man shoots nephew in hunting accident

Tue Nov 3, 2015.

ALLEGANY COUNTY — Investigators charged a Rising Sun-area man with negligent hunting on Tuesday – one day after he shot his nephew during a hunting trip in Western Maryland because he mistook him for a turkey, according to the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

In addition, NRP officers confiscated the Mossberg 835 pump-action, 12-gauge shotgun that the defendant, Tracy James Duvall Sr., 65, fired when he accidentally wounded his nephew, Jason Gene Duvall, 39, shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday in Green Ridge States Forest in Allegany County, police reported.

Candy Thomson, a NRP spokeswoman, said the nephew took the brunt of the shotgun blast in his right hip and groin, while also suffering lesser wounds to his face and chest.

The nephew was transported to Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland, where he underwent surgery to have some pellets removed from his body, she added. He was listed in stable condition on Tuesday.

During the hunting outing, Tracy Duvall entered the woods first and began calling turkeys, police said. His nephew later entered the woods and began calling turkeys, too, police added.

“At some point, (the nephew) sat down near a tree. He broke off calling and stood up. At that point, Tracy Duvall, thinking he saw a turkey, fired a single shot from a Mossberg 12-gauge pump-action shotgun from about 121 feet away,” Thomson explained.

The uncle and nephew were able to get out of the woods and call 911, she reported.

Duvall’s trial is scheduled for Dec. 22 in Allegany County District Court, police said. The offense is a “must appear” charge, meaning Duvall cannot mail in a check to the courthouse and concede the case against him, police added.

NRP officers did not arrest Duvall but, instead, issued him a citation. Negligent hunting carries a maximum $1,500 fine for a first offense. A defendant convicted a second time of negligent hunting could be sentenced up to one year in jail and fined up to $4,000.

Spread of Avian Flu Raises Concerns About Human Pandemic

Avian flu spread raises some concerns about human infection

At least for now, chickens, turkeys and other fowl are the only direct targets of the avian flu outbreak that has spread across the U.S. Yet scientists say there is a subtype of the virus that may have the potential to become a human pandemic.

The outbreak, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture says has affected 20 states, has resulted in the destruction of at least 6 million chickens and turkeys and has put upward pressure on poultry prices. It has also triggered fears that much worse could be in store.

Daniel Janies, professor of bioinformatics and genomics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who co-authored a paper this year on the spread of an avian influenza, admits it’s “hard to say” whether the flu could make the jump from contained to catastrophe. Still, according to his research, bird flu has the potential to be “highly pathogenic and periodically infect humans.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that human infection, though rare, has been known to happen when people come into contact with an infected bird. Most recently, the H7N9 variant of bird flu infected some people in China, according to the CDC.

“Our work and that of others suggest that H7N9 has pandemic potential,” saids Janies, who is also a research associate in the invertebrate zoology department at the American Museum of Natural History, “but we have not seen human to human transmission yet.”

Read MoreAvian flu in Midwest hits egg prices, may hit harder

Bill Gates gets worried

Flu pandemics, which are based on how a disease spreads rather than its death toll, have only occurred four times since the beginning of the 20th century, kicked off by the Spanish flu of 1918 that killed about 50 million people. The most recent was swine flu, which “quickly spread across the United States and around the world” in the spring of 2009, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

This new avian flu subtype, first reported in China in the spring of 2013, hits the human body hard. Federal officials say that many patients experience “severe respiratory illness, with about one-third resulting in a death.” The strain still seems to be outside of the United States, but in January it reached Canada from two people who had been in China.

As of March, more than 640 human cases and 224 deaths from H7N9 flu have been reported globally.

Epidemiologists have been worrying about a global pandemic for years. Just this week, philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates—whose foundation is involved in disease prevention in developing economies—told Vox he was worried about the potential for a global disease outbreak, although he acknowledged that the probability is “very low.”

In a normal season, human influenza can kill at least 10,000 and result in the hospitalization of more than 200,000 others in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. That translates into an economic cost of $14.9 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity each year. Some estimate this is just a fraction of the damage a severe flu pandemic could create. One study by the CDC puts the economic impact as high as $166.5 billion.

Read MoreThe cost of halting a pandemic? $344 billion: Study

A recent study in mBio looked at the H5N1 avian flu’s spread in Egypt, and whether it has the potential to become airborne. It found that the virus there “could rapidly adapt to growth in the human airway microenvironment,” but emphasized that such a mutation was not one that “enhanced viral airborne transmission between humans.”

In other words, explained Janies, the H5N1 in Egypt is not adapting to become transmitted between humans. Rather, the bug is doing “a better job of deepening the infection” in humans.

However, the question remains whether scientific inquiry and technology can keep pace with mutating viruses. That area at least offers modest comfort, according to Janies.

“We are much better equipped to see, via genetic sequencers, and communicate, via data sharing over the Internet, on viral spread than in the past,” he said.


Be Careful What You Pray For…

…it just might happen (if you’re praying for a pandemic, that is).

Anytime now, we’re likely to hear that the current strain of bird flu mutated and crossed the species barrier to infect homo sapiens. But don’t worry, it’ll still be “safe to eat” (though you’d think it would lose it’s appeal).

TIMELINE-Tracing the bird flu outbreak in U.S. poultry flocks

(Reuters) – Two highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza (HPAI) have been found in 14 U.S. states since December, prompting partial to total bans on imports of U.S. poultry and egg products to other countries that were valued at more than $6 billion last year.

The H5N2 strain has been reported in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. It has also been identified on farms in Ontario, Canada. The H5N8 strain has been identified in California and also in Idaho, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Following is a timeline of the spread of the viruses, according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and responses by the industry and trade partners.302023_10150378903781188_1851399709_n

Dec. 19, 2014 – Highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza strain confirmed in a backyard mixed poultry flock of 130 birds in Douglas county, Oregon.

Dec. 20 – South Korea, one of the top importers of U.S. poultry, halts imports of poultry and poultry products from the United States, a market valued at $113 million in 2014, in response to the HPAI finding.

Jan. 3, 2015 – The first case of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza strain confirmed in a backyard mixed poultry flock of 140 birds in Benton county, Washington. The virus is believed to have been spread by wild birds migrating along the Pacific flyway which runs along the U.S. West Coast.

Jan. 6 – Mexico, the largest market for U.S. poultry valued at $1.2 billion in 2014, bans imports from states with confirmed cases.

Jan. 7 – No. 2 U.S. poultry importer Canada, which bought $589 million in poultry and products last year, bans imports from affected areas. The ban is later widened to include all or parts of 13 states. Ottawa imposed the ban despite several cases of bird flu within its own borders.

Jan. 8 – Imports of U.S. poultry, poultry products and eggs banned by China, a $315 million market in 2014.

Jan. 23 – The first commercial flock hit by H5N8 in Stanislaus county, California. The farm had 134,400 turkeys.

Feb. 12 – Veterinary officials confirm H5N8 in the first commercial chicken flock. The Kings county, California, flock had 112,900 birds.

March 4 – The first instance of HPAI along the Mississippi flyway, which runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the northern Midwest along the Mississippi River valley, is confirmed in a commercial flock of 26,310 turkeys in Pope county in Minnesota, the country’s top turkey producing state.

April 7 – The H5N2 strain strikes a 310,000-bird commercial turkey flock in Meeker county, Minnesota, bringing the total number of birds in infected flocks above 1 million.

April 13 – H5N2 is confirmed in the first commercial chicken operation in a 200,000-bird flock of egg-laying hens in Jefferson county, Wisconsin.

April 20 – The biggest outbreak so far as H5N2 is confirmed in 3.8 million egg-laying hens in Osceola county, Iowa. The finding in the country’s top egg producing state prompts Mexico to expand its import ban to include live birds and eggs from Iowa.

April 20 – Wisconsin declares a state of emergency and authorizes the state’s National Guard to help contain the virus.

April 22 – The USDA reports a year-over-year surge in frozen chicken stocks as the bird flu outbreak slows exports.

April 23 – Minnesota declares a state of emergency. State officials say they are offering prescriptions for the antiviral drug Tamiflu to people who have been in contact with infected flocks.

April 26 – The National Guard is called on to deliver water for use in efforts to contain the virus’ spread in Minnesota.

April 27 – Iowa’s Department of Agriculture and the USDA say initial tests have found probable bird flu outbreaks at five commercial poultry sites in Iowa containing more than 6 million birds. One site was confirmed as positive for HPAI a day later. If the other four are confirmed, the country’s outbreak would reach more than 15.1 million birds, just short of the largest-ever U.S. avian influenza outbreak of 17 million birds in 1983 and 1984.

April 28 – The USDA confirms H5N2 in three more flocks, including a flock of 1.7 million chickens in Sioux county, Iowa, bringing the state’s confirmed tally to more than 5.5 million birds. The three new confirmations lift the nationwide confirmed total to more than 11 million birds. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Bernard Orr)


National Guard called up to deliver water in Minnesota bird flu fight

Illegal Pre-season/Nightime Turkey Hunt Results in Fatal Accident

Turkey hunting season doesn’t begin in the Upstate until April 1, McCullough said. Hunting turkeys at night is illegal, even during turkey season….

Gaffney man dies after turkey hunting accident

Published: Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.
Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson  All Rights Reserved

Wildlife Photography©Jim Robertson All Rights Reserved

Last Modified: Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.

A Gaffney man died following a hunting incident off Robbs School Road over the weekend, authorities say.

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said in a statement Sunday that the body of Brian James Gilliam, 42, of 1202 Bonner Road, Lot 6, was discovered in a wooded area off Robbs School Road about noon Saturday.

Fowler said Gilliam was found after neighbors of the property reported seeing a light projecting in the air late Friday night.

“It appears Gilliam was in a deep ravine on the property and was attempting to climb out of it on large, unstable rocks when he slipped, and the muzzle-loaded shotgun discharged, striking him in the right arm and shoulder,” Fowler said in the statement. “After being shot, Gilliam walked some 40 yards to the cleared area where he was found.”

Fowler said his investigation indicates Gilliam and a friend had trespassed on the property Friday night to illegally hunt turkeys but later became separated. A flashlight in the “on” position was found pointing upward on a tree stump near the body. Fowler said it appeared that Gilliam used the light to alert his friend of his location.

The friend, who Fowler did not identify, was picked up about 2 a.m. after failing to locate Gilliam, and returned to his home with a turkey he said Gilliam shot and gave to him before the two became separated, Fowler said. Gilliam’s daughter and others searched Saturday but were unable to locate the missing hunter.

Gilliam had no identification with him but was positively identified through fingerprints, Fowler said. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday morning.



Capital Press: Bird flu strikes game bird farm in Washington

by Don Jenkins

Capital Press

Published:January 29, 2015



Highly pathogenic bird flu has broke out game bird farm in Okanogan County in north-central Washington.

A 5,000-bird game flock in Okanogan County has been infected with highly pathogenic bird flu, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

It’s the largest avian influenza outbreak to date in Washington, where three non-commercial flocks in other parts of the state had previously been infected, apparently by migrating birds. Wild birds and a captive falcon that died after eating wild duck also tested positive for bird flu.

“There’s no real way to predict where it might crop up,” WSDA spokesman Hector Casto said.

The owner of the flock in Riverside, near Omak, reported this past weekend to the WSDA that about 40 pheasants and 12 turkeys had died.

The Washington State University laboratory in Puyallup confirmed the birds had been sicked by highly pathogenic bird flu, as opposed to a less contagious and less lethal low pathogenic strain.

Samples have been sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, to pinpoint the strain. So far, three different highly pathogenic bird flu strains have been found in Washington since mid-December.

Castro said the flock has been quarantined and will be destroyed. WSDA plans to establish a larger quarantine zone around the game farm to restrict the movement of birds and poultry products. The WSDA has not released the name of the flock’s owners.

Castro said the flock tested negative for bird flu in November, but that was before bird flu first appeared in the region. Bird flu was confirmed Dec. 1 in a British Columbia, Canada, poultry farm near the Washington border. Between Dec. 1-19, 11 B.C. commercial poultry operations and an 85-bird backyard flock fell victim to the virus.

Highly pathogenic bird flu was confirmed last week in a 145,000-bird Foster Farms turkey farm in Stanislaus County, Calif., the first U.S. commercial operation to be infected.

Backyard flocks also have been infected in Oregon and Idaho.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture on Wednesday lifted a quarantine in place since mid-December around the premises where a backyard flock in Winston in Douglas County was infected in mid-December.

WSDA last week lifted a quarantine in Benton and Franklin counties around where two backyard flocks were exposed to the virus in early January.

A quarantine remains in place where a non-commercial flock in Clallam County was infected.

WSDA and USDA officials have take samples from birds at 32 places inside the quarantine zone, and all tested negative for bird flu, Castro said.

No Offense, but Have Yourselves a Merry Christmas

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year (you’ll notice I didn’t call it Xmas, or “the holidays”). It’s the season of chilly nights, snowy days

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

and cozy mornings by the crackling fire, that I long for during the dry summer months. The Solstice —with its leafless trees, longer days and promise of spring—adds its magic to the spell. To this devout unbeliever—this compassionate atheist—the arrival of winter has always been known as Christmastime.

Make no mistake; I don’t believe in virgin births, any more than I believe in Santa Claus or the Easter bunny or the talking walnut. It’s all a bunch of anthropocentric hooey. But I think it’s sad that Americans aren’t supposed to say “Merry Christmas” any more.

I wouldn’t expect store clerks to assume their customers are all church-going Christians. I for one am not and never have been—my church is the DSC_0082wild forest, mountains, rivers and oceans. Yet I still think of the giving season simply as Christmas. When I’m out shopping for Christmas presents, I’d rather hear a hearty “Merry Christmas” than a sheepish “happy holidays.” Instead of spreading good cheer, the latter comes across as an embarrassed, “the capitalist corporation I work for will fire me if I’m caught wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

I enjoy all kinds of Christmas music—as long as it’s joyous—and all sorts of Christmas decorations, particularly those that celebrate trees and greenery. I’m not offended by manger scenes, especially the ones that include lots of animals bedded down on nice dry straw. But the religious slant can definitely be taken too far. I get irritated when someone includes a cross in their Christmas display.

To me a cross is a symbol of cruelty, suffering and death, not peace, love and generosity. It doesn’t belong anywhere near Christmas. I’ve never believed in needing savior to achieve redemption. And I’m already painfully aware of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man (not to mention, to the pigsDSC_0101 and turkeys, as well as the ducks and geese I hear being shot at out there as I write this—all in the spirit of holiday feasting).

Not that I think anyone’s ever coming back from anywhere, but I can identify with this memorable line in the Woody Allen film, Hannah and her Sisters, when Max Von Sydow’s character, Frederick, laments about the garbage on TV: “You see the whole culture. Nazis, deodorant salesmen, wrestlers, beauty contests, a talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers. Third grade con men telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak with Jesus, and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

I’ve never thought of December 25th as the birthday of any god-incarnate or the day that reindeer can fly or when Santa visits every house in one night. But I’ll always call it Christmas—the name for a season that ought to last all year long. It’s not just a holiday—the spirit of selfless giving should be a year-round sentiment.

Oh, and if anyone up there really is listening, all I want for Christmas is world peace for all beings— and enough freaking snow to ski on.


Butterball: Tell Butterball to Stop Torturing Turkeys

Butterball: Tell Butterball to Stop Torturing Turkeys

By Mercy For Animals
West Hollywood, California

From the day they hatch until they are violently killed, the lives of Butterball turkeys are filled with misery and deprivation.

How do I know? Because I worked undercover at a Butterball turkey hatchery in North Carolina on behalf of Mercy For Animals — a national animal protection charity. At Butterball, I used a hidden camera to document horrors that few people could even imagine, including:

• Baby birds being callously tossed into a macerating machine to be ground up alive

• Workers roughly throwing and dropping newborn animals with no regard for their welfare

• Newly hatched birds regularly getting stuck in and mangled by factory machinery

• Turkeys having their sensitive toes and beaks cut or burned off without any painkillers

Unfortunately, these abuses are merely a sample of the ongoing cruelty and violence that turkeys are forced to endure at Butterball. Previous investigations by Mercy For Animals have exposed Butterball workers violently kicking and throwing turkeys, and bashing in their heads with metal pipes. One such investigation led to a raid of the Butterball factory farm by law enforcement and resulted in multiple criminal cruelty to animals convictions of Butterball workers, including the first-ever felony cruelty conviction related to factory-farmed poultry in U.S. history.

On top of all of this horrific violence, Butterball’s turkeys endure selective breeding to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks.

This has got to stop.

Please join me, and Mercy For Animals, in calling on Butterball to end some of the cruelest factory farming practices.

Thank you.


18-year-old woman shot while turkey hunting

Updated: 2014-05-09T13:03:49Z

The Associated Press

— 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.

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson,

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson,

Controversial wild turkey hunting method gain popularity


2014-05-09T19:35:00Z Decoy dilemma: Video clips help controversial wild turkey hunting method gain popularityRICH LANDERS – The Spokesman-Review Ravalli Republic

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.”