On Wednesday, as that hunter, Robert R. Trundy, 38, of Hebron, made his first court appearance and was charged with manslaughter in the death of Karen Wrentzel, 34, of Hebron, Spofford’s demeanor had changed.
“I am just very, very angry,” Spofford said.
Wrentzel, who underwent surgery to treat cervical cancer in September, had moved into her grandmother’s Hebron mobile home a day before her own death on Oct. 28 in order to heal and help Spofford through the winter.
Spofford said reading an account of the affidavit filed on Tuesday afternoon changed everything. In that document, Maine Game Warden Anthony Gray alleged that Trundy told him he heard someone scream after he fired the shot, and that he hadn’t rendered aid after shooting Wrentzel.
“Robert stated, after he fired his rifle, what he shot at screamed, and he thought to himself deer don’t do that,” Gray states in the affidavit. “Instead of rendering aid to Karen, Robert called his father by phone and told him he, Robert, thought he just shot someone.”
Spofford said reading the affidavit was devastating.
“He heard her scream. He heard her scream,” Spofford said. “And he knew he’d hurt somebody, but he couldn’t go down and call 911 or go down and say, ‘I’m sorry’? Or whatever? I just don’t know.”
When asked by a reporter what went through her head when she saw Trundy enter the courtroom, she struggled to find an answer.
“He took away my granddaughter,” Spofford said before bursting into tears.
Trundy entered no plea and gave single-word answers when questioned by Superior Court Justice Lance Walker at Oxford County Courthouse.
His defense attorney, Scott Lynch, cautioned that affidavits tell only one side in a court case.
“I will provide more information about that as the case goes on, but I’ve been involved with this case for all of 12 hours, so it will take me a bit of time to get up to speed with that,” he said.
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Trundy’s place of business said he would not comment about the case.
The shooting took place on the residents-only opening day of deer hunting season. Wrentzel was not wearing hunter orange clothing — there is no requirement for nonhunters to do so — and was digging for gemstones on a 15-acre parcel that her grandmother had given her.
Wrentzel’s mother, Debbie Morin of Lewiston, said reading about the warden’s allegations in the affidavit was difficult because she and other family members learned details they hadn’t known. Among those allegations: That Trundy never called for help, and no help was summoned until his father, Ralph Trundy, arrived on the scene minutes later.
“There certainly was [surprising information in the affidavit],” Morin said. “That he didn’t call 911. That he did nothing to help her at the end.”
Morin urged media outlets to stop referring to Wrentzel’s death as a “hunting accident.”
“This is not an accidental shooting. He deliberately pulled the trigger,” Morin said.
Jon Spofford, Wrentzel’s uncle, was visibly upset as he walked down the courthouse steps.
“[Reading the affidavit] changed things considerably. In my opinion that was a total disregard for human life,” he said. “If you’re coming onto my property to kill something, and if you mess up, do the right thing. That’s all. Do the right thing, and make an attempt.”
Wrentzel’s brother, Jeremy Wrentzel of Auburn, said he was growing frustrated with some who have begun criticizing his sister for her clothing choices.
“Just because it’s fall and it’s hunting season, the woods do not belong to the hunters. It’s not a person’s responsibility to wear orange or not go into the woods,” he said. “ It’s the hunter’s responsibility not to fire at something unless they know what they’re firing at.”
OR-7, a popularly tracked male gray wolf, wanders in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. A 38-year-old hunter from Clackamas says he was rushed by several wolves before he shot and killed an 83-pound female on Oct. 27. (AP file photo/Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) 6848839
Brian Scott screamed, pointed his .30-06 rifle, saw hair through the scope, and pulled the trigger once.
Scott shot and killed a gray wolf while elk hunting in rural Union County on Oct. 27. The experienced hunter notified state police of the incident and told the responding trooper, Marcus McDowell, a harrowing tale of self-defense.
Authorities agreed and declined to prosecute the wolf killing, the first reported instance of a protected wolf being shot and killed by a hunter who feared for their life.
Scott could not be reached for comment on this story.
The 38-year-old Clackamas resident told McDowell those details on Oct. 27, hours after the shooting. More details emerged Friday one week after the incident.
McDowell determined the bullet entered the animal’s front right side and exited through the left.
In a Thursday press release, the agency said “based upon the available evidence” the hunter acted in self-defense.
According to the three-page police report obtained through a public record request, Scott was hunting last week in the Starkey hunting unit of Union County near La Grande off of a forest service road where he was camping with several other hunters. At about 7:15 a.m., he left to hunt, and a little after leaving camp he saw animals moving around him.
“I could not identify what was moving around me,” he told McDowell. “There are a lot of coyotes out here.”
Scott hiked into a nearby timber stand and sat for 20 or 30 minutes. After leaving the trees and heading into a meadow, he saw to his left what he assumed was a coyote.
“He was running at me, which is very odd,” Scott told the trooper.
A second animal was behind the first.
A third animal “was running directly at me,” Scott said.
“I definitely felt like she had targeted me,” he said, “and was running at me to make contact.”
He told the trooper he feared for his life. “It was unnerving.”
Scott shot the third animal from roughly 27 yards away and watched the other two run into the timber near a forest road.
The other wolves howled, according to the police account.
An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife official, Leonard Erickson, later arrived to the scene and helped recover the animal. One of four additional hunters at the camp transported the wolf, an 83-pound female connected to OR-30.
The pictures and police report paint a different picture, according to wolf advocacy group Oregon Wild.
The animal’s death also comes on the heels of five recent approved wolf shootings in eastern Oregon. It is illegal to kill a wolf unless it’s caught red-handed killing livestock — a rare occurrence that has happened just once in 2016 — or in the event of self-defense. Legally, animals can be killed if they are confirmed to have repeatedly attacked livestock.
Steve Pedery, the nonprofit’s conservation director, said in an email that he’d like to see further investigation of the hunting incident. He’s not convinced the animal was running at the hunter, and questioned why the wounds are on the animal’s side.
“How can a wolf that is moving away from someone be a threat?” Pedery asked, “and why would ODFW sign off on a report that is directly contradicted by the evidence?”
Legal Victory Guarantees Analysis of Wildlife Services’ Killings in Northern California
Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, (415) 690-0338, firstname.lastname@example.org
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, email@example.com Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project, (307) 399-7910, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128, email@example.com
Michelle Lute, WildEarth Guardians, (406) 848-4910, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund, (201) 679-7088, email@example.com
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— In response to a lawsuit filed by wildlife advocacy groups, a San Francisco federal court today approved a settlement requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to implement numerous protections for wildlife in Northern California, including a ban on traps and aerial gunning in designated “wilderness areas.”
Today’s settlement also requires Wildlife Services to analyze the environmental impacts of its killing of coyotes, bobcats and other wildlife in 16 counties in Northern California.
The ironically named Wildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that uses painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and aerial gunning to kill wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals — primarily to benefit the agriculture and livestock industries.
“This is a big victory for California wildlife targeted by this federal program’s horrifically destructive war on animals,” said Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney representing the conservation groups involved in the lawsuit. “We’ve saved hundreds of animals that would have suffered and died in traps set by Wildlife Services over the next several years. That feels really good.”
Under the court order approved today, Wildlife Services must provide, by the end of 2023, an “environmental impact statement” that analyzes the effects and risks of its wildlife-killing program in California’s North District. The North District includes Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties.
Pending completion of that study, which will include robust public commenting opportunities, the court order imposes several measures to protect wildlife in the North District. It bans the use of M-44 cyanide devices, den fumigants and lead ammunition. It bans aerial gunning and any use of body-gripping traps, such as strangulation snares and steel-jaw leghold traps, in designated wilderness and wilderness study areas. The order also requires Wildlife Services to implement several measures to protect California’s endangered gray wolves from being accidentally killed in traps set for other carnivores. These measures include a ban on Conibear traps and non-breakaway snares in areas used by the wolves.
“Wolves are just starting to return to their native habitats in Northern California, and this settlement provides needed interim protections to protect wolves while a detailed environmental study examines whether lethal wildlife ‘management’ options should even be on the table,” said Kristin Ruether of Western Watersheds Project. “It is long past time that federal agencies stop the killing of native wildlife at the behest of the livestock industry, and ultimately we hope that the added public scrutiny will force a shift to nonlethal options.”
Last year Wildlife Services reported killing 1.6 million native animals nationwide. In California alone this total included 3,893 coyotes, 142 foxes, 83 black bears, 18 bobcats and thousands of other creatures. Nontarget animals — including protected wildlife such as wolves, Pacific fisher and eagles — are at risk from Wildlife Services’ indiscriminate methods.
“For over two decades, Wildlife Services has relied on cruel and outdated methods, such as steel-jaw leghold traps, in California — despite a statewide ban on private use of such devices,” said Tara Zuardo, Animal Welfare Institute wildlife attorney. “Today’s decision from the court ensures the environmental analysis of the program’s killing of wildlife will receive a much-needed update. California wildlife deserves this protection.”
“Wildlife Services’ lethal ‘control’ is ineffective, wasteful and cruel,” said Michelle Lute, wildlife coexistence campaigner for WildEarth Guardians. “We are changing this clandestine government program state-by-state until wildlife and people are safe on our public lands.”
“With this victory for wildlife we have demonstrated that Wildlife Services has failed to use the best available science and continues to rely on ecologically destructive and ethically indefensible management practices,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “It is past time that this rogue agency shifts to more effective, humane, and ecologically sound ways of reducing conflicts between wildlife and agricultural interests.”
“Thousands of California wildlife will now have a much needed reprieve from the federal killing agency,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “This settlement sends the powerful message that Wildlife Services’ indiscriminate killing programs will not go unchallenged.”
The victory announced today is the result of a lawsuit filed in June by the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Project Coyote, the Animal Welfare Institute and WildEarth Guardians.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.
The Animal Welfare Institute (awionline.org) is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere — in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.
Project Coyote is a national nonprofit organization and a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, visitwww.projectcoyote.org.
An Argentinian man has been killed in Namibia after he was trampled by an elephant, local media report. The Namibia Press Agency said the hunter, identified as 46-year-old Jose Monzalvez, was killed on Saturday afternoon in a private wildlife area 70…
A Flomaton man who told authorities he was trying to shoot a deer when he shot and killed a woman last December has been indicted for murder by a grand jury.
Shannon Bell, age 31 of Upper Creek Road, was taken into custody following the indictment by the Escambia County (AL) Sheriff’s Office for the death of 36-year old Donna L. Martin.
About 6:30 Friday night, authorities received a call about a gunshot victim near the Pollard Boat Landing. The caller was experiencing problems with his phone connection, but was eventually able to relay that he wanted medical units to meet him at the intersection of Foshee Road and Highway 31. First responders arrived to find Martin suffering from a gunshot wound to her side. She was transported to D.W. McMillan Hospital in Brewton where she was later pronounced deceased.
Bell claimed that he was trying to shoot a deer at night and a struggle ensued over the gun. The gun went off killing Martin.
The Escambia County (AL) Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Alabama Game & Fish Division. At the time, Bell was arrested for manslaughter and a night hunting violation. But after further investigation, the charge was upgrade to murder. Bell remains in the Escambia County (AL) Detention Center with bond set at $150,000.
Donald Trump Jr. is the Trump who has not always seemed at ease with being a Trump. He grew up in the penthouse of Trump Tower but was happy to escape the gilded trappings of his Manhattan childhood to spend parts of the summers hunting and fishing with his maternal grandfather in the woods of what was then Czechoslovakia.
After graduating from his father’s alma mater, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he tended bar in Aspen, Colo., rather than immediately join the family business. Several months later, on Feb. 25, 2001, during a Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, he was arrested on charges of public drunkenness and spent 11 hours in jail.
“I think, like anyone else, I made my mistakes,” Mr. Trump said of his arrest. “We have to be honest with ourselves. I’m not good at it, moderation. You have to have the conversation, be a realist, and say, ‘I guess I’m not doing myself any favors.’”
In 2001, Mr. Trump, the eldest of the five children from Donald J. Trump’s three marriages, went to work for the Trump Organization in the same building where he had grown up. He rose to executive vice president, and his status as a family member in good standing was on display when he appeared as a boardroom adviser on “The Apprentice,” the NBC reality show that re-established his father as a celebrity mogul nearly two decades after he had captured the public’s attention with his first best seller, “The Art of the Deal.”
Now Donald Jr., 39, has completed his own apprenticeship.
Since his father was sworn in as president, he and his brother Eric, 33, have taken over management of the Trump Organization, with Donald Jr. overseeing commercial licensing and much of the international business and Eric managing the golf courses, among other duties. Donald Jr. is also a rising figure in Republican politics and a robust defender of the family name. As a public speaker who brings in an estimated $50,000 per speech, he has impressed conservatives with a rough, straightforward manner that belies his cushy upbringing.
Like his father, he uses Twitter to thrash liberals and lend support to those who are friendly to the president’s populist agenda. Given that he is a skilled outdoorsman and a member of the National Rifle Association who owns dozens of firearms, among them a Benelli Super Black Eagle II (for hunting waterfowl) and an AR-platform semiautomatic rifle (for marksmanship competitions), Mr. Trump also connects with heartland voters in a way that his more refined sister Ivanka may not.
While Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have lately elevated their social profile in Washington and Palm Beach, Fla., while keeping close contact with the president, her oldest brother has largely avoided the balls and benefits, preferring to hunker down in Midtown during the workweek and spend weekends in the Catskills with his wife, Vanessa, and their five children.
“Don is the more chill version of any of the kids,” said Dee Dee Sides, who has known him since the early 2000s.
He came into his own as a public figure during the presidential campaign. On the stump he was equally at ease before crowds in both Mississippi and Michigan, and television pundits gushed about his political future after his bluntly effective speech at the Republican National Convention, with some mentioning him as a potential mayoral candidate in New York City.
“I don’t know if I could go all-in at that,” Mr. Trump said of a political career. “There is a part that is incredibly enticing. But it’s not human most of the time.”
Even as he embraces his new status in business and politics, Mr. Trump sounds, at times, as if it is some kind of anomaly.
“If I could miracle myself away,” he said, “I would live out West.”
Into the Woods
Mr. Trump’s friendships are rooted, for the most part, in hunting and fishing, sports that do not appeal to the golf-loving patriarch of the Trump family. He said he decided early on not to measure himself against his father.
“I think people are often surprised, but I never defined myself as, ‘I’m the business guy who has to supersede what my father has done,’” he said. “He’s a totally unique individual. Somehow having to top his accomplishments is never the way I perceived things.”
He developed a distaste for living in public at an early age. In 1990, his father separated from his mother, Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech model and skier, after having an affair with the model and sometime actress Marla Maples. Donald Jr. was 12 at a time when gossip columnists, someencouraged by his father, chronicled the family soap opera. During this time, Donald Jr. did not speak to his father for a year, New York magazine reported in 2004 in an article about the Trump children.
Before the divorce, Mr. Trump found a role model in someone quite different from his father: his maternal grandfather, Milos Zelnicek, an electrician who was an avid outdoorsman. In the summers, he stayed at the Zelniceks’ home in a town near Prague for six to eight weeks at a time, and his grandfather schooled him in camping, fishing, hunting and the Czech language.
“He needed a father figure,” his mother said in a telephone interview. “Donald was not around that much. They would have to go to his office to say hello to him before going to school.”
Mr. Zelnicek, who died in 1990, allowed his grandson a freedom not readily available to a child of Fifth Avenue. As Mr. Trump put it: “He said: ‘There is the woods. See you at dark.’ I think I felt a little trapped in New York City.”
Despite the advantages of wealth, Mr. Trump said his life at home was not always easy. “In our family, if you weren’t competitive you didn’t eat,” he said. “You had to fight for what you wanted.”
His mother recalled walking into the breakfast room one morning and noticing that the chandelier was broken: “Ivanka said it was Don Jr. So I put him over my knee and spanked him. He said, ‘Mom, it wasn’t me!’”
It turned out that Ivanka lied, the former Mrs. Trump said.
The divorce was made final in 1992, and Mr. Trump’s father married Ms. Maples the next year. Donald Jr. went to boarding school, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., where he practiced skeet shooting, and then it was on to Wharton, where he rowed crew and joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. People who knew him then saw him as distinct from his parents.
“He wasn’t into the gold,” said Jennifer Ireland Kubis, a New York real estate agent who dated one of Mr. Trump’s college friends. “He was trying to escape it.”
The young Mr. Trump also earned a reputation for hard partying, which seems to have continued until the Mardi Gras arrest. He no longer drinks, and he has suggested that the discipline of the sporting life kept him from going over the edge: “I know that the benefits I got from being in the woods, from being in a duck blind, from being in a tree stand at 5 o’clock in the morning, kept me out of so much other trouble I would have gotten into in my life,” he said in a speech at a fund-raising banquet for the 2016 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City.
During his first year in the family business, he spent weekends at the Mashomack Preserve Club in Pine Plains, N.Y., where he ran into Gentry Beach, an acquaintance from college who was working at a Manhattan investment firm.
“We loved being outdoors,” said Mr. Beach, who grew up in Dallas.
Mr. Beach, 41, introduced Mr. Trump to Thomas Hicks Jr., 39, a Dallas friend whose father, an equity investor, once owned the Texas Rangers. Through the years, the three have hunted white-tailed deer in Texas, birds in Scotland and pheasant in Hungary.
“For some people — you see that in New York a lot — they go hunting once every other year and they talk about it at a cocktail party for the next two years until they do it again,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “For me, it is the way I choose to live my life.”
Being friends with Donny, as his closest friends call him, can be tricky, given the divisiveness of his father’s politics. Ms. Sides, for one, said she did not discuss politics with her friend. “Our views are different,” she said. “Don has never asked me, and he would not ask.”
It was his father who introduced Mr. Trump to Vanessa Haydon, the woman who would become his wife, at a fashion show in 2003. A onetime model with the Wilhelmina agency who once dated Leonardo DiCaprio, she had grown up on the Upper East Side. At the time of their engagement, Mr. Trump accepted a ring from the Bailey Banks & Biddle jewelry store in Short Hills, N.J., in exchange for publicity, recreating his proposal at its Short Hills Mall location in New Jersey. Soon afterward came an unflattering headline in The New York Post: “Trump Jr. Is the Cheapest Gazillionaire: Heirhead Proposes With Free 100G Ring.” Even his father joined in the criticism, saying on the CNN talk show “Larry King Live,” “You have a name that is hot as a pistol, you have to be very careful with things like this.”
Business and Politics
Although Mr. Trump has been charged with holding down the family business without input from his father — who resigned his position in the company without relinquishing his financial stake — he took advantage of his new standing within the Republican Party to dine last Saturday with a group of political heavyweights that included Senator Ted Cruz of Texas at the annual Reagan Day fund-raising dinner, where he delivered a speech.
He told the crowd that he had had virtually “zero contact” with the president since the election, but added that he had found it difficult to resist the pull of politics. “I thought I was out of politics after Election Day,” he said, adding that he had thought he would “get back to my regular life and my family.
“But I couldn’t,” he said.
Two weeks before the Dallas speech, Mr. Trump found himself in the role of real estate tycoon during a stop in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the opening of a Trump International Hotel and Tower. Although the building unveiled that day was, at 63 stories, the city’s second highest, the city’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, skipped the event after demanding for two years that the Trump name be stripped from the building’s facade.
The president’s son began his talk with a poke at the news media: “I’d like to thank the press,” he said. “Just kidding.” Outside, about 100 protesters waved signs and shouted “Love Trumps Hate.”
To a large degree, his public image has been shaped by photographs that surfaced online in 2012 and re-emerged last year. They were taken during a hunting trip in 2010 arranged by Hunting Legends International, a safari company based in Pretoria, South Africa. A licensed guide accompanied Donald Jr. and Eric, along with a ranger from the Zimbabwe national parks department, who monitored the hunt.
One photograph shows the Trump brothers taking a helicopter to the Matetsi, a region of Zimbabwe abundant with elephants and endangered leopards. Another shows Eric with his arms wrapped around the limp body of a dead leopard. Perhaps most disturbing to nonhunters and to those who do not hunt endangered or vulnerable species was the picture of Donald Jr., knife in one hand, the bloody tail of an elephant in the other.
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Animal rights advocates, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, cried foul after Hunting Legends posted the photos, and a sponsor dropped the show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric appeared on as advisers, along with their father. Donald Jr. took to Twitter to defend himself, writing to one detractor, “I’m not going to run and hide because the PETA crazies don’t like me.”
He argues that the economic benefit of such safaris to African communities is often overlooked. Further, he said, the controversy allowed him to connect with other sportsmen. “There were people who I didn’t know who were hunters,” he said. “And, from that perspective, I get invited a lot.”
What is lost on nonhunters, he said, is the sense of community that is part of hunting trips. “Too much of hunting has turned into the notion of the kill,” he said. “It’s a component, the meat. But so much is experiential, so much is relationships. It is sitting in a duck blind with seven people, cooking breakfast. For me, it’s been a great way to see the world. The least interesting part is the three seconds it takes to pull the trigger.”