Woman fatally shot by boy hunting bear, Part II


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FourTeeFive
August 7, 2008, 04:39 PM
Continuing on from the http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=382597 thread:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008097220_hunt07m0.html

Thursday, August 7, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

State eyes new limits on hunters after hiker's fatal shooting

By Jack Broom

Seattle Times staff reporter

State officials plan to reconsider hunter-education practices and possibly recommend age restrictions for hunters in the wake of last weekend's fatal shooting of a hiker by a 14-year-old boy in Skagit County.

Fish and Wildlife Director Jeff Koenings said the department will also examine ways to separate hunters and hikers, such as increased warning signs, staggered recreation times and temporary closure of certain areas to some recreational users.

"As the state's population grows, and use of outdoor recreational areas increases, we must be sure we're doing everything we can to protect all users," Koenings said.

Pamela Almli, 54, of Oso, Snohomish County, was fatally shot Saturday on a marked trail on Sauk Mountain in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The teen who fired the shot from about 120 yards was hunting with his 16-year-old brother. He told police he mistook Almli, who was bent over, for a bear.

Currently, there is no minimum age for hunters in Washington. First-time hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, are required to successfully complete a hunter-education course, pass a written test and demonstrate the ability to safely handle a firearm.

A state law, which once required some teenage hunters to be accompanied by an adult, is no longer on the books; Koenings said he'll consider whether to ask the Legislature to reinstitute that law or possibly impose a minimum age for hunters.

The teens involved in Saturday's shooting had been dropped off by their grandfather, but he was not with them at the time of the shooting.

Without legislation, the Fish and Wildlife Department cannot impose age rules for hunters, but it can regulate the time, place and manner in which hunting is allowed.

State officials said Saturday's accident was the first time in at least a quarter-century that a person who was not hunting was killed by a hunter. The eight hunting-related fatalities in the past decade all were hunters.

"A fatal hunting accident involving a non-hunter is extremely rare, but that doesn't make it any less tragic," said Koenings. "Anything we can do to reduce the risk of another such incident is well worth pursuing."

Koenings said there's been a significant decrease in hunting fatalities over the past 20 years, in part because of mandatory hunter-safety instruction, requirements for hunters to wear orange garments and other safety efforts.

But a veteran forest-protection officer in Snohomish County said that with the increased number of hikers and hunters in the woods, a tragedy like Saturday's was inevitable.

"We have tried all different kinds of ideas to educate people," said Deputy Greg Rasar, "but none of them were idiot-proof or bulletproof ... it was just a matter of time until somebody was accidentally shot."

Hunting for black bear opened Aug. 1. More than 200,000 people each year go hunting in Washington. Deer and elk are the most sought-after big-game animals, but 50,000 to 60,000 hunters each year purchase bear tags.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

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FourTeeFive
August 7, 2008, 04:52 PM
And more:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008094528_hunting06m.html


Wednesday, August 6, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

"Matter of time" until a hiker got shot

By Christine Clarridge

Seattle Times staff reporter

With the way hikers and hunters share the same backwoods and the same trails, it was only a matter of time before an accident like the one last weekend that killed a 54-year-old woman mistaken for a bear by a 14-year-old boy, Snohomish County sheriff's Deputy Greg Rasar said Tuesday.

Rasar has been the county's forest-protection officer for nearly 18 years and a law-enforcement officer for almost 30.

In that time, he's seen a lot of dangerous behavior and a lot of close calls. He's written tickets, issued citations and given scores of lectures.

"We have tried all different kinds of ideas to educate people," he said, "but none of them were idiot-proof or bulletproof ... it was just a matter of time until somebody was accidentally shot."

The state lacks "simple and plain" guidelines and regulations that apply to national forests and could make the trails and woods safer for all, he said.

Rasar said many state prohibitions on firearms don't apply to hunters and that stricter regulations and setbacks from campgrounds, trailheads and other populated areas could be useful.

"It would help if there were a tool that law enforcement could use on irresponsible shooters so that when we get complaints we could actually do something instead of saying, 'Sorry, what they're doing is perfectly legal,' " Rasar said.

He said that while the state does have a statute that makes it illegal to recklessly discharge a firearm alongside or across a public highway, it's hard to enforce.

"It's very, very hard for us to prove negligence or recklessness unless somebody sees someone shooting in the road."

Many hikers, he said, are unaware that hunting is legal on most of the state's public lands and do not pay attention to hunting-season dates.

Pamela Almli, an experienced hiker from Oso, Snohomish County, who was aware of hunting seasons, was killed Saturday on a marked hiking trail on Sauk Mountain, Skagit County. She was shot from about 120 yards by a 14-year-old who told police he thought she was a bear.

The boy and his 16-year-old brother had been dropped off at the mountain by their grandfather.

Prosecutors will review the case, but no charges have been filed. Investigators with the Skagit County Sheriff's Department have not released their incident report. They said it is legal in this state for a 14-year-old who has been licensed and has taken a hunter-education class to hunt without adult supervision.

On Tuesday, members of the online group Hunting Washington were upset over the accident, which they said gave true sportspeople and legitimate hunters a bad name.

"Those kids should have been supervised," said member Scott Green. "Even a sharp and safe kid should be supervised."

Green said the shooter broke a cardinal rule of hunting: He failed to positively identify his target with binoculars before firing.

"We do not condone or accept the actions taken by this person and feel that we, as a community, must take a stand against such blatant disregard for safety of those we share the woods with," wrote Green in an e-mail statement Tuesday.

The group would likely oppose additional hunting regulations, but has started a memorial fund to promote educational awareness and outreach programs in Almli's honor, Green said.

"There are already regulations on the books and there are so many hiking trails that there is no way you could do a setback from them," Green said.

Rasar said Forest Service personnel don't like to make judgments about what kind of recreational uses is acceptable. The land is there for people to enjoy and use and protect, he said. He said he's not sure there is a perfect solution.

"The fact is that a lot of people hike and a lot of people are out there shooting, too. Sooner or later, they cross paths and a tragedy can happen," he said. "This is one that's going to haunt people on both sides for a long time."

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com

LemmyCaution
August 7, 2008, 07:57 PM
A point I've seen no one make in this lengthy discussion is that, had it been deer season, and the season were for antlered deer only, and the kid had shot a doe, he would be guilty of poaching. Crime committed, his fault, end of story. Instead, he shot a person. That person bears no more responsibility for her own death than does the doe, shot mistakenly as a 12 pointer. Anyone who insists that anything other than their intended target wear HSO should be forced to capture every living creature of the forest and flag it with HSO as a precondition to being granted a hunting license. Then they are free to blast away at anything that moves and is not appropriately flagged.

Until then, get it straight- with great power comes great responsibility. 2820ft-lb is a lot of power. Think before you release it down range. Period.

yesit'sloaded
August 7, 2008, 08:37 PM
Rules 2,3, and 4 broken.

SlamFire1
August 7, 2008, 08:42 PM
Best I can tell, darn near there is always some sort of hunting season going on. And then, it is not a considered a capital crime to be hiking in the woods. People should always be sure of what they are shooting.

In my State, I remember hearing of a young man who was killed, chasing a turkey during turkey season. An adjacent party heard him crashing through the underbrush, and did some “sound” shooting. They were unaware there was anyone else in the woods.

These hunting accidents are tragic, and they just give the anti gunners/anti hunters a bloody shirt to wave.

http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/accident-center.html

86thecat
August 7, 2008, 11:08 PM
IMHO the kid should get 20 years for murder. Shooting without identifying your target is not hunting and is not an accident. Put a few people away for a long time and this type of behavior will become much less common. That said, I do wear hunter orange if hiking during a big game season.

.38 Special
August 7, 2008, 11:19 PM
On the previous thread there was a lot of lip service paid to this being the shooter's fault, but a lot of "She was stupid" commentary as well. As I have considered it further, I am even more strongly opposed to that idea. Yes, it would not have been a bad idea for the victim to have been wearing orange, but as I hiker, I have to admit that I have never worn orange while hiking, even on public land in hunting season. I feel utterly no obligation to look even less like a game animal than I already do, because I do not look anything like a game animal.

Moreover, I have looked over an awful lot of game animals through a scope and have never pulled the trigger on anything that was not exactly what I thought it was, down to tine count, tooth measurement, body size, or whatever. The idea that fog, or nerves, or distance, or anything but a black bear suit can make a woman look like a black bear is utterly stupid. This was entirely the fault of the shooter -- and hunters in his state are now going to pay for it.

Beyond that, I find it incredibly rare to see a legal game animal anywhere near a common trail head. My general rule of thumb while hunting public land is to walk for a solid hour before even unslinging the rifle. I find that you need to be a long way from civilization before the hunting becomes productive -- and that also, not coincidentally, happens to be a distance that weeds out just about 100% of my fellow human beings.

So I find this entire story to be inexcusable. The fellow was too young to be on his own, he was too close to a popular trailhead to be hunting, and he pulled the trigger on a target he obviously failed to identify. Anything else on the subject is BS, as far as I am concerned.

yesit'sloaded
August 8, 2008, 01:03 AM
I have to use my mil dots to make sure it has a legal spread. I just don't understand how people can be so downright criminally negligent.

rickomatic
August 8, 2008, 01:36 AM
We can all agree that it was a series of mistakes and circumstances that led to this tragedy. Bottom line is, yes, it is ultimately the shooter's fault. Monday morning quarterbacking won't make a single bit of difference in a life lost.
However, I'm afraid that some of the comments on this thread have already sharply veered off the High Road.
20 years in prison for an already life altering mistake? Give me a break. I thank God that I have never made such a tragic mistake. Get off your high horse and have a little compassion. The victim's family did.
As for those saying they won't wear Hunter Orange because it should be the responsibility of the shooter to make sure you're not an animal. Guess what? I wear Hunter Orange when I'm hunting not to keep from shooting myself or someone else. I wear it to keep someone from shooting ME! Hikers should have the same common sense of self preservation. Not some high minded sense of self righteousness to put the responsibility of their life in someone else's hands.
Hey, SH** happens out there. You are a fool to not protect yourself.
Rant off. Sorry if it wasn't High Road enough.

Jst1mr
August 8, 2008, 03:58 PM
The shooter assumes 100% liability, no question. That being said, a trailhead notice or public education program to wear orange when in the woods makes sense for another reason - the orange is more likely to catch a hunter's eye and let him know there is someone in the area...information that may help avoid injury and insure that a hunter does not even shoot in the general direction of another in the woods. Here in WI, we wear blaze walking down our rural driveway to get the mail during deer season, when the area sounds like a war zone!

George S.
August 8, 2008, 07:06 PM
I quit hunting years ago as I got shot at twice over the course of one season. It was simply idiots who did not bother to identify a target. My orange vest and hat apparently wasn't good enough.

What really angered me was the fact that on the second occasion, there were multiple rounds fired. I had enough orange on me to look like a road construction project. I was just about to show my cousin how to lay down some supressing return fire when I heard "Awww Damn. Sorry dude." Never saw whoever it was as they left quickly.

What I read about this tragedy and hearing it on the news was that first off, the 14 year old obviously made a mistake in not clearly identifying his target before shooting and that second, the 16 year old that was with him was not watching and helping to identify the target. The conditions were not ideal (foggy) and IMHO, even with the kid having taken the required class to get a license, a typical 14-year old does not always use or have sufficient klnowledge or common sense in most situations whether it's hunting or something else. A 16-year old may not be any better at that age.

I wonder if the grandfather who dropped them off was a hunter and did he know what area they would hunt and what was out there besides game. What would have happened if the kids got lost?

The hiker who died had to go past a large signboard at the trailhead. Maybe there should have been a large notice posted that said the area was a hunting area and listed the type of game in season, the dates of the season, and the fact that hunters would be in the area.

Guess I believe that while the hunting laws here in WA are overall very reasonable and the required Hunter Safety Education Class is a good thing for everyone to take, I believe that the state DFW will make changes because of this tragedy. Maybe kids under a certain age or having less than a certain amount of experience should be required to have a responsible person accompany them.

Maybe hiking trails in hunting areas should be clearly identified to hikers as hunting areas and that they enter at their own risk. Maybe hiker should be required to wear soe sort of visible gear like a vest or hat during hunting seasons. It would be a simple thing to do and may save lives in the future.

The end result is that the rules will change (I have alread read that the Legislature is going to be looking at this) so that tragedies like this can be avoided in the future. But the bottom line is that the person holding the rifle and taking the shot has the final responsibility to identify the target before pulling the trigger. That didn't happen and somebody died.

.38 Special
August 8, 2008, 07:21 PM
Sure. Hunter orange. That'll do it. Because looking nothing like a game animal obviously isn't enough to keep from being shot while out for a walk, and anyone who doesn't wear it and gets shot is a fool who had it coming.

Again, I sure hope I never end up in the same woods with the hunters who can't tell a difference between people and animals.

SprayAndPray
August 8, 2008, 09:22 PM
It doesnīt matter how many classes you take if you have no intention of learning anything. Safety first, ALWAYS! Canīt do it safe - canīt have/use weapons.. Easy as that.

I donīt think kids should be able to hunt without adult supervision at all, at least if Iīm in the woods at the same time, no thanks. The target obviously was not identified and no shot should have been fired, adults know this (I hope). What were they thinking?

And btw fired upon several times, ***!!??

wheelgunslinger
August 9, 2008, 10:55 AM
I've been shot at and heard high-powered rifle bullets whiz by me while hunting and backpacking. I even have a shotgun pellet lodged in the bone of my chin where I was shot by a bird hunter when he mistook me for a deer and tried to whack me with #4 shot. The fact that I'm still here owes to the poor marksmanship of at least one results oriented (gotta kill a big' un!), impulsive, probably drunk "hunter".
I have a very good friend who was intentionally fired upon by some strangers while he was fishing. He had to hide behind a bank until they ran out of ammo.
I had a former coworker and friend take a 270 bullet through/in his side (love handle) when a 16 year old maliciously shot at him as he was crossing a field (wearing hso) from his stand to his truck to eat lunch. He belly crawled back to his truck, drove himself to the ER, and sold all his hunting gear.
There are plenty of stories where orange didn't save anyone from being shot or killed.
I support any legislation change that will facilitate the charge of murder 2 where involved is a shooting during hunting seasons on a hunting area.
The only sure way to make people check their target is to make sure they know that when the unfortunate target's life is over (or changed dramatically) as a result of their negligent practice, then so is theirs.
Age restrictions should not apply. If lil' bubba wants to go hunting and is man enough to shoulder a rifle, then he or she can end someone's life. If you're going to carry around the power of life and death, be ready to accept the consequences- as an adult.

The onus is on you, if you carry a firearm into the woods. No excuses.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 9, 2008, 11:09 AM
It's a step in the right direction, with the key being this:

reconsider hunter-education practices

I think the length/breadth/depth of the curriculum in the required H.S. Ed. Course should be increased there, with the requirement of passing a test at the end of the day.

And I can't say even that I disagree with the idea that 14 and 15 year olds should be supervised by having an adult with 200 yards with them in the woods at all times when they have a centerfire. At 16, they can then be turned loose on their own, perhaps. But more intensive/rigorous hunter safety education for all kids before they are ever allowed to step into the woods, with commensurate law enforcement penalties if they don't.

These kinds of tragedies CAN be avoided (or made extraordinarily rare), with proper application of rules and enforcement. Hunting's not a right, and can and should be regulated. This coming from a big big hunter here.

I've been shot at and heard high-powered rifle bullets whiz by me while hunting and backpacking. I even have a shotgun pellet lodged in the bone of my chin where I was shot by a bird hunter when he mistook me for a deer and tried to whack me with #4 shot. The fact that I'm still here owes to the poor marksmanship of at least one results oriented (gotta kill a big' un!), impulsive, probably drunk "hunter".
I have a very good friend who was intentionally fired upon by some strangers while he was fishing. He had to hide behind a bank until they ran out of ammo.

My goodness, man, that's pure insanity!! :eek: They *definitely* need more rules and enforcement in your state, too. I myself do steer well clear of all public land during deer gun season. I'll go in during archery though, but I wear a bit of orange on me (not required, but I do if on public land, even during archery season). But what you describe as seemingly commonplace there is quite rare here, in my understanding and belief.

The onus is on you, if you carry a firearm into the woods. No excuses.

I disagree strongly, to this extent:

The onus is upon US - ME and YOU - as ADULTS, to lobby state legislatures and our wildlife departments, to ensure that proper hunter safety education, laws, rules, and law enforcement are in place to prevent youngsters who are YOUNG and DUMB, as we ALL were at age 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and beyond, from causing a tragedy. We must bear the burden of making sure they are taught before they step in the woods so that they (a) don't end the life of another, and (b) don't ruin their own life from excruciating guilt when they make a stupid mistake and end the life of another, through a tragic accident that would not happen at age 18 and beyond from the same person, through the natural development of judgment as one ages. This can be accomplished primarily through the hunter safety education course requirements.

Now, I totally agree with you as to adults 18 and up. And I totally agree that if it's intentional, like the 16 year old who shot at your friend, then they should bear the full brunt of the criminal law as an adult. But as for accidents, we have to protect ourselves from the young, dumb, poor-judgment kids, AND protect said kids from themselves and the lifelong guilt they will feel in the event of an accident. Hunter safety education needs to be strengthened in a lot of states. If you look up the statistics of hunting accidents historically, before and after states began adopting H.S. Ed. requirements in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, the stats bear out that the idea is an overwhelming success. Hunting accident rates, per capita, are at a small fraction of what they once were. H.S. Ed. works, and works well, if properly applied and enforced.

And so, not to harp on the point too much, but one more thing needs to be said:

The only sure way to make people check their target is to make sure they know that when the unfortunate target's life is over (or changed dramatically) as a result of their negligent practice, then so is theirs.

No, see, it's not the ONLY way. It's ONE way, and what you describe IS sorely needed. But you need both. You need the "carrot" AND the "stick", for lack of a better phrase - they are not mutually exclusive. Yes, you need penalties and responsibility, strongly enforced. But you ALSO need the preventative measures (the carrot, so to speak), which includes the hunter safety education course - not that taking a required course is "fun" or a reward (carrot), necessarily, but it's not the "stick" of a criminal law enforcement penalty.

Art Eatman
August 9, 2008, 12:05 PM
What we're stuck with is that every individual person is different as to competency. Pick a subject, any subject.

Me, I grew up with a lot of .22 time outdoors, from the time I was around seven years old. Private land, sparse, farm/ranch. From early on I learned what looked like what, whether deer, person, possum or cow. Not everybody is that fortunate, particularly nowadays.

Just speculating and guessing about this kid and the deal: Odds are that he's not had a lot of hunting time. Odds are that he didn't see the woman until she bent over--which made her a horizontal critter and not an upright, vertical-silhouette person. She was wearing dark clothing, which added to the illusion of her being a bear. So, he's all full of adrenalin to begin with, excited about seeing any bear, anywhere, et voila! He wanted to see a bear, he thought it was a bear, and Bang! Tragedy.

I'm in favor of hunter's ed, and I'm in favor of their using stories like this as examples. But you can pass laws and regulations and hold hunter's ed classes until Hell freezes over--but you won't control adrenalin or inculcate good judgement into that certain percentage that will always be with us.

Separately: I operate on the basis that out in the BLM or National Forest boonies, a guy with a rifle isn't likely to be wanting to shoot at people. Okay, I'm happy to help him figure that I'm people and not a target-critter. I'm gonna wear light-colored, bright upper clothing. Light, shiny blue or yellow or white. I regard that as insurance, the same as I regard my CHL...

TCB in TN
August 9, 2008, 04:26 PM
Separately: I operate on the basis that out in the BLM or National Forest boonies, a guy with a rifle isn't likely to be wanting to shoot at people. Okay, I'm happy to help him figure that I'm people and not a target-critter. I'm gonna wear light-colored, bright upper clothing. Light, shiny blue or yellow or white. I regard that as insurance, the same as I regard my CHL...

Wise words, just like when I used to jog and bike I wore reflective materials! It may not be my fault, but if its my life that may get ruined (or ended), if the other guys doesn't see me.

SlamFire1
August 9, 2008, 07:20 PM
Maybe hiking trails in hunting areas should be clearly identified to hikers as hunting areas and that they enter at their own risk.

Maybe the General population, which out numbers hunters, would prefer to ban hunting, then enter a free fire zone when hiking.

One idiot hunter takes out a bunch of Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts, and we are going to see a bigger back lash than the Stockton massacre. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockton_massacre

Or have you forgotten the Brady Bill ? Next time, it will be worse, and permanent.

Double Naught Spy
August 9, 2008, 08:15 PM
I don't know why y'all are thinking in such a narrow-minded manner about wearing an orange. Orange has helped, but is far from inclusive.

You hikers need to be wearing full blown strobe systems in addition to the orange. Also, the orange needs to be more than just simple blaze orange, but needs to be highly reflective. You should not be wearing the minimal hunting requirements, but have it all over your body. I also suggest you include that annoying truck/forklift/equipment backup noise that sounds off every few seconds.

.38 Special
August 9, 2008, 09:00 PM
There'd still be someone to blame them for their own deaths.

Art Eatman
August 10, 2008, 12:58 PM
Double Naguht Spy, the issue is "druthers". I'druther wear light blue than blaze orange. I just don't really LIKE blaze orange; to me, it's sorta tacky.

A small blaze-orange day-pack would be acceptable, however.

:D, Art

86thecat
August 10, 2008, 07:03 PM
QUOTE-
"20 years in prison for an already life altering mistake? Give me a break. I thank God that I have never made such a tragic mistake. Get off your high horse and have a little compassion. The victim's family did." -END QUOTE

Shooting without identifying your target and causing death or injury is not a "mistake", it is a criminal act. Severe penalties will make other knuckleheads think twice before pulling the trigger. I really can't understand it when some unsupervised, uncaring, unthinking idiot murders an innocent and people feel his grief is enough punishment. Society requiring no personal responsibility is a large part of why this country is going into the toilet.

QUOTE-
"Hikers should have the same common sense of self preservation. Not some high minded sense of self righteousness to put the responsibility of their life in someone else's hands.
Hey, SH** happens out there. You are a fool to not protect yourself." -END QUOTE

Whenever any one of us has control of a firearm, we have the ultimate responsibility for every round that leaves the chamber. If hunters won't accept that responsibility there are groups out there that will make sure hunting ends. Let me say that again, they will make sure hunting ends. It was not the hikers fault for legally using a mixed use area. Sole responsibility for this illegal and immoral act lies with the person who pulled the trigger. SH** happens would be a ricochet, over penetration of a legal target or an AD, and hunter orange won't protect you from that type of accident. Maybe hikers should wear vests with plates.
__________________

.38 Special
August 10, 2008, 08:24 PM
"Well, it was her fault she got shoot through the abdomen. Her vest didn't cover a large enough area!"

yesit'sloaded
August 10, 2008, 08:57 PM
Stupid should hurt. Kid needs to do some long hard time. Murder is murder. I've been hunting since I was 8 and I've never had one accident or know anyone that has had anything like that happen. In our state you have to take a test to pass hunter ed. Guns are not toys and must be respected for the powerful tools that they are.

Art Eatman
August 10, 2008, 09:58 PM
In general, as codified in law a 14-year-old is not expected to bear the same responsibility for consequences as an adult. Further, there is the issue of intent, insofar as the penalty for a criminal act.

In this and in the other thread, some of the calls for punishment are phrased to come across as high-volume harumphing without any recognition of the laws as they exist...

Gunsby_Blazen
August 10, 2008, 10:01 PM
maybe everyone should wear orange...
I dont know, is that a bad idea???

fast eddie
August 11, 2008, 12:10 AM
Boy, this is a tough one. What can you say, accidents happen. The kid screwed up in the worst possible way and he has many, many years ahead to think about it. People are killed in hunting accidents every year and as far as I know the vast majority are killed by adults so what are you gonna do; make everyone bring a supervisor along? I disagree that sending the kid to prison is a good idea. This will be a lesson in every hunter ed class from here on out so if lives are saved as a result then some good will result.

FourTeeFive
August 11, 2008, 01:25 AM
What can you say, accidents happen.

How is something considered an accident if it could have been avoided by following the four rules of handling a firearm?

86thecat
August 11, 2008, 01:36 AM
In Washington State every bear hunter must not only decide that his target is a bear, but if it's a legal black or protected grizzly before firing. So unless the hunter identified a straight face profile, larger pointed ears and no shoulder hump on the hiker it's hard to rationalize this as an "accident".

Art Eatman
August 11, 2008, 10:03 AM
Okay: Drop the word "accident'". Replace with "Unintended but happened on account of brain-fade."

But that's what most "accidents" actually are...

fast eddie
August 11, 2008, 11:24 AM
Some of you gentlemen are focusing on a single word and missing my larger point. First of all I think the word accident is valid; here's the Merriam Webster definition of the word - 1a: an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance b: lack of intention or necessity. 2 a: an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance. The kid did not plan or intend to kill a person. Be that as it may let me modify the statement from my previous post: What can you say, both accidents and mistakes (insert noun or verb of you choice) happen. My larger point is that if others learn from this tragedy and lives are saved as a result then this poor woman will not have died for nothing.
Take care.

rantingredneck
August 11, 2008, 11:31 AM
Yikes.

I have nephews that are 14 and 16. They've hunted a good bit. I still wouldn't turn them loose with rifles without an adult.

That being said, when I was that age I'd typically head for the woods on my own with a rifle so........

Maybe the parents/grandparents thought the kids were OK by themselves. Given the outcome I guess they were wrong.

Horrible tragedy. Violation of 2,3 and 4 as someone else already said.

coyotehitman
August 11, 2008, 11:34 AM
I am all for closing the woods/restricting non hunting activities in certain areas during certain types of short term hunting seasons.

cjanak
August 11, 2008, 12:54 PM
Hunting accidents occur at higher rates among kids than among adults. Not surprising, since scientists believe that the part of the brain critical for judgment and the suppression of impulses (the prefrontal cortex) takes at least 20 years to reach maturity. If that's true, then it is folly for us to expect your average kid to exercise adult-like judgment in a hunting situation.

The average kid is hopped-up on adrenaline when he/she thinks he sees that bear/deer/etc. and his/her ability to suppress the impulse to shoot is significantly weaker in comparison with your average adult. You can drill the kid on hunting rules all you want, but that doesn't mean they won't go out the window we the kid sets eyes on what he/she thinks is game. Many kids need you, an adult, whispering in their ear asking What do you see?, Is that a legal animal?, Are you sure of what's behind your target?, etc.

I'm not making excuses for kids, but rather I'm suggesting we need to be careful what kind of critical judgments we allow kids to make.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=383453

Double Naught Spy
August 11, 2008, 05:41 PM
Some of you gentlemen are focusing on a single word and missing my larger point. First of all I think the word accident is valid; here's the Merriam Webster definition of the word - 1a: an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance b: lack of intention or necessity. 2 a: an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance. The kid did not plan or intend to kill a person. Be that as it may let me modify the statement from my previous post: What can you say, both accidents and mistakes (insert noun or verb of you choice) happen. My larger point is that if others learn from this tragedy and lives are saved as a result then this poor woman will not have died for nothing.

It may be an "accident" in your world, but it resulted from negligence. Negligence often results in accidents.

-- SO --

The hiker's death was an accident. The shooting was negligence.

mbt2001
August 11, 2008, 05:52 PM
There is every possibility (especially with the youth of today) that the kid knew she wasn't a bear and did what he did because he was acutally hunting humans...

I don't know if I could possibly believe that it was an accident, unless there actually WAS a bear, he shot, missed the bear and hit someone 300 yards behind the bear that wasn't aware of either of them...

Doesn't make sense at all that he thought she was a bear. It does make sense that he was a sociopath that shot the lady made up a story and that is that.

Of course I am just speculating and have 0 proof, so it is just food for thought.

86thecat
August 11, 2008, 05:55 PM
Quote-
"Okay: Drop the word "accident'". Replace with "Unintended but happened on account of brain-fade." "-End Quote

When dealing with firearms and risk to life and limb of others there is a higher level of accountability. Just as with firearms an "Accidental Discharge" is a gun malfunction but brain fade induced unintentional discharges are "Negligent Discharges".

If the driver of a vehicle doesn't see a car coming , pulls out and bumps a fender, that's an accident. If someone is driving through a residential area at 75mph, runs a red light, t-bones a mini van and kills someone, that's a crime which they will be prosecuted for.

The hunter in this tragedy broke all the rules of firearm safety, and quite a few laws. He was engaged in a mans activity, unsupervised with a deadly weapon and should accept a mans responsibility for his acts.

The proper term is "criminal negligence"

MillCreek
August 11, 2008, 06:42 PM
I have hiked on that very trail and been in that very spot where the shooting occurred. There is very little tree cover in that particular portion of the trail, which makes it all the more peculiar to me that the hiker was not recognized. Quite the tragedy for all concerned.

redneck2
August 11, 2008, 08:27 PM
A number of years ago I talked to a guy in Michigan. He had been a deer hunter. He was sitting on a stump on public land. Saw another hunter walk around the corner, pull up his shotgun, and shoots the guy, grazing him pretty good on the side.

The "hunter" walks up as he's laying on the ground and says "man, I'm sorry...you looked like a deer" and started to walk off.

The guy I'm talking to pulled up his shotgun and says "if you walk off to leave me here, I'm gonna kill you". The "hunter" turns around and decides to help him.

This was before blaze orange. The guy was wearing the typical red and black plaid wool jacket.

I had one guy shooting at a rabbit with a .22. I was directly down range, and bullets were bouncing off the frozen ground right past my head. When I started yelling, he bitched me out for being in his way.

Saw another guy in hunting attire in a chain store while waiting in line. Asked if he got anything. He says "only got a couple of brush shots". I ask what brush shots are. He says "I heard something in the brush, so I shot"

After hunting a few years on public land, I figured that my life wasn't worth the hunting experience.

86thecat
August 11, 2008, 09:21 PM
Redneck,

According to some on this site those were "accidents" and "sh** happens". As long as the shooters felt bad about it later then everything is just fine.

wyocarp
August 11, 2008, 09:43 PM
As precious as this life seems, it isn't everything.

As high and mighty as some want to appear on here, if we were all punished as we deserved for every infraction, there would be no one left living.

Art Eatman
August 11, 2008, 11:59 PM
Sorta getting away from the subject at hand, and it's for sure that a bunch of contentiousness tends to shorten thread-life...

fast eddie
August 12, 2008, 10:07 AM
According to some on this site those were "accidents" and "sh** happens". As long as the shooters felt bad about it later then everything is just fine.
Well, what happened was sh**, and it happened. Care to cite the post that said it was ok?
It may be an "accident" in your world, but it resulted from negligence. Negligence often results in accidents.Duh.

I hope you fellows don't miss your target as often as you miss the point. OK, I give; accidents and negligence in the field never occurs, therefore no attempt should be made to use this tragedy as teaching opportunity.

FourTeeFive
August 12, 2008, 07:57 PM
http://www.komonews.com/news/26854359.html

Teenage hunter to face manslaughter charge

Story Published: Aug 11, 2008 at 8:54 PM PDT
Story Updated: Aug 12, 2008 at 12:11 PM PDT

By Eric Schudiske & News Services

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- Authorities say a 14-year-old Concrete, Wash. boy will be charged as a juvenile with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of a hiker.

Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich said Monday the young bear hunter acted recklessly when he fatally shot Pamela Almli of Oso on Aug. 2 in the Sauk Mountain area near Rockport.

Almli, 54, was shot in the head as she bent over to put a jacket into a backpack. The boy was with his 16-year-old brother when he fired a .270-caliber rifle from about 120 yards away.

Weyrich says the teenager failed to follow guidelines in the state's hunting safety manual, especially being sure of a target and what lies beyond it.

The teen took a hunting class when he was 9 years old. If convicted he could face nine months in juvenile detention.

Hunting roots run deep in the mountains of Skagit County. But when the teen accidentally shot Almli, surprise registered in Olympia over the fact a minor as young as 14 can legally hunt alone.

Now Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, is proposing a graduated hunting license, which would require a teen to hunt with an adult until the age of 16 or 18.

"I also think it should apply to certain type of hunting, perhaps not as many restrictions when hunting ducks as opposed to hunting bear. It could depend on the type of firearm as well," said Kohl-Welles.

Hunters agree some things need to change before tragedy strikes again.

"It's not safe for them (young hunters) to be up in there if they don't know how to survive, especially if they don't know how to survive," said Dave Croghan, "and to make sure when they shoot they're positive what they're shooting at."

Almli's family members said they support new legislation but also honor hunters' rights.

"We are not against changing the law. Minors hunting with adults, in our mind, is a real good thing," said Theresa Smith, Almli's sister-in-law.

Double Naught Spy
August 12, 2008, 08:43 PM
Duh.

I hope you fellows don't miss your target as often as you miss the point.

Nobody missed the point that such incidents can and should be used for teaching, especially me. I posted the IHEA data. The point you seemed to have missed is that the shooting wasn't an accident. The hunter had a target, aimed, and made a clean kill. None of that was an accident at all.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 12, 2008, 09:11 PM
The teen took a hunting class when he was 9 years old.

See now that's the problem. That's too young to really retain anything. What about not being allowed to take the class until 6 months prior to being old enough to actually get a license?

9 yrs old - That's ridiculous. Of course he's not gonna take it seriously enough and remember enough.

How's about:
--Must be 13.5 to take the mandatory HS Educ. class (in person, full day or two days, with fairly rigorous testing),
--14 to hunt, but accompanied by an adult at age 14 and 15 (except squirrels and rabbits with rimfire/shotgun),
--retake a required short online refresher course at 15.5, with online test,
--then at 16 you're cut loose
--Add to that mix, post signs at trailheads which say that hikers are "strongly encouraged" to wear 500 c.i. of blaze orange during hunting seasons, with the hunting season dates shown on the sign (generally what the dates are). Of course, hunters themselves are *required* to have the blaze orange.

Good policy??? How would you tweak it?

cjanak
August 12, 2008, 11:19 PM
My gut reaction is to increase the age to which minors must be accompanied by an adult for at least certain types of hunting. That being said, I know I should restrain myself from a knee-jerk reaction. It would be nice to have confidence that the data suggests higher age limits are in fact strongly associated with fewer accidents. I would expect them to be, but I can't say that I actually know they are.

justice4all
August 12, 2008, 11:48 PM
I'm personally opposed to changing the law based on one tragedy. I knew better than this at 14, and other responsible young men and women should not have their hunting opportunities curtailed because of this person's crime.

86thecat
August 13, 2008, 02:04 AM
Quote-
"In general, as codified in law a 14-year-old is not expected to bear the same responsibility for consequences as an adult. Further, there is the issue of intent, insofar as the penalty for a criminal act." -End Quote

If a 14 year old is not expected to bear the same responsibility as an adult, then they they need an adult (over 21) in immediate supervision while hunting. If they are granted adult rights to hunt alone, their actions need to be held to adult standards and penalties.

Art Eatman
August 13, 2008, 11:08 AM
No argument with that, 86.

Shifting emphasis in this deal: It seems to me this is more of a problem for public-land hunting than we see here in Texas. On our ranches, we don't have hikers during hunting season.

Another facet that I hadn't really thought of when we've had arguments over hunting from box-blind stands (as is common in Texas): It's safer for all concerned, which is an issue for those who don't have a rural background or who are inexperienced.

As a first look, then, I'd divvy the deal into two parts: For game animal hunting (deer, bear) with a centerfire rifle, adult supervision to age 16. Supervision not required for bird hunting or the long-established custom of a .22 rifle for rabbits and squirrels. Rabbit and squirrel hunters aren't gonna shoot a "bear".

rantingredneck
August 13, 2008, 11:20 AM
Is anyone else surprised (pleasantly) by the reaction of the legislator and family member quoted in the article above? Not the usual "ban hunting" or "we'll sue the riflemaker, state wildlife commission and everyone else involved" kinda take that our society tends to generate these days.

cjanak
August 13, 2008, 11:34 AM
Seattle Times: How old is "old enough" to hunt in Washington? (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008109739_hikershot13m0.html)

Voice your opinion to the Seattle Times: Should the state put more restrictions on young hunters? (http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/reader_feedback/public/display.php?id=772)

FourTeeFive
August 13, 2008, 03:24 PM
Is anyone else surprised (pleasantly) by the reaction of the legislator and family member quoted in the article above? Not the usual "ban hunting" or "we'll sue the riflemaker, state wildlife commission and everyone else involved" kinda take that our society tends to generate these days.

As much as some people on THR like to speak badly about "liberal" western Washington state, I find that people here are pretty tolerant of hunting and shooting.

Personally I think the whole association of liberals and gun control comes from the politicians and not so much from the liberal populace.

SprayAndPray
August 16, 2008, 12:58 AM
The class I took once was like 80 hours in total, but I learned a whole lot so it was worth it, without attending one of these you wont go nowhere near any kind of firearm around here. Thats a good thing I think.

yenchisks
August 16, 2008, 01:37 AM
maybe hikers should have to wear bright orange durring hunting season,this may help.

.38 Special
August 16, 2008, 04:27 AM
Is it just me or do a lot of people seem to be commenting on threads without reading them first, just lately?

Art Eatman
August 16, 2008, 10:53 AM
Naw, not-reading is common for any thread beyond the second page.

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