From time to time, there are events that happen that you can’t help but shake your head at. These are often senseless cases often termed accidents but are more often the result of negligence. You shake your head because the mistake is so obviously a case of someone ignoring one of the basic rules everyone is supposed to know.
A prime example comes from a case where a woman walking her dogs was apparently mistaken for a deer.
According to NY Times, it was already getting dark when Rosemary [Billquist], Sugar, and Stella set out for their walk, and then, around 15 or 20 minutes later, Sugar and Stella came running back, but Rosemary was nowhere in sight.
Jamie, Rosemary’s husband, had stayed behind, and he immediately found the dogs behavior alarming.
NY Times reports Mr. Jadlowski “heard a scream, and then ran 200 yards where he found Ms. Billquist with a gunshot wound.” He called 911 and applied pressure to her wound until medical help arrived. However, she was pronounced dead at the hospital in Erie, Pa, the Chautaugua County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Officials say Ms. Billquist, 43, was walking when a neighbor, Thomas B. Jadlowski, thought he saw deer. He brought up his single-shot pistol, and fired across a field.
Jadlowski took his shot after shooting hours were over. In New York as with most places, it’s illegal to hunt deer after dark.
“I’m not looking for vengeance, and I know Rosemary’s not either,” Mr. Billquist told the New York Times. “There’s got to be some kind of lesson.”
The thing is, there is a lesson…that should have been made clear to Jadlowski long before that ill-fated night.
For one, you need to follow the relevant hunting laws and not shoot before or after hours. Those hours exist in part to make sure you have enough light to correctly identify your target.
The next lesson that should have been learned long ago is to make sure you have correctly identified your target. This is Shooting 101 as well as Hunting 101.
I was raised hearing horror stories of hunters who failed to identify their targets before pulling the trigger. It’s something that plagued my mind every minute I was in the stand those first few years I spent hunting. I was terrified that I’d make a mistake like that and take an innocent life.
While gun season requires hunters to wear orange while traipsing around in the woods, it doesn’t require anyone else to wear it and people walking their dogs aren’t likely to even think about it. This is especially true if they’re walking down an established path or road.
It’s a shame this happened, and there’s no excuse for it.
What happened puts a black eye on hunters as a whole. While the vast majority would never take a shot under any of these circumstances, this will undoubtedly be used by anti-hunting activists as ammunition in their campaigns. A hunter took a human life, and there’s no spin that can be put on that. Yes, it’s only one incident out of tens of thousands of hunters out in the woods on that exact same day, but that’s all it takes.
And yes, the political side pales in comparison to the horrible fact that someone lost their life to a stupid mistake. For so many reasons, make sure you’re not the next to make that kind of mistake.