During the week of Thanksgiving I'm sure many of you heard about the deer hunting shooting in Wisconsin. Eight hunters were shot on private property by a trespassing hunter over a dispute about hunting in a tree stand. Six of the hunters died from their wounds and two survived. As many of you know I grew up in Wisconsin and spent countless hours hunting deer and other types of wild life there.
Deer hunting in Wisconsin is almost a ritual similar to salmon fishing in Alaska. It is the number one time of the year for people to be out, people of all ages are hunting, shopping or just plain out and about visiting. If you have never been in Wisconsin during deer hunting you will have a hard time imagining just how many people are around during that time. I have never heard of another tragic ordeal quite like this one but perhaps was very close to being in a similar situation about 13 years ago in North Field, Wisconsin.
I was hunting on private property owned by a friend of mine and had just shot a really nice whitailed buck when we were approached by a group of rather strange acting hunters. They argued with us over who actually killed the deer when the evidence clearly showed that I was the only one who could have killed it by the blood trail and where the 2 wounds were.
One hunter never put his gun down and his strange behavior made me rather nervous. Anyone who is illegally trespassing on private property should not be arguing with the landowner and his friend over who shot a deer! To be able to hunt on private property in Wisconsin you must have written permission from the landowner. Since my young son Brad was with me I decided I was not going to risk getting into a gunfight with strange people over a deer. So we left the area and the next day the same arrogant hunters were once again trespassing and another argument started.
At one point the trespassing hunter took his rifle from his shoulder and pointed it at Bob (the landowner) and asked, "Are you threatening me?" I was standing right beside this character with my son on the passenger side of my friend's truck. Instantly I grabbed the barrel of the rifle and jerked it straight in the air and as the hunter turned to face me I slapped him with my right hand sending the hunter tumbling backwards into the road side ditch! I then unloaded his rifle and threw it in the ditch beside him and we left to report the incident to the State Troopers!
Being in the woods has always been one of the greatest thrills of my life but it only takes a few characters like this one to take the fun out of hunting. The situation in Wisconsin this year also reminded me of my similar potentially dangerous situation. Lucky for us I was able to defuse a very serious situation and able to disarm the man before he did something really stupid. In over forty years of hunting I only encountered the one situation quite like this one and very thankful it was only once. To imagine another hunter in my home state running down hunters and shooting them in the back as they attempt to flee unarmed is barbaric to say the least. No it was not the sks rifle that created the problem or deer hunting in general but simply the work of a very sick individual who lost all control.
In one rage of anger lives in Birchwood Wisconsin were changed forever and all over the world people felt the pain this senseless cowardly act caused. Don't wrack your brain trying to understand this situation because you never will. These types of incidents are beyond our human understanding and simply out of our control especially since those of us here in Alaska are somewhere around 4000 miles away from Birchwood, Wisconsin. What can you do to help you ask? Pray for the families of the victims of this senseless act and be thankful that you or your loved ones have never had to endure a situation quite like this.....See you next week!
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