5 Killed in Wisconsin Hunting Dispute


November 22, 2004, 12:38 PM
Five Killed, Three Hurt in Wisconsin Hunting Dispute

Associated Press

BIRCHWOOD, Wis. (AP) -- A deer hunter shot and killed five people and wounded three others in northwestern Wisconsin following a dispute about a tree stand during the hunt's opening weekend, authorities said.

The 36-year-old alleged gunman was arrested Sunday afternoon, Sawyer County sheriff's officials said. Jake Hodgkinson, a deputy at the county jail, identified the suspect as Chai Vang but would give no additional details.

Paul Schnell, a spokesman for the St. Paul, Minn., police department, said the man was from St. Paul.

The incident began when two hunters were returning to their rural cabin on private land in Sawyer County when they saw the suspect in one of their hunting platforms in a tree, County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle said. A confrontation and shooting followed.

It's not known who shot first, Zeigle said.

Both hunters were wounded and one of them radioed to the cabin a quarter mile away. Other hunters responded and were shot. About 20 shots were fired, but it's unclear who shot them, he said.

The dead included a a teenage boy and a woman, Zeigle said. A father and son were among them, he said. Some of the victims were shot more than once.

All five, from the Rice Lake area, were dead when officers arrived to the area in southwestern Sawyer County, he said. Authorities found two bodies near each other and the others were scattered over 100 yards.

"It's absolutely nuts. Why? Over sitting in a tree stand?'' asked Zeigle.

Zeigle said the suspect was "chasing after them and killing them,'' with a SKS 7.62 mm semiautomatic rifle, a common hunting weapon. Wisconsin's statewide deer gun hunting season started Saturday and lasts for nine days.

Two young people who stayed in the cabin emerged safely after the shootings.

The suspect, who did not have a compass, got lost in the woods and two hunters, not knowing about the shootings, helped him find his way out, Zeigle said. When he emerged, a Department of Natural Resources officer recognized the deer license on his back, given to police by a victim, Zeigle said.

The man was out of bullets and was arrested, Zeigle said.

One of the injured hunters was in critical condition at St. Joseph's Hospital. Another was listed in serious condition and the third was in fair condition, both at Lakeview Medical Center.

Hunter Bill Wagner, 72, of Oshkosh, was about two miles away near Deer Lake with a party of about 20 other hunters. After they got word of the shooting, he and others went to round up the rest of the party. He said they heard sirens, planes and helicopters and noticed the surrounding roads blocked off.

"When you're hunting you don't expect somebody to try to shoot you and murder you," he said. "You have no idea who is coming up to you."

It took about three hours to round up the other hunters, who were up to four miles apart, Wagner said. "We're all old, dyed-in-wool hunters,'' he said. "We wouldn't go home because of this but we will keep it in our minds. We're not forgetting it."

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Bart Noir
November 22, 2004, 02:23 PM
i won't go into the issue of murder or legitimate self-defense or any of that. Instead, I ask about the SKS being a popular deer hunting rifle. Yes, the ammo can be found or loaded for hunting as it is similar to .30-.30. But the rifle, with those sights, isn't so great. And can the magazine be blocked to only 5 rounds? Is that a requirement in Wisconsin?

At least it wasn't called an assualt rifle. Everbody knows it couldn't be an assualt rifle, because those are unfit for hunting. So say all the gun-grabbers.

Bart Noir

November 22, 2004, 02:31 PM
Bart, earlier and still news stations continue to call it a deadly assault rifle/weapon. :barf:

November 22, 2004, 02:42 PM
The guy was obviously a nutcase, regardless of the rifle. Does Wisconsin even sell out of state licenses? He was on private land, got confronted. Builds a strong case for having a cell phone and the number of the sheriff and F&G handy, not confront a stranger who has a gun on your land. BTW, I know several people who hunt deer with an SKS, iron sights, and do extremely well. A few years back, a gal in our area shot a trophy bull elk. She began to dress it out, and was approached by some guys who claimed they shot it, and they made threatening gestures toward her with their rifles. She quickly backed off and the phoned her husband, who just happened to be the game warden just a couple a miles away at a field station. Those guys didn't get very far.

November 22, 2004, 02:49 PM
1) There is no magazine limit for rifles in WI.

2) Yes, WI sells non-resident hunting licenses.

FWIW, there is already a very long thread on this same subject.


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