Nov 26, 2017 10:32 PM PSTUpdated: Feb 05, 2018 9:34 AM PST
Nov 26, 2017 10:32 PM PSTUpdated: Feb 05, 2018 9:34 AM PST
ANDERSON Co., S.C. (WSPA) — One person is dead in what appears to be a hunting accident in Anderson County.
Authorities received a call around 8:35 p.m. Wednesday about a hog-hunting accident on Gentry Road in Starr, Anderson County Deputy Coroner Charlie Boseman said.
Boseman said it appears a hunter was killed in an accidental shooting.
The victim has been identified as Kenneth Jason Young, 40, of Starr.
Boseman said Young lived on Good Hope Church Road and was hunting in a nearby field. Boseman said a man and woman were also hunting hogs. They were not hunting with Young, nor did they know him, according to Boseman.
He said the woman was using a heat sensor scope and fired a shot – not realizing she was shooting at a person, Boseman said.
It appears Young was kneeling when he was fatally wounded.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and S.C. Department of Natural Resources are investigating the shooting.
Did the above title get it right? Isn’t that the ultimate goal that hundreds of thousands of protesters worldwide were hoping for? Wasn’t ‘Bombs, Bows, Poison and Knives would Leave a Lower Body Count’ the sort of message they were hoping to convey?
If not, I’m not sure I get it. I mean, do these good folks think mass killings will stop the day we take machine guns away from the general public? Would that that were true; the problems of school or workplace or Post Office violence would be a quick fix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no gun-nut, or should I say, ‘shooting sports advocate’. By all means, implement all the gun control measures you think will help.
Unfortunately, the problem goes far deeper than the Sporting Goods section at the local Wal Mart (although that’s a good place to start). As long as people are training their guns on innocent animals, they’ll be potential school shooters. So what’s the answer, ban sport hunting? Perish the thought…
Finally someone’s striking at the root of the problem. In a March 29th article by Kevin Johnson in USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/29/secret-service-mental-illness-stalks-many-suspects-mass-attacks/466251002/?csp=chromepush, entitled, “64% of assailants in mass attacks suffered from symptoms of mental illness, Secret Service report finds” we learn that, “a striking number of suspects linked to violent attacks in schools and other public places last year were stalked by symptoms of mental illness and nearly half were motivated by real or perceived personal grievances, a new Secret Service report has found.” The article goes on, Pakland “school administrators and law enforcement were all warned about Nikolas Cruz’s deteriorating mental state and risk of violence before he allegedly launched the attack that left 17 dead.”
So ban the occasional gun, get the odd kid to a councilor, but as long as we condone unnecessary killing every hunting season, someone’s not going to be safe.
As hundreds of thousands of protesters prepared to gather in Washington and other cities across the U.S. on Saturday to demand meaningful gun reform, the National Rifle Association took to social media to mock the “March For Our Lives” event and the young gun violence survivors who spearheaded it.
The group posted a membership-drive video to Facebook with a scathing caption about the looming protest marches on Saturday morning.
“Today’s protests aren’t spontaneous,” the post declared. “Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones.”
Join the NRA, the group added, to “stand and fight for our kids’ safety.”
The young activists gave eloquent, impassioned speeches at the D.C. event, excoriating lawmakers who have failed to act to reduce gun violence and the NRA for lobbying against sensible gun control legislation.
“If we move on, the NRA and those against us will win,” said 17-year-old survivor Delaney Tarr. “They want us to forget. They want our voices to be silenced. And they want to retreat into the shadows where they can remain unnoticed. They want to be back on top, unquestioned in their corruption, but we cannot and we will not let that happen.”
The clip, which featured NRA TV host “Colion Noir” (a pseudonym for Collins Iyare Idehen Jr.), had first been shared on YouTube on Thursday with the title “A March For Their Lies.”
“From where I’m standing, it looks like a march to burn the Constitution and rewrite the parts that they don’t like in crayon,” Noir said, referring to the young activists leading the rally.
In another NRA TV clip posted Thursday, Noir had harangued the Parkland survivors, saying “no one would know your names” if someone with a gun had stopped the shooting at their school.
“These kids ought to be marching against their own hypocritical belief structures,” Noir said, adding: “The only reason we’ve ever heard of them is because the guns didn’t come soon enough.”
A hunter was charged with animal cruelty last week after authorities said they found a dog caught in a hunting trap near Troutman for what appeared to have been several days.
Iredell County Animal Services responded to the 100 block of Justin Drive, south of Troutman, on Dec. 14. In the woods in that area, the officers found a dog with its foot caught in a coyote trap, according to an investigation report.
The dog “appeared to be emaciated, dehydrated, very weak and in excruciating pain,” the report claimed. Officers estimated the male dog had been stuck in the trap “for several days.”
The trap severed the bones in three of the dog’s toes, which remained attached to the dog by a small piece of skin.
The dog is a large brown and black Akita-shepherd mix.
Animal control officials freed the dog from the trap and brought it to the animal shelter for treatment. According to county spokesman Ben Stikeleather, the dog was adopted by a rescue group and will continue to get medical attention.
Officers found one other trap in the woods, according to the report. Stikeleather said the traps did not meet state regulations.
After an investigation, authorities said they determined that Alex Kraig Cummins, 30, of Carpenter Cabin Drive, Charlotte, was the hunter who set the trap. He had a hunting license, Stikeleather said, but he is accused of not checking the trap every 24 hours as required by law.
“The factors caused suffering for an extended period of time,” Stikeleather said.
On March 12, Cummings was served an arrest warrant for misdemeanor cruelty to animals. He was released on an unsecured $2,500 bond.
While hiking in a canyon near Moab with his teenage owner last month, an Australian/pit bull mix got caught in a beaver trap.
The trap, designed to collapse on the body of the animals it catches, instantly killed the dog.
Investigators with the Division of Wildlife Resources tracked down the owner of the trap, which wasn’t modified to the state’s requirements.
On Feb. 11, the Moab teenager and her dog were hiking in Hunter Canyon, about 8 miles west of town. The dog ran toward a small stream, became ensnared in the trap and fell into the water, according to Wolford.
The trap killed the dog before the teenager had a chance to free her pet.
“Our hearts definitely go out to the young girl here, and her family, because they lost a family member. We understand that and we’re very sorry,” Wolford said.
The box-shaped trap in question — with a roughly 12-inch-square opening — should have been modified to prevent animals that aren’t the trap’s target from triggering it, Wolford said.
The trapper has been charged in Grand County Justice Court with six counts of unlawful methods of trapping, a class B misdemeanor. Three of the counts are for an unmodified trigger on the body-gripping trap. The other three are for having an unmarked trap.
The trapper has entered not guilty pleas and requested a bench trial, which is scheduled for April 11.
“It’s a very rare thing for something like this to happen,” Wolford repeated, adding, “but it does.”
Some 15 years ago, a fly fisherman’s dog was killed in a beaver trap near Kamas, in the Peoa area, he said. That dog and the one in Moab have been the only ones killed by traps “for a long time,” he said.
More common is dogs getting snared, but not seriously hurt, in leg-hold traps — for example, a wire loop that tightens, or the traditional trap with a steel jaw that snaps closed (those are required by law to include a spacer that creates a gap around the animal’s bone).
The traps sting and the dogs whine, but they aren’t permanently hurt, Wolford said, comparing the pain to getting a finger snapped up in a mouse trap.
Dogs are usually rescued, but he has heard stories of dogs getting trapped and then dying from something else, such as starvation or dehydration.
But that shouldn’t happen, Wolford said, because trappers are required to check their traps every 48 hours. Once or twice he has rescued a pet that had gotten stuck after the season ended in an abandoned trap someone forgot about.
Or, he has heard of dogs getting ensnared, then falling into streams and drowning.
Just over six years ago, a Sandy family’s dog drowned in the city’s Creekside Park after a different type of beaver trap snared the animal around the neck. The 4-year-old dog died, according to a 2012 Salt Lake Tribune story.
So far this season, Wolford said, he has freed one or two dogs from traps.
“This year has actually been pretty quiet,” he added.
Not every dog owner calls authorities when their pet gets trapped, if they can work the trap themselves. The DWR doesn’t keep records of how many pets it frees unless the trap was illegal.
But Wolford could say that during some fur trapping seasons, he has freed 10 to 15 dogs.
Between the season’s dates of late September to March or April (depending on the animal), trappers place traps on ledges, near streams and around big rocks and trees, according to Wolford.
There is no state regulation that requires trappers to stay away from hiking trails.
“We try to encourage our trappers to stay away from populated areas … but they don’t always do that. They have free choice to go wherever they’d like to go,” Wolford said. “All we can do is give them suggestions.”
He doesn’t want that to discourage anyone from going outside.
“We live in a great state and have a lot of awesome natural resources right by town,” he said.
Just keep your pets within sight, he added.
“You’ve got the hikers, you’ve got your hunters, you’ve got your trappers, you’ve got your fishermen,” Wolford said. “It’s important to recreate together.”
Shoot Down the CT Bear Trophy Hunt Bill
Friends of Animals is gearing up to kill a bill that would allow black bear hunting in Connecticut for the first time since the 1800s. But what legislators who support the bill, including a committee co-chair with ties to the gun lobby, don’t want you to know is that you should fear hunters, not black bears.
Hunters in CT killed 10 people and injured 114 in hunting accidents between 1982-2016
Number of people killed by bears? Zero.
Supports of the bill are also trying to manipulate the public and stir up fear in the state. But here’s the real bear facts:
Black bears are not overpopulated. Every sighting of a bear doesn’t mean it’s a different bear. There’s just a paltry 200 bears in the Northwest corner, according to a UCONN study and the state has a capacity for about 2,000 bears, according to DEEP’s own reports.
Scientific studies show there is actually a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear attacks. Bear-human conflict is more closely correlated with human behavior. Black bears are shy, according to state bear biologists and are habituated into problematic behavior by humans. What DEEP should be telling you is that in March you should bring in your bird feeders, use bear-resistant cans, avoid feeding the bears, clean your outdoor grills, carry bear spray and use bear bells when hiking.
No matter how much supporters of the bill and the dwindling hunting markets fear, shooting bears will not teach the ones who aren’t slaughtered not to be opportunistic feeders.
DEEP already has a bear management program and last year it only reported 5 nuisance bears.
Don’t let Connecticut’s bears get caught in the cross-fire of NRA interests who are exaggerating numbers to manipulate the public with fear so hunters, who represent just 1 percent of the state’s population, can slaughter bears to use as rugs and mount them.
FoA members in Connecticut should contact the state Environment Committee’s Co-Chair Craig Miner at 860 240-8860 and co-chairs Senator Ted Kennedy and Rep. Mike Demicco and tell them Connecticut won’t tolerate a blood-soaked, shoot-first approach to bear management, especially at a time when gun violence in this country is an epidemic.
Also call your state senators and representatives at 860 240- 0100 or use this online directory. <https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp
It all happened so fast that there was nothing Ali Hirt could do to save her dog Stoic earlier this month when he was fatally caught in an illegal beaver trap in Kane Creek.
But the Grand County High School student is determined to help prevent similar tragedies from occurring by raising awareness about the potential threats of wildlife traps in popular recreation areas near dog-loving Moab.
“I’d just like Moab to have to think about it – that there is this danger out there – and I would like trappers to consider the risk they’re putting everyone at when they’re setting these traps,” she said.
Hirt, whose grandfather is a trapper, sees no reason why trappers should be placing the devices so close to the city limits.
“I feel like there should be something done about restrictions as to where (someone) can set a trap, especially near such populated areas,” she said.
Hirt adopted her 2-year-old Australian shepherd/pit bull mix and his brother Neko from La Sal when they were old enough to be taken away from their mother. She remembers Stoic in particular as a super-happy, “really loyal” and goofy canine companion.
“He was very special to me,” she said. “He was my best friend.”
Since she first took them in, Hirt and her dogs had gone just about everywhere around Moab, but she singled out the Kane Springs area as her favorite place to hike.
With two of her friends in tow, they set off for the area on Saturday, Feb. 10, parking her van near the mouth of Hunter Canyon.
They had been hiking for perhaps less than a minute when Stoic – who loved the water – went straight toward Kane Creek. Almost immediately, he began to struggle; Hirt’s first thought was that he was somehow entangled in a coat hanger.
When it became clear that he was stuck in a trap, she and a friend jumped in after him and tried to pull it off, but it was too late: Within a minute, Stoic was dead.
Hirt and her friends were in shock; she couldn’t imagine that they would encounter a trap in a place that she visits so often.
“I never thought I’d ever have to worry about something like this, especially in Moab,” Hirt said. “It’s something you shouldn’t have to worry about.”
A couple heard them screaming, and a man carried Stoic back to her vehicle.
With no cell phone service in the canyon, Hirt and her friends had to drive all the way to Matheson Wetlands before she was able to report the incident; she eventually took a Utah Department of Natural Resources officer back to the scene.
State wildlife officials subsequently set up surveillance cameras in the area and identified the trapper; they also found three additional traps nearby, according to Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Lt. Ben Wolford.
The trapper, who has not been publicly identified, has a license to trap fur-bearing animals. But the trap that killed Stoic was not legally registered, according to Wolford.
“This particular trap did not have a register number on it, and that’s where the violations came in,” he said.
As of Tuesday, Feb. 20, Wolford could only say that the DWR is pursuing a charge of “failure to tag.”
“But we’re still looking at other things,” he said.
Wolford said the suspect will likely be charged with class B misdemeanor offenses – although no charges had been filed in Grand County Justice Court as of Wednesday, Feb. 21.
“I don’t think there are formal charges yet, but there could be (this week),” he said.
No laws against trapping in season
While there are no state laws against beaver trapping in most areas during the fur-bearer season, the division strongly recommends that trappers avoid setting traps near trails that hikers and dog walkers use frequently.
“It’s not illegal, but we do encourage trappers to stay away from areas that are frequented by trail users and others who are out to enjoy natural areas,” Wolford said.
The current trapping season for beavers in Utah began on Sept. 23, 2017, and it’s scheduled to end on April 4.
Usually, Wolford said, trappers try to stay away from more populated areas because beavers are less common there. But during the season, hikers, dog walkers and others may encounter traps around ledges, rocks and some waterways, he said.
“It is trapping season, so there is a higher risk of them running into traps out there,” Wolford said. “We want people to be aware that this is a possibility.”
Although it’s legal today, beaver trapping is somewhat anachronistic in the 21st Century.
“It’s not like it was in the olden times when it was sustenance for food and trading and stuff like that,” Wolford said.
Tens of millions of beaver once occupied streams and other riparian areas across the West, but trappers decimated their numbers in the 19th Century. The species’ population across North America has since rebounded to an estimated 10 to 15 million individuals.
Today, not many people in Utah trap beaver, unless particular “nuisance” animals are damaging canals or other agricultural infrastructure. In this instance, Wolford said, there were no reports of nuisance animals along Kane Creek or Hunter Canyon.
“Down in that area, there wasn’t any issue like that,” he said.
Wolford said the suspect used a “kill trap” that was designed to suffocate animals.
“They’re a very powerful trap,” Wolford said. “You usually need a special tool to open them up.”
While there are other ways to open such traps, Wolford said it’s much harder for someone who is not familiar with them to remove the devices. The likelihood that anyone could rescue an animal in time to save his or her life is remote, he said.
Hirt said the springs on the trap were so strong that the device had to be sawed off Stoic’s neck, and it disturbs her to imagine what could have happened under another scenario.
“It could have been a kid; it could have been one of my friends, and there would have been nothing that we could have done (to help),” she said.
Leashes not required at most BLM sites
U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Public Affairs Specialist Lisa Bryant said her agency requires visitors with pets to leash their animals at established campgrounds and designated recreation sites. But leashes are optional in other areas that the agency administers, she said.
In places where leashes are required, Bryant said, the BLM does post signs at trailheads and campgrounds. But Bryant said it would be impractical to install signs at other locations, so the BLM works instead to raise public awareness about the potential threat of wildlife traps, and encourages people to leash their dogs.
“We usually approach it more through a general education campaign,” she said.
Unfortunately, she said, BLM officials have no way of knowing where wildlife traps are, either.
“So we don’t have any ways to manage that,” Bryant said.
But the agency is always open to suggestions about ways it could reduce the odds that something similar will happen again, she said, extending the agency’s condolences to Hirt and her family.
“It’s horribly, horribly unfortunate, and our hearts do go out to the pet owners,” she said. “For many people, pets are family members.”
A manslaughter charge was dismissed this week against a Sherman man who shot and killed his neighbor in a hunting accident in November.
In a four-page ruling, Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley said the District Attorney’s Office erred when it presented its case in front of a grand jury against Thomas Jadlowski in the death of Rosemary Billquist. Specifically, Foley said District Attorney Patrick Swanson failed to answer a question of a grand juror regarding a lesser charge against the Sherman man.
Jadlowski was indicted by the grand jury on charges of second-degree manslaughter and hunting after dark.
Swanson said he did not agree with Foley’s ruling
“It’s a decision I disagree with,” Swanson told The Post-Journal. “There were some legal hyper-technicalities that I don’t agree with. At this point we have to decide whether to appeal the decision or bring it back to the grand jury.”
However, Swanson said appealing the decision to an appellate court presents “logistical issues” as rulings could take several months. He said his office has 30 days to re-submit the case to another grand jury.
“We have to decide what’s best moving forward,” Swanson said. “The reality is the appeal would take a lot longer, and there are resources that have to be considered.”
According to Foley, the issue began after Swanson gave the grand jury instructions on second-degree manslaughter. A juror asked the district attorney, “What is the next step down? Manslaughter three, if there is such a thing?”
Swanson replied: “The next step down is criminally negligent homicide.”
The district attorney paused before continuing, “I’m going to ask for your consideration on manslaughter second. And I may be back in to ask you to consider on criminally negligent, but I’m asking you to consider manslaughter second first.”
In his ruling, obtained by The Post-Journal, Foley said Swanson should have instructed the grand jury regarding the lesser charge. The judge did note, however, that there was enough evidence to support the original indictment.
“It was clear from the above referenced exchange that the grand jury had an interest, or at least being instructed on, a lesser degree of homicide,” Foley wrote. “It is the opinion of the court that the district attorney, as the grand jury’s legal advisor, had an obligation to answer their questions accurately and to comply with their request, by instructing them on criminal negligent homicide.”
The decision comes not long after an August trial date had been set for Jadlowski, who is being represented by Dunkirk attorney Michael Cerrie. Jadlowski told police he thought he saw a deer Nov. 22 when he fired a single shot, striking Billquist.
Billquist was rushed to an Erie, Pa., hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Swanson said he spoke to Billquist’s family Thursday evening after learning of Foley’s decision. He said he will thoroughly review his options before moving forward.
“Judge Foley found we had sufficient evidence for the indictment,” Swanson said. “This was a hyper-technicality that we should have discussed the lesser offense.”
“This is part of the system,” he continued. “We are still learning our new court.”
SAN ANTONIO – They called it the “pork choppin’” law when it passed a few years ago. It allowed hunters to legally shoot feral hogs from helicopters. Since then some hunters have paid thousands of dollars to go on the excursions.
Now a lawsuit filed by a Medina County man claims some operators are flying through a dangerous loophole.
Thomas Swan runs an organic farm in Devine. For him going on a helicopter hog hunt wasn’t just about the thrill of the experience.
“Being a farmer I get to see the true destruction of wild pigs. What a lot of people don’t understand is they actually are a problem,” Swan said.
Last September Swan and a friend were on a hog hunt near Burnet when the helicopter they had hired experienced engine failure. The pilot made a hard crash landing right in the lanes of Highway 281.
“The pilot said ‘hang on’ a half a second before we hit the ground,” Swan said.
Swan managed to escape injury for eight years as a Marine Sgt. in Afghanistan. He was sitting with his legs hanging out the door of the helicopter with his feet resting on the skids. The impact sent him spilling out onto the asphalt.
Swan says he suffered a badly broken ankle, broken tailbone and injured lower back.
“It’s probably the most painful thing I’ve experienced,” Swan said.
The crash is still being investigated by the NTSB, but Swan’s attorney, Ladd Sanger, who is a pilot himself, believes the chopper ran out of fuel. NTSB documents we obtained indicate the helicopter was operating with a Part 91 “General Aviation” certificate, not a Part 135 “Commercial Charter” certificate has tougher safety standards.
“That means that you have maintenance programs, that means you have FAA oversight, that means you have an operations manual, you have a chief pilot, you have a director of operations, you have training standards,” says Sanger.
Sanger claims many hog hunt operators are taking advantage of a loophole that allows them to fly up to six hunts a year with just a “General Aviation” certificate, if they stay within 25 miles of an airport and notify the FAA ahead of time.
He says the FAA needs to eliminate that loophole, or else more hunters will end up like Thomas Swan, whose injuries have made it difficult to continue farming.
“It was definitely a scary experience that’s for sure, the scariest experience I have ever been through,” Swan said.
We contacted the two companies that organized the trip, Heli Gunner and Lift Inc., neither had any comment. We spoke to other companies in the business who say before going on an aerial hunt you should ask if the operator has a Part 135 “Commercial Certificate.”