I posted this on the KS forum, but I'd like as much exposure of this incident as possible. Maybe someone will have advice as to how we can proceed with prosecution, or maybe there's a lawyer that would take up this case? I attached the link here to the discussion on the KS page, many questions were answered in those comments so please read them first if you have time, thanks.
Opening day of Youth Spring Turkey 2020, my buddy Mike and I took his son out for the morning on public ground - El Dorado State Park. I had put these four Tom's to bed the night before, we had visions of a great hunt.
Around 8:30-9am I saw a red truck going down the county road out in front of our decoy set up, at a high rate of speed. Lost sight of the truck right about where we had parked. I'd been calling and had a few answers early but nothing since. All of a sudden I had the group of Tom's firing off 50yds behind us to the SE, and across the creek, they were coming.
As we listened, and awaited their approach, we heard another noise coming down the creek behind us from the N. It's a guy sneaking along with a rifle, he had face paint on and was moving real slow...my initial thought was "Squirrel hunter" and I remember saying it out loud. The bird's went silent, he wasn't after squirrels...
You'll have to forgive the wind noise, and really focus on the area behind us from the beginning to see the poacher's approach. You can see his shot hit the decoy, but what you'll really see is a miracle...a miracle that someone wasn't killed
Adam, a sad story about a kid goose hunting in a field and surrounding by goose decoys. A guy drives past on the county rd, sees the decoys, pokes his rifle out of the drivers side window and shoots. Kills the kid lying down with the decoys. Sad story, bad results for sure. Glad all in your party was ok. What ever happened to the rifle guy.
Paul, I'm very familiar with the incident involving Beau Arndt here in KS(the story you cited). I guided Youth Spring Turkey for the Beau Arndt Foundation for 5yrs, until it was dissolved due to liability Insurance challenges. That guy got a measly one yr for involuntary manslaughter. Beau's folks did part of the safety speech each year, and his mother would tell the story, very hard to watch...salt of the earth family. Kyle
We reported it and had statements taken that morning. The case was dropped by the County because he wasn't shooting at a live animal. If you have time to read the attached link it's all in there. It may be too late, you're right.
Had a similiar thing happen to me a number of years ago. Guy was charged with weapon dangerous to public. The judge threw it our saying that a rifle is not a weapon Huh No wonder people do these things they know they will get off easy !
Obviously, a bit of a stretch (and possibly a waste of your time) , but you could do the same set up this year.....with a camera and a zoom lens (as well as your bows), in case you see the red truck again?
That sucks, don't understand some people. I guess I never will either. Does this guy really need a turkey that bad? Yes, glad no one was hurt.
JohnMC, I agree with you and that's a lame excuse to throw out a case like this. I believe those people shooting decoys with sting operations that game wardens set up are getting fined more for road hunting or shooting from a vehicle, not necessarily shooting at a decoy itself. That said, this guy should have been fined for a number of things he did since it was a youth season and he had a rifle and created an unsafe situation.
The OP explains the camera and gives the poachers name and details in the linked thread. He handled the situation very well and had the fortitude to take the evidence straight to the authorities who should have been responsible to address it.
Thanks Sam, I responded to Rick in a PM but yes, it's a GoPro that I run from my phone. I don't remember hitting record, didn't even know I had the footage until that night when I got home...but glad I did!
Scrappy, I posted his name and the CA that "dismissed" the case on the KS forum thread, I also have a couple pics of his truck/tag. I wanted to post this evidence immediately after the incident, but was advised to wait by the warden handling the case.
Holy crap! I don't know that I could've stayed as calm as you... With a D-bag carrying a rifle and the kids there, your actions were definitely best, but it must have been difficult. And then... for them to dismiss it!! WTF?!?!
I hope you never have a chance encounter with that guy in town.
The warden is as frustrated by this as we are, I can assure you he's done everything he can to see this prosecution through.
There are lots of violations...youth only season so he had no valid tag, rifles are not legal for Turkey in KS, reckless endangerment, etc.
I have a copy of the County Attorneys email to the warden. She's hung up on the fact that he wasn't shooting at a "live animal".
May take/send the video evidence to a local TV station. There was a very similar incident here last Spring but that young man was actually hit with the rifle round. He's ok, and I've spoken with his dad, they're also getting the "run around" from court system(different county).
You might want to give the video to a local TV station to call attention to the fact that the County Attorney’s not taking game laws seriously, even when kids are put at risk. I’d say that’s a betrayal of the public trust and an abrogation of duty. This idiot has zero deterrent for repeated actions.
What a video.. One thing that saved your butt is the fact he was (illegally) using a rifle because it looks like he shot right over your head. If he was using a shotgun you probably would have got some pellets in the back of your head. Not sure what your buddy said to him but for the scumbag to raise his hands up like "what, you want some of this", shows his lack of remorse. If that would have been me that did that, I would throw myself on the ground begging for forgiveness. Was wondering what the guy walking off to the left was saying while pointing something at the scumbag.
You watch that couple get shot this week in Pennsylvania by their neighbor and it will make you rethink being hot headed. You guys did a good job of maintaining composure. I am sure I would have let loose with a loud "WTF!"
Mike I cannot explain her position, nobody including you who have seen her email response see it the same way.
Chuck, I am the "other guy" that was sitting out to the right side there. I told him he shot right over Mike & Gabe's heads, that it wasn't legal for him to be hunting Turkey as it was Youth season, or to be shooting at one with a rifle. When I stopped over there to the left I told him to stay put, I was calling 911 and I remember saying "that's not the way this works". I was headed down to get his tag # as I thought he might leave, and he did, but I got it.
You guys that are talking about how you wouldn't have handled this as cooly and how you would have confrontedthis guy need to think about the situation...no room for big guy actions when there are guns and one is already shown he's not responsible. Like was already said....if you have the stomach watch that PA security video of those 2 people being shot basically execution style over a STUPID argument. It will change you. Yeah they showed their neighbor all right...and now they are both dead. Since there were no casualties I would say this was handled perfectly
All agree Sito handled it right, especially considering the anger in his voice when we talked about it an hour or so later. It was handled well by his friend, Mike, too. Got his son down and protected. Hand on his firearm but not showing it.
Only bad behavior was a book ends of the event - by the poacher and the county attorney.
I'm going to play devil's advocate for a moment. Please don't think I'm defending this a-hole's actions. I'm appalled by them.
But, what could he be actually charged with? He wasn't trespassing. I assume it's not illegal to carry and discharge a firearm on public ground. He didn't actually poach a live animal. He obviously didn't know there were hunters nearby. And nobody was hurt, thank God.
So, he basically shot a decoy. I suppose you could argue that's destruction of private property, but the CA probably wouldn't take that case either. I don't think there's a law against the "intent" to poach.
But I'm certainly no lawyer. I know we have a few attorneys here on BS. Perhaps one of them will chime in.
Matt, obviously you haven't read the posts above. ******""But, what could he be actually charged with?"" JUST A FEW......................... **No hunting turkeys with a center fire, **hunting during youth only season (not general season), **had no legal turkey hunting license.