The story about the waterfowl hunters brought up a tough memory for me, actually a few.
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, but what you'll see is a miracle...a miracle that someone wasn't killed
Wow. Were you able to get a game warden out there?
Had a similar situation back in the late 90’s. Guy was hunting turkeys in full camo with his son. Son had a shotgun, he had a .270. Birds were between us and them, no clue either party was there the dad took a shot at the flock from about 100 yds. We freaked out and started screaming until we located them. I was livid, I was hunting with friends on their ground. We approached the individuals and found out it was a neighbor of my friend... I ripped them a new one. I can’t even remember what I said, but I was wanting to call the game warden. My friend didn’t.
I was never invited back to go on another hunt with them.
A second time I was hunting turkeys with my cousin and twice we heard something hit the trees. Sounded like someone was hitting them with a baseball bat. On the second crack, it seemed like several seconds, we heard the report of a rifle... very faint. We high tailed it out of there... the culprit? A bunch of college kids sighting in their muzzleloader about 3/4 mile away... across the highway! I ripped them a new one as well. They said they couldn’t get it on paper?? I still have no idea how they were zeroing that thing. The math doesn’t really add up and I’m not sure how far you can adjust elevation before it bottoms out, but to say they were SEVERAL clicks too high is an understatement.
I told Mike and Gabe to stay put, and ran down to get his tag number while calling 911. His son and another adult were set up with decoys down by the trucks. Took a couple pictures of his truck/tag before they reached the "get away". I told him to stay and wait for the GW, but instead they took off spinning tires and throwing gravel.
Tracy took our statements later that day, in person, and started the case. If you watch closely you can see the bullet from his rifle hit my Jake decoy. So...1. Shooting at what he thought was a turkey with a rifle. 2. Shooting over the heads of Mike & Gabe. 3. Youth Season, he certainly doesn't fall into that category.
He knew exactly what he was doing. He saw my decoys, they're DSD's and look very realistic, especially at a high rate of speed from the road. He heard the Tom's sounding off behind us and, in my mind, he had a plan. He'd sneak up to the birds...shoot one with his rifle(22cal)...drag it back and have his son tag it...you know, just like every good dad.
I still don't remember turning on the GoPro out in the decoys, didn't even know I had the footage until late that night. You couldn't ask for better evidence, but the case never went to court...thrown out by the BU County DA because "he wasn't shooting at a live animal".
It's just another example of our broken system, there are similar court challenges with the other incident that took place last Spring. Both Mike and I placed several calls to the DA and her attorneys, she even told me that her's was a "hunting family". Tracy did a great job presenting the evidence, he worked many hours on this case...all seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
Several years back, my wife & I were set up on our land, and had a bird working into the dekes. My wife has a bad habit of readjusting her grip on the slide of her shotgun before she gets ready to shoot. The Tom saw a bit of movement, a shied away, but started circling back around towards the dekes again a few minutes later, after some more coaxing from my calls. The Tom is almost in range again, when all of a sudden, a shotgun blast rings out, and we can hear the pattern pepper the brush within a few feet of us. The Tom folded at the shot, and a guy comes running to grab the bird that’s flopping on the ground. I jumped up, got my wife’s shotgun from her, and confronted the kid. He was just as surprised to see me, as we were to almost be shot.
After some major ass chewing, I asked him if he thought he had permission to be in here, and he told me “yes”. I asked who he had permission from. He told me “Westrum’s” which is my last name. I asked which one and he told me the name of the owner of the neighboring property, which happens to be a relative of mine. The problem was, he was 250-300 yards over the property line from where he was supposed to be. From his reaction, I believe he thought he was on property that he had permission to be on. After a bit more of a lecture, I told him to take the bird and go, and that he’d better damn sure know where he’s at next time.......He’s extremely fortunate that I kept my wife at bay from him! :-(
My heart skipped a beat for sure. Good on you for not running over there and thumping his ass. Probably would’ve been my first notion... I’d post that on KSH&F with his name and all. Let the keyboard cops tear him up. But then that probably wouldn’t do any good either. Eff that guy.
Nobody I know can make any sense of her ruling, and I've shared the video privately with many folks. I finally decided to show it here, not sure anything will come of it but I do know for a fact that several of the wardens follow this site.
Kaleb, I was booted off that page within a couple hours(you might have a guess as to why ;)
The shooters name is Benjamin Murray, I believe he has a Locksmith service. Cheryl Pierce(Chief Assistant County Attorney), made the "ruling" not to try case from what I can tell.
The Judges and DA's in our state are a large part of why poaching remains an issue, they simply have no idea how big of an issue it is. Many will tell you straight up (personal experience speaking here) that they still believe poachers and illegal hunters do it out of the need to feed their families. Sentences are light, fines and restitution are also low, by statute, which need to be revisited and updated. Many DA's will not pursue/prosecute game violations in a trial, offer plea bargains with reduced sentences to avoid the expense of a trial. Sadly the only time they are interested is when someone gets physically hurt, or one of their friends loses a trophy deer off their property to a poacher.
As a dad with young kids, that is one of the scariest things I have ever seen (I was a cop for 10 years). To think of how close that man was to having his son shot right next to him or vice versa. I love public areas but I will not turkey hunt public and after watching this I will never take my kids turkey hunting on public ground. It is ridiculous that this guy was not prosecuted for his obvious violations.
This is why I use a popup blind in the middle of a field. Less ticks and poison ivy is a huge plus but it's also a safety thing. I was setting up early for a morning hunt when I saw "John Smith from Alabama" crossing my field to poach my roosted birds. I called the sheriff and game warden and wrote a statement. Nothing happened and as it turned out, "John Smith" was from Arkansas. Here are pics of him and the son who was in training--it's okay to go wherever you want in the name of killing a turkey.
I wonder if there was a solid push from sportsmen to campaign for (and elect) Judges/DA's that would further pursue crimes like this... if the sitting officials would change their views? For a long time I've thought our GW's were spread too thin and not backed enough to do their jobs properly. Some support from the upper levels would probably be nice.
The hardest thing for me to watch is the few seconds between me/us seeing him and the shot. I just couldn't put "two and two" together fast enough to figure out what exactly he was doing, or what was happening right in front of me.
Mike and Gabe heard the bullet whiz over their heads, and Mike thought he heard it hit a leaf right above his head. I still have a really hard time dealing with the fact that I put them in this position. Have plenty of private ground to hunt, but I knew those birds were there and I hadn't seen anyone else around/scouting the afternoon/evening before.
You can see Mike's hand on his pistol after the shot, and for the entirety of the time the shooter was moving back to his truck. The guy immediately realized what he had done, and he did apologize several times while being called out...but, it should have never happened.
Like everyone said, you showed some real restraint. That bad situation could have gotten a lot worse with a lost temper. Crazy the guy couldn't tell the difference in a decoy and real bird when he was close enough to think he would kill it with a .22. Sorry you had to deal with that especially since you handled it the right way and the justice system failed.
Wow that was scary...the height angle from where he shot it had to be pretty close. I’m glad you shared this and hope a lot of people see this. It could end up saving some lives in the future. I for one wonder sometimes how things like this happen but this video shows how easy it could turn bad very quickly. Thought about going up there this spring and this is definitely going to make me a little more careful. Yeah that guy should have at least had the heart to stay around and take his punishment from the Warden.
Yeah Kyle I give you credit for the way you handled it. Glad no one got hurt but, what’s stopping this idiot from doing it again when nothing happened to him. The biggest crime here is the guy not being charged.
Bad memories here, but maybe just maybe some good comes of it by making someone think twice from doing something so stupid. Thankful nothing worse happened.
What's sad is this guy gets off free for essentially being too stupid to shoot a real turkey. Only a true poaching act, or someone actually getting shot lands any real charges from the prosecutor. Thats what the Attorney basically told me. Even then history shows these guys walk free.
He used an illegal weapon for a turkey, attempted to poach a turkey during a youth only season, put lives at risk, and was a horrible example for his nearby kid.
I just took too long to process what was going on. In hindsight, I as a father feel like I should have had this guy staring down the business end of my .45. for what happened. Can't say it was restraint, just not knowing how to react really. The dude deserved an ass kicking for sure on top of some legal action.
Apparently he moved out of state so hopefully not an issue for us locals anymore. But yeah, if you know him, Benjamin Murray, give him your worst.
It would be hard to not take that rifle from the guy and butt stroke him across the face with it. Total horse shit that he wasn't charged and convicted. You handled it perfectly. I don't know if I would have. I looked him up. Only found his business pages. https://www.benslocksmith24hourservice.com/?fbclid=IwAR0BZTIi7ODcbrIiXFRXnisVk2tk7ynO9isbX90LfI2giHwlByVs5ZFueGo https://www.facebook.com/BensLocksmith24Hour/
I’ve watched this 10 times... you are right, it’s a miracle no one was killed. That bullet had to be inches above their head.
Hindsight is always 20/20 in these types of situations... I wouldn’t second guess what you did. You did the right thing calling the authorities and trying to pursue legal action. The system flat failed.
If you had approached him or threatened bodily harm (he deserved an @$$ beating) there’s no telling how that would have went down.
I know zero about legal proceedings, but if this catches enough head of steam on social media can it be looked at again?
I remember when you called me on it later that morning, and having to literally pull over on Highway 59 so I could ask you to repeat it. It was that hard to believe. Never thought you'd have any problems with that kind of evidence.
Cowboy- trespass charges are almost impossible to get to stick these days. A good friend has outstanding trail cam pics of a Missouri father/son taking a side-by-side well into his property to steal shed antlers. CA said no charges because there weren't "No trespassing" signs directly on that trail, though the exterior of the property is very well marked.
IMO this video should be used across the nation as a hunter education teaching tool.
Kyle you did EXACTLY what I would have done in that situation. I would have remained silent trying to figure out what was going on. But it was the wrong reaction. It made me realize that if you witness someone with a gun while being somewhat concealed you have to get vocal immediately. God only knows what is going on in the other persons head or what their intentions are.
Was it me or did he have a North Eastern accent? Like New Jersey or New Hampshire?
There is another Hunter Ed teaching moment in this precise situation that should be highlighted and noted. It could have easily been second nature to wave your arms to try to get the shooters attention that others are in the area and or to stop....and that could have resulted in getting shot. Like the hunters in this video did.....only use your voice to initially alert the shooter or hunter that you are already in the area.
"I would of flat out kicked his ass right than and there!! Shawn"
Of course you would have. Are you still using a chainsaw to trim your toe nails as Chief would say? Still beating up people not wearing masks?
What Kyle did was exactly what you should do with the exception of not making it known they were there with his voice. Again, I would have done EXACTLY what Kyle did but now after watching the event and knowing what transpired in the future I am going to get vocal.
In terms of beating him up(which he needed) bad idea. You got guns involved and who knows what you are dealing with. Kyle left distance between himself and the turd took action in the form of getting evidence without confrontation. Kyle, I am proud of the way you handled the transaction:^) True sportsman with a "touch" of class. Just a touch nothing more:^)
Ok, that made me "L"! You should all know that I do want him to "FEEL" it, just not sure how to make that happen at this point. Part of me said not to mention his name or the Attorney, but I'm having a hard time letting it go.
I witnessed a friend of mine, back when we were in our 20's, attempt to "kick a guys ass" that was stealing his spare tire. The thief was literally under his truck. He ran ahead of me and kicked the guy in the legs, and yelled "get up MF'er!" Well, the guy did just that. Then he proceeded to hit my buddy with a couple left/right combinations and knocked my buddy out before I could even get to the skirmish. Be careful when you say... "I would kick his ass." :)
Keep at it. I showed this to 3 Wardens from other states and they were absolutely dumbfounded that the DA did not act on this. Maybe talk to the DA in person with the video and bring up the Beau Arndt tragedy? This easily could have gone that way.
Wow! Great job in keeping your cool Kyle. That situation not only replicates a similar story that didn't end so well, but the video tells the story and this just makes me sick that there was no punishment for the individual. This just shows you how wardens can lose the drive when they have no teeth or backing in court.
Tom, thanks for sharing it with others! I appreciate anyone pushing this "up" the line. I did speak with Mrs. Pierce, as did Mike, she has seen the video and she knows that I guided for the Beau Arndt Foundation for several years...it didn't seem to matter.
I have actually had 3 people close to me shot in my life, 2 in hunting accidents and one in an in home accident. So say what ya want I would no doubt of kicked his ass right than and there. Until you have been in my shoes, keep your mouth shut!! I have seen how these things are handled by the law and most times its BS!! Shawn
Eye roll inserted here......Yes Shawn you have had such a hard life with gun shooting deaths and the Covid crisis. You seem to be an expert in all fields. You're defiantly a real bad ass. I can tell by the way you type a sentence. I will be careful not to bring up any subjects that will offend you in the future. I know how sensitive you can get.
Maybe I got this all wrong? I have assumed you are a guy but the way you act leads me to believe a woman. And with a name like Shawn one never knows.
Attempting to physically remove a trespasser is usually illegal, and I say this because courts and jury's could easily look upon the act as assault, unless you are attempting to protect persons or property from injury and/or theft. Attempting to detain a trespasser could be looked upon as kidnapping, I know it sounds crazy, but holding someone against their will IS kidnapping. Believe me, you never know how a jury will look at a situation. Even if the "LANDOWNER" was doing so only until police arrive. Emphasis on LANDOWNER. Kyle not being the LANDOWNER, acted perfectly in this particular situation. Now if this trespasser had continued to fire a be aggressive after knowing others were in the area, puts a different light on actions that Kyle or any of the other two hunters could have taken. Judges, and lawyers can sure put spins on facts that make jury's scratch their head. AND,, remember Kyle and party were on public grounds.
If you seek out a confrontation (outside of your own “castle”), I’m pretty sure that the Other Guy immediately qualifies for Victim status. Either way, seeking out a confrontation with someone who you KNOW has a weapon? How stupid can you get??
I think if i saw some guy sneaking toward me and a deke, a shot-blast straight up would be first choice. To hell with the birds.
Nothing says “Hey, Hunter over here” quite like a 12ga.
I bet you are right about the treestands. I forgot about them. Took my last 3 down this weekend and for the first time I am making sure I am always attached to the tree. Was overly confident in my balance when younger, very stupid of me.
I've seen a few hunting accidents. Several falls from trees, one 12 gauge to the foot point blank, and one arrow fell out of the quiver and the guy ran the broadhead into his thigh. Another a kid ran his skinning knife well into his palm past the skinning hook. All the other gunshot wounds were not hunting related.
Many years Kansas logs up to 5 million hunter days. Average about 1/2 of a fatality yearly, and maybe 10-20 incidents.
Falls usually aren’t reported to law enforcement.
Back in the mid-80s we lost a 12-year-old friend when she was shot in the abdomen with a .22 by her little brother on a rabbit hunt. No adult supervision. No hunter safety. Not sure if their parents knew they were out with guns, or not.