21 Nov, Georgia: The difference between Deer and Dear can be dear indeed.
Webb mugshot. Facial features: Neanderthal, or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Matt Webb’s girlfriend was going to surprise him — on a hunt. At night. And they were both apparently stoned on something or other. There was just no way this was going to end well.
She was last heard from in critical condition but expected to live. He was last heard from in the booking room. The Times Free Press:
Matthew Tyler Webb was hunting deer Thursday night when he heard rustling and saw movement in the woods. But he didn’t know what it was, any of it, he later told police.
The moving and noise quickly stopped. In the silence, police say, Webb fired his rifle.
Immediately, he heard a scream.
About 15 yards away, across a thicket of briar, Webb found his girlfriend bleeding. He had shot Audrey Mayo in the lower leg.
Ah yeah, the old shot-at-a-sound trick. Along with the hunting-at-night trick, and if you Read The Whole Thing™, the ever-popular hunting under the influence of “several illegal drugs” trick. And yes, Mr Webb is in a spot of trouble. With the law, and presumably, once she’s out of hospital, the girlfriend.
3 November, Oklahoma. The Sasquatch Hunters bag…. something.
Get an eyeful of these three worthies:
OK, here’s the story. The space-alien looking cat on the left went hunting Bigfoot, Sasquatch, whatever, and when things went nonlinear, the other two characters, Creepy Uncle and Toxic Chick, helped him by throwing his gun in a pond… turning an accident the cops were curious about to a crime they had to prosecute.
But then, there’s just not a whole lot of underappreciated genius in this bunch.
The two men were hunting – apparently for Bigfoot – around 177th East Avenue and Tiger Switch Road Saturday night. Omar Pineda [Space Alien] reportedly heard a “barking noise,” jerked and shot his friend in the back, authorities say.
“When you start off with an explanation like that, do you believe anything after that?” [Sheriff Scott] Walton said Sunday morning.
The backshot hunter is going to live, and unlike his pals, he’s not even under arrest. Creepy Uncle (actually Oscar Pineda’s father-in-law, Perry James) is perhaps the most jammed-up of these Three Stooges. The story says that by taking Pineda’s gun for disposal he rendered himself a Felon in Possession. D’oh!
But if trigger-happy Pineda and his hard-of-thinking relatives (Toxic Chick is his wife) bemoan their bad luck now, imagine if they had shot Bigfoot.
First, they might only wound him. Would you want to anger Bigfoot? No way. But worse, they might have killed him… and then they’d really get the book thrown at them.
Cause he’s gotta be an endangered species.
18 Nov., New York. This one’s not funny, just tragic.
A bunch of Long Island buddies who went hunting every year had their hunt turn to nightmare when one of them shot at something — sound, or movement — and killed another.
Charles Bruce, 52, was on an annual hunting trip with friends from the Malverne Fire Department when the tragedy unfolded about 10:20 a.m. Saturday in rural Westford, about 11 miles east of Cooperstown, law enforcement sources said.
“Unfortunately, it was a high-powered rifle. He was dead before he hit the ground,” Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl told The News.
“Charlie had a bad back, so he went back to his room to rest. And when he came back out, one guy saw a tree move and fired,” said a close friend of the victim’s who asked to remain anonymous.
This is often the case with hunting accidents: the victim and shooter are close friends, amplifying the tragedy. Even more often, the shooter fired without having a solid view of the target and backstop. This is a fundamental failure and there’s absolutely no humor in it.
18 Nov. NH has fingers crossed for a safe season.
Source: WMUR-TV Channel 9. Six days into the firearms season, with 60,000 hunters in the field, nobody’s been shot in New Hampshire, to the relief of the Fish and Game Department.
The deer are plentiful despite a series of harsh winters; 11,600 were taken last year and Fish and Game’s Dan Bergeron is cautiously optimistic for nearly 13,000.
If NH makes it to 8 December, we can celebrate a safe season just as those 13,000 or so hunters celebrate a successful one. Young Steven Williamson shows how it’s done with his 10-point whitetail buck (he hunts with his dad, Sean).
8 November 1954. 60 years ago, accidents were routine.
Here’s a chilling story from the mid-Twentieth-Century, that makes us realize how far we’ve come.
During a Maine gunning season something like 165,000 hunters take to the woods. Of this number, a normal season’s accidents will run to 70 dead and wounded. [Inland Fish & Game Dep't Special Investigator Maynard] Marsh’s casualty report this Saturday evening could be succinctly stated as: three Mistaken Identities; two Line of Fires; two Accidental Discharges. Score? five dead, two wounded. Before the Inspector got to take his shoes off Sunday, his dark itinerary included Benton, where a youngster had fatally shot a man collecting firewood near his camp; Wilton, where a hunter had managed to shoot himself while removing a loaded gun from his car; Parlin Pond, where a Norwegian carpenter had mistaken another Norwegian carpenter for a deer and sent a rifle bullet drilling through his abdomen; the town of Alfred, where a hunter had seen, too late, that his “deer” was a Greek restaurant owner stooping over to pat his beagle; Acton, where a father on a late-afternoon stand shot his son who was hurrying along to meet him on a woods road. And nice shooting that last one was: a direct hit through the neck.
O, the humanity.
Lew Dietz, the author of the piece, goes on to note that “Fatals are usually good shooting,” and that Marsh has observed that the veteran hunter is the most dangerous. (This paradoxical conclusion is borne out by mishaps in the parachuting and aviation-safety investigative fields. Complacency is a bigger threat than inexperience, because inexperience often breeds caution.
Marsh also found that the shooters in accidents tended to be average to above-average in intelligence, and to react more quickly than average on visual-perception tests.
Hunters who slew other hunters in what Marsh called “Mistaken Identity” cases often were sure that they saw a deer, even though what they shot was another man.
Why was it that in 219 cases of mistaken identity, 95% of the shooters were familiar with the firearms they were using; 80% were familiar with the country in which they were hunting; 86% had shot deer before and were familiar with deer hunting conditions?
His conclusion: they were so prepared to see deer that anything they saw, filtered through what we now call confirmation bias, was a deer. Bang. You’re dead. And their very experience, familiarity with their guns, and hunting savvy in general added up to very bad outcomes for the people they mistook for Bambi.
Marsh’s recommendation was bright clothing: red, fluorescent red, was 1954′s forerunner of today’s Hunter Orange.
Marsh also had cases, of course, of inexperienced hunters. A bullet that struck his own house was an unusual caliber, .35 Winchester, already discontinued. He knew the caliber — he had an old gun chambered for it, which he hadn’t used in years. He found a dealer who had had a box of shells but they were missing, apparently shoplifted. It turns out the kid with the gun had stolen the shells. And when Marsh checked his gun rack, it turned out the shells weren’t all the youth had shoplifted. (I presume some judge was soon urging him to the colors, in liew of stint in Shawshank).
This is one hell of a good article, and definitely worth Reading The Whole Thing™. If for no other reason than to note that Marsh’s efforts, and those of many others, seem to have paid off: no State in the Union will ever see an investigator called out to five fatal hunting mishaps on a single Saturday again.
And the article made us wonder about something else. Does Sports Illustrated still cover outdoor sports? We thought it was nothing these days but the unseemly worship of uncouth loudmouths who throw balls.