The Associated Press
SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Authorities are investigating after an 18-year-old high school student said she was shot while turkey hunting at a northwest Missouri lake, and the shooter left without helping.
The woman told authorities told authorities she was hunting turkeys at the lake by herself when she was shot. KMBC-TV reports that she yelled for help but the shooter left. The girl was shot in the leg but was able to drive herself to the hospital, where she might need surgery.
For perspective, Native Americans camouflaged themselves with the horns and skins of buffalo to stalk bison. The tactic’s effectiveness was all that was important for Indians hunting to survive.
But modern sportsmen have more to consider.
A decoy company’s video hyping the “scoot & shoot” technique – or “fanning” as some call it – is getting a lot of play on the Internet. Some hunters apparently find no problems with sneaking and hiding behind the fanned-out tail of a realistic gobbler decoy, at least on private land.
The Mojo Outdoors video clips show hunters rising from behind a gobbler decoy’s fanned tail and shooting running toms, sometimes as close as 10 feet or less.
Ethical hunters strive to be undetected so a steady, clean shot can be made at a standing gobbler’s head from a distance optimum for shot placement.
But the video brazenly shows hunters missing turkeys at ranges so close their shot pattern spreads only about 3 inches.
In several cases, the hunters rise from the decoy, spooking the incoming gobblers at close range and then taking running shots, with poor results. Multiple shots are fired and in some cases the fleeing or flying birds must be killed with body shots.
An ethical hunter rarely has to worry about a pellet in the turkey breast he serves at the table. Not so in these cases.
The link for the Mojo Outdoors scoot & shoot decoy video was sent to five people experts in the field of turkey hunting and hunter safety. Following is a summary of their reactions.
• Steve Hall, executive director of the International Hunter Education Association, said a hunter in the field must look at shooting from the offensive perspective – be sure of your target – as well as the defensive.
“Our stance has always been don’t wear anything resembling animals that are being hunted, especially on public land.”
He cites examples of Texas hunters shooting a man in dark clothing after mistaking him for a hog, and the 19-year-old Kansas hunter who was hiding in a goose decoy when he was shot by a drive-by shooter.
Missouri was a leading state in compiling data on causes for turkey hunting accidents, said Hall, who’s been analyzing hunter accident stats for more than three decades. By pointing out dangerous practices – such as wearing red, white or blue colors and sneaking up to the sound of calling turkeys – hunter safety educators have dramatically reduced turkey hunting accidents in the past decade.
“The safe practices we teach are usually borne from empirical data,” Hall said. “In the case of turkey fanning, I must say we haven’t collected any, yet.
“Do I have evidence against it? No. Would I promote it or do it myself? Heck no.”
• Jimmy Parman of Newman Lake, voted Washington’s hunter safety educator of the year in 2013, said he hasn’t directly addressed fanning tactics.
“It never occurred to me that anyone would be dumb enough to do this,” he said. “I’ll be talking about this with my students from now on.”
Defending the tactic as OK in a “safety zone” of private land doesn’t hold water, Parman said:
“Every landowner will tell you he’s dealt with trespassers and poachers.”
• Dave Murphy, veteran Spokane turkey hunter and former Primos pro-staffer, said, “This is new to turkey hunting and I really don’t think those who made up the safety recommendations ever saw this coming.
“What if someone breaking the law was to shoot a rifle, say 200 yards away, at that fan? Do you really want your face right behind it?
“I don’t like the idea at all!” said Murphy, who’s promoted safe use of gobbler decoys and calls. “I have not and will not encourage anyone to do it.
“Put your back to a tree and put your decoy out in front of you. In that way you can hopefully see anyone sneaking in on your decoy and the tree protects your back.”
• Leonard Wolf, local sportsman who hunts mostly on private land, is less judgmental.
“As a seasoned and experienced turkey hunter who regularly takes out novice hunters and spends over 20 days annually in search of long beards, mostly for others as an unpaid guide, I would compare these Mojo products to automobiles and drivers,” he said. “A souped-up sports car in the hands of a skilled driver on an appropriate course could be safe while it would be dangerous on public streets or in the hands of an amateur, he said.
“I would never suggest (scoot &shoot) be used by novice hunters and NEVER on public land!” he said.
“I can see where these decoys might appeal to an inexperienced hunter, and if that were to occur and these decoys were used incorrectly under the wrong conditions, I see no evidence of guilt on the part of the manufacturer, nor would I place any blame on them.”
He points out that beneath the photo of a scoot-n-shoot gobbler decoy with a fully fanned tail and engorged red head, the Mojo Outdoors webpage warns that the product should be used “only in very controlled hunting areas.”
• Tom Hughes, National Wild Turkey Federation assistant vice president and wildlife biologist who’s helped prepare the organization’s safety materials, condemns fanning.
“I consider it an extreme form of stalking turkeys, and we’ve already affirmed that stalking turkeys is unsafe and a bad idea.”
After years of studying data, Hughes said the NWTF had a “strong belief that the traditional method of sitting in place and calling a turkey, moving as needed to new locations, is safer and more successful than sneaking methods.”
His last word on scoot-n-shoot: “I can’t really think of a better way to assure that someone’s going to get shot while turkey hunting.”
[Odd that all the hunters who get killed are always "tremendous" "happy" people, when so many you meet wouldn't fit that description.]
Officials with Kentucky State Police confirm to WKYT that Brian Griffin, [Wait, isn't that the dog from Family Guy?] 28, died from his injuries. Griffin and the other injured hunter were airlifted from the scene to UK Hospital.
The shooting happened in a rural area between Manchester and Fogertown in rural Clay County. Officials have been searching the area where it happened for most of the day with a K-9 unit while friends helped look for Griffin’s keys at the scene.
Police tell us three men were turkey hunting along Highway 638. That’s when their hunting trip was cut short while walking along a ridge line. They were shot by an unknown person, according to Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson. [Maybe it was Miss Kentucky.]
The third man in that group called for help, Johnson said.
“Two of the gentlemen were hit. The third individual was not hit, and he was able to call 911,” said Trooper Lloyd Cochran with Kentucky State Police.
Throughout the day, we’ve learned a bit about the man who was killed, Brian Griffin, from the Clay County High School basketball coach, who once played ball with Griffin.
“Brian’s a great friend of mine,” said Coach Robert Marcum. “He played at Clay County a few years back. And as a basketball coach at Clay County, I always welcome people into the gym that actually wore the Tiger jersey.”
Coach Robert Marcum also tells us he worked alongside Griffin at a prison for a few years as well.
“Just a tremendous person,” Marcum says. “Never heard of anybody saying anything negative about him [except that he hunted]. You know, he’s just so calm natured and just a happy person.”
As for the second victim, a family friend says that man is Jason Roberts of Clay County who was flown to UK Hospital. We have no word on his condition.
As of 11 p.m. on Thursday, state police and Sheriff Johnson were still looking for the shooter responsible for this. The sheriff also wants to clear up a rumor, saying this case is not connected to drug activity in the area. He’s calling this a hunting accident.
[A fresh face, camo, the smell of a bleeding dead bird in the morning--I must be dreaming. Or is it a nightmare?! Wake up Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.]
April 13 By Michael Pearce
CHASE COUNTY — Theresa Vail’s job has included a lot of cameras and fashionable clothing since she won the Miss Kansas crown last year. Friday and Saturday she got a look at a future that will contain more of the same when she reliquishes her crown June 7.
From then on, though, the cameras will be videoing her on hunts and other outdoors passions for “Limitless,” a series she’ll be hosting on the Outdoors Channel next year. The clothing will be mostly camo, made by “She,” a line of women’s outdoors apparel Vail has been hired to promote and help design.
Vail filmed her first episode for the show while at the Governor’s Turkey Hunt in El Dorado. The show was about a Flint Hills turkey hunt with her father, Mark. Both shot nice toms 20 minutes into the hunt Friday morning.
Vail has received attention for openly speaking of her love of hunting, firearms and her career in the Kansas Army National Guard. She gained more national attention when she announced she would not cover her tattoos in the Miss America competition in Atlantic City last September.
Two months later, the 23-year-old chemistry and Chinese major at Kansas State realized that her career goal of becoming a dentist might be put on hold when the Outdoor Channel called to talk about her possibly hosting a series on their network.
“I told them I didn’t want to do what everybody else was doing and they said they didn’t either,” Vail said while taking a break from Friday’s hunt. “We both wanted it to have more than just me on hunts. I was sold from there on.”
She had gotten a taste of outdoors television in late December, when she and cameraman David Blanton met for an archery deer hunt near Pratt. It snowed hard, and the windchill and temperatures were brutal. She got a nice, mature whitetail with her bow. Blanton, Realtree Outdoors host, got a look at someone he thought could easily succeed in the business.
“She just absolutely energized me more than anything. She is an amazing person, really,” Blanton said. “She really wants to teach people they can do things outside their comfort zone, to believe in themselves. They’ll see when the shows begin to air.”
Vail said about half of each segment will be based on hunting, usually with archery gear. The rest will be about a particular personal challenge. To go along with a New Mexico elk hunt she’ll be spending a day training with the state’s Smoke Jumper fire fighters.
“You have 100 pounds of gear on, and you’re running up and down buildings carrying people in a fireman’s carry,” she said. “It’s going to be pretty tough, but I thrive on things like that.”
Another show will have her participating next year in a marathon in New Mexico that honors soldiers from the Bataan Death March in World War II. She recently hosted several pageant contestants at the event, which is held largely across boot-sucking sand dunes. Vail carried 46 pounds in a rucksack to compete in the event’s toughest category.
Vail also wants to be as hands-on as possible in her hunts that will include at least three trips for elk, several for deer and possibly at least one for bear. That means she’ll be insisting on field-dressing and packing out loads of meat, when needed.
Though a longtime hunter, she admits she does have plenty to learn.
“I’m not afraid to say, ‘Hey, I don’t know how to do this,’ but I want to learn and do it myself,” she said. “That’s empowering and more people need to do it. I’ve never (backpacked the meat from an elk down a mountain), but I will learn how and that’s the kind of thing that makes me so proud.”
Friday morning’s hunt with guide Pat Post, her father and two cameramen required some quick thinking.
Post’s scouting had found where a sizable flock of turkeys was roosting in a high-rise of a sycamore over a gorgeous Flint Hills stream. The crew of five moved close to the roost while tom turkeys filled the still air with scores of gobbles.
Four toms strutted toward Post’s decoys shortly after fly-down. A mechanical problem caused Vail’s gun to only “click” when she pulled the trigger. Using the sound of her dad’s shot to cover her noise, she quickly worked the action on the semi-automatic 12 gauge and killed a nice tom five yards away.
Vail has also been hired by Bass Pro Shops for assorted company promotions and work on the She clothing line, which they own. She said she’ll finish the two semesters needed for her college degree online.
She also re-enlisted for another six years in the National Guard. Vail said they’re willing to work with her schedule since she often promotes the military. Her father has had a long career as an Army dentist.
After working with Vail on several projects, the two cameramen in Kansas to film the turkey hunt believe she’ll be able to get done all she’s mentioned, and probably more.
“She’s not afraid of trying anything,” cameraman Casey Keefer said. “There’s nothing timid at all about Theresa. She has so much drive and personality.”
Cameraman Jason Brown agreed, saying, “It’s like the title of her show, ‘Limitless,’ there are no limits in Theresa.”
A police chief of a small Tennessee town shot and killed his lifelong best friend in a hunting accident.
Virgil McNeese was hunting turkey when he fired into bushes where 41-year-old Stanley Whitman was standing.
Father of four Whitman was airlifted to hospital but later died from his injuries.
McNeese has been chief of police for the town of Monteagele in Tennessee since 2006 and is a 19 year veteran on the force.
The two men were hunting in a pasture in Richard City, near the Alabama border, that well known by locals as a prime spot to hunt wild turkeys.
Whitman’s son, who reportedly was on the turkey hunt, ran to a nearby home to get help after the shooting, according to WRCB.
Where it happened: The field where McNeese reportedly shot Whitman dead
‘Our hearts are with the families and everyone affected, it was a terrible thing to see,’ said Adam Higgins, who heard the fatal shot.
‘I was getting ready for work and I heard a gunshot went off. Normally, up here, it wouldn’t be something you’d be concerned about.’
But he said as emergency vehicles arrived he knew something was wrong.
Marion County District Attorney Mike Taylor said it was too early to say whether McNeese could face criminal charges.
Whittman was placed on life support but family members agreed to switch it off after doctors told them he was brain dead.
By Andrew Bottrell / World-Herald News Service
A North Carolina couple who outfitted hunting trips in central Nebraska has been convicted of poaching.
Jason and Britney Edney, of Hendersonville, N.C., will both serve federal probation and pay fines for the offenses after reaching plea deals.
According to a press release from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Monday, with the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, investigators uncovered more than 25 instances of overbagging or hunting turkeys without permits, 29 illegally taken deer, 17 instances of failing to check deer and five small games violations.
The incidents occurred in Frontier, Dawson, Keya Paha and Lincoln Counties.
Jason Edney will be on five years of federal probation, which includes a ban on hunting, fishing and trapping. He will also pay $35,000 in restitution. Britney Edney will serve three years of probation, which includes a ban on hunting, fishing and trapping, with $10,000 in restitution.
Poaching is a violation of the federal Lacey Act, which bans the trade of fish, wildlife and plants that are illegally taken, transported or sold.
Three other people involved – Jay Myers of Alabama, Matt Woods of Alabama, and Greg Voliva of North Carolina – were convicted of misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act and ordered to pay fines and restitution.
The Edneys had been part of a reality TV series that had teams compete through hunting. Several of the illegal hunts were videotaped for the series, and footage was posted online to promote their outfitting business.
Millions of turkeys are horrifically raised and killed as mere tokens, but why?
November 28, 2013 by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. in Animal Emotions
Many of you have heard this question over and over again, “Why kill turkeys to celebrate Thanksgiving?” They say repetition is boring conversation but I feel it’s essential to ask this question repeatedly, because there really
is no reason at all to slaughter and to eat these fascinating sentient beings in the name of a holiday, and turkeys surely are sentient beings (see also). Dr. Ian Duncan, a world-renowned expert on the behavior of food animals notes, based on detailed scientific research, “It is indisputable that poultry are capable of feeling pain. All poultry species are sentient vertebrates and all the available evidence shows that they have a very similar range of feelings as mammalian species. Poultry can suffer by feeling pain, fear, and stress.” More information about the lives of turkeys can be found here.
Turkeys are also very smart and have distinct personalities. People used to write off fish as being unfeeling “lower” animals but we now know, also based on solid scientific research, that they are sentient and feel pain (see also). The more we study other animals the more we learn about how complex their lives are, even for animals previously thought to be unfeeling creatures.
There’s no reason to consume pain and misery: Would you kill and eat your dog?
Holidays should be times for deep reflection. So, please reflect on these facts. More than 45 million turkeys are killed every Thanksgiving. More than 300 million are killed annually. Before they are mercilessly slaughtered individuals are kept in the most inhumane conditions, on the floors of dark, filthy sheds, houses of horrors, where they walk through their own excrement, breathe ammonia-filled air, and are cramped together so tightly they can’t move or get away from one another. As a result there are numerous fights among normally peaceful individuals and they suffer from massive injuries and a wide variety of diseases that humans consume.
Furthermore, when one eats a turkey carcass they are eating a genetically engineered animal and also consuming pain and misery. To keep turkeys from injuring one another their toes and beaks are cut off with hot blades with no anesthetic or analgesic, and when their throat is slit many are still conscious. We know chickens feel empathy and there is every reason to believe that turkeys do too. I know no one would treat their dog like turkeys are treated from birth to their heinous road to death.
There are numerous very tasty non-animal alternatives and even if you don’t think they’re as yummy as a dead bird is it really asking too much to give up something that isn’t a necessary part of your diet? I don’t think so.
Animals shouldn’t be used as token objects of joyous festivities
In order to make changes in the way we live, including who, not what, we eat, we occasionally need to leave our comfort zones. By not turning a blind eye to the incredible suffering that turkeys experience and choosing to forgo eating them, you can add more compassion to the world. You can even adopt a turkey. I urge everyone to try to make this incredibly simple change right now, for this coming holiday and for future celebrations in which animals are consumed as mere token objects of the festivities. I can’t imagine you wouldn’t feel better about yourself. Thank you very much for trying.
Marc Bekoff’s latest books are Jasper’s story: Saving moon bears (with Jill Robinson; see also), Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation
It’s a special morning of a special day, but out in migratory bird habitat there’s a massacre going on. Though nearly every family across the country has a turkey thawing out in preparation for a gluttonous banquet a little later in the day,
recreational meat-pursuers are ringing in the season by blasting away into flocks of wintering geese to make up for the fact that their sacrificial bird-of-the-day came from a grocery store.
Never mind that the poor being was raised in a windowless barn, crowded-in with so many other turkeys that their wings wither away to virtual stumps of appendages, their natural coloration was bred out of them anyway.
Can’t afford your own tormented Thanksgiving turkey this year? Not to worry, chances are some abattoir has donated hundreds of frozen carcasses to your local food bank, in hopes of promoting their own animal industry. Here on the coast, turkeys were donated by a thriving seafood “processing” plant.
Non-human life has very little value in today’s world. Heck, a Montana wolf hunter can go out and mow down a loyal dog walking practically at her beloved master’s side and not face any legal consequences. The value of mass-produced birds is measured by the pound. No charge for their stark white feathers; they come off the body easily and can fetch a penny or so a pound at the pillow factory.
But the mighty hunters out in the tidelands currently shooting up a storm won’t be satisfied until they kill something themselves. There’s nothing like a hands-on blood bath to get you in the mood for a feast, I guess. Some folks haven’t come far from Plymouth Rock; at least they phased out witch burnings.