numbers. Mich has to be No:1 in the land. 650,000+ per annum easy. Wash in 07 sold 307,000+ licenses. As you can see over a 7 year period there was only 15 fatalities between these 2 heavily hunted states. Just by extrapolation you couldnt get to 80 fatalities from hunting in 10 years nationwide.
More hunters die every year just getting to and from the field by transport than by misadventure afield.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

i was trying to keep it just to fatals. most of the minor incidents are self inflicted. heart attacks-really!

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I wasnt in search of sympathy. In keeping with the flavor of the original posting i was showing how easy it can be to make a mistake in the field even for those of us old hands, and to give those here something to ponder.
To rangerdans; dude, way to show major restraint, i would have kicked that kids butt into the next county. good story. Be safe out there.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

To Bioguy, i guess you folks arent really reading the story.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Hey Sarge. I am an experienced hunter. as i noted the conditions that day were awful. Rain, mist, clouds to ground level (3400ft elev in the Pacific NW in late Oct says it all) reprod timber etc. the picker dressed in black hoodie pulled over his head bent over working the ground looks just like a bear under those conditions. While i agree that it is the hunters responsibilty to positively identify the prey, under those conditions i was 100% sure of what i was seeing. as noted i stalked in an additional 25 yards and reconfirmed under the binos
, 8x40 nikons, again! Just how damn close do others get to bears before they shoot? My point is if its hunting sseason and you want to be in the woods, blaze orange is cheap insurance to save your life. You have to take individual responsibility for your safety, you cannot place the entire burden on others. You have a DUTY to ensure your own wellbeing and that of others, its not a oneway street. Why dont we just drive in the left hand lane and then blame the other guy for causing the accident? i did not entirely blame the picker for almost being killed, but he was at least 50% responsible at that moment, and still 100% responsible for his own safety. Stupid is as stupid does. And i for one am not gonna take the hit for someone elses misbehavior. I think you should reread my post. Really you investigated 80 negligent hunting shootings? There probably isnt 80 such events over a 10 year period in the entire US. No offense but its pretty rare. Some years it never even happens.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Dear dtbc333
WOW i guess we all have to stay home now or at the bar playing buck hunter until weather conditions improve. ok everyone out of the woods NOW! Its not safe for you or others so GET OUT! Once again we have a commenter who does not comprehend what hes reading. We all cant be hunting on the wide open prarie. some of us actually go into the deep dark woods; weather not withstanding. I get the feeling that where i like to hunt would scare the beejeebers out of most.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Thx sarge you make my point exactly. The wearing of blaze has saved a lot of lives. You know your not gonna mistake a hunter or anyone else in the woods in blaze for an animal. Ill still bet the claim still stands tho. There like as not hasnt been 80 misadventures during hunting season in the last ten years US wide. i gotta believe that if your state had had 70 shootings in one hunting season your governor would have shut that and the next season down. The wild west was never that bloody.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I really dont understand why my story is receiving negative posts. Do you not understand the story and arguement and are you not thinking about them. Just curious.

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

Hey your prophetic, ill be in CO, my olde haunt, next year for elk and muleys i look forward to seeing you(+).
I understand that it is difficult for open country hunters to appreciate just how thick it is here in the NW. even in good weather its challenging to the psyche.
Now, i had positively identified my quarry. Our gaurdian angels saved the day however. Heres another dimension to the story.. I know for 100% certainty that the picker was an illegal alien, working illegally doing a job an american wont do (right) not paying taxes, using social support services at whim, sending all his money back to wherever, no insurance, driving illegally, probably voting tho, criminal. Me, a natural born US citizen, family man, productive high taxpaying veteran, doing my best to support the government class at the expense of my own retirement, your average 53%, engaging in a legal activity for which i am charged handsomely. If i had shot the picker, here illegaly, should i report it? Well? What would you do and why?

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from tom donohue wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

THE DAY I ALMOST SHOT A MAN. It was a cold rainy day for deer hunting up near indian heaven wilderness in the cascades of sw washington. here youre often hunting in the clouds as well as thick timber and reprods. i was still hunting when i spotted a bear doing what bears do this time of year. they are cruising the forest looking for that last bit of protein with their noses to the ground turning over logs looking for tasty bits. i spotted him about fifty yards away and confirmed it with my binos. i needed to get a lot closer for a shot due to the thick cover. i slowly worked my way in to within the 25 yard line and decided i could make the kill. gun up, safeties off, i waited for the critter to take one more step forward to clear a small fir. imagine my surprise when bruin stood up and stretched his back out. i had put the sneak on a mexican bear grass picker. this guy was completely dressed in dark colors wearing a black hoody pulled down over his head to stay warm and keep the rain off. not one piece of blaze on him. i just slowly walked off behind him. he never knew i was there. im sorry but after sept 1st till new years if your out recreating in the woods you best have some blaze on. its cheap insurance and i personaaly feel that it is irresponsible for the outdoor rec industry not to be proactive in educating the urban rubes about this precaution. also have you noticed that almost all their gear and clothing is dark colored, from their parkas and hats to packs? as far as im concerned if your hiking or picking or hunting in the fall and you get shot because you were missidentified to due not obviously being a human. then you assume 50% of the blame just for being stupid. and i gotta tell you if i should happen to shoot some poor soul and they are looking like my prey; well im not going to be crying about it.

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