Forest Service Officer Killed By Coyote Hunter

coyote, crow, fox ......

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Forest Service Officer Killed By Coyote Hunter

Postby Todd » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:31 pm

Forest Service Officer Killed By Coyote Hunter
posted March 6, 2010

A USDA Forest Service law enforcement officer was fatally shot Friday at the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Recreation Area on the Oconee Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Jasper County.

The officer, Christopher Arby Upton, 37, of Monroe, Ga., was on routine patrol in the area about 11 p.m. Two individuals were hunting coyote with a high-powered rifle equipped with night vision and apparently mistook the officer for game. After the shooting, the hunters dialed 911 and reported a hunting incident.
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Postby Todd » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:34 pm

Tragic and easily avoidable.....
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Postby chief joe » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:40 pm

Todd wrote:Tragic and easily avoidable.....


Questionable also when you consider the size difference. I'd like to know what they were using for the night vision and the distance of the shot.
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Postby Todd » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:20 pm

This article has a few more details...

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Forest officer's death investigated after shooter says he mistook man for coyoteBy Rob Pavey
Staff Writer
Monday, March 8, 2010
The fatal shooting of a forestry law enforcement officer by coyote hunters in Jasper County remained under investigation Monday by state and federal wildlife authorities.

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"At this point, charges, if any, have not been determined," said spokeswoman Melissa Cummings of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. "It is still under investigation, and we are working with the Forest Service on this one."

Christopher Arby Upton, 37, of Monroe, Ga., a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service officer, was shot about 11 p.m. Friday. He was patrolling in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

The man who shot him, Norman Clinton Hale, 40, of McDonough, Ga., was hunting coyotes with a high-powered rifle equipped with night-vision equipment. He was accompanied by Clifford Allen McGouirk, 41, of Jackson, Ga., authorities said.

According to their accounts of the incident, Upton was behind a berm, using binoculars, and the binocular lenses apparently looked like eyes through the men's night-vision scopes. They later told investigators they mistook Upton for a coyote. They dialed 911 to report the shooting and are cooperating with investigators.

Coyotes are a nuisance species in Georgia, and there is no closed season, Cummings said. They may be hunted year-round, and at night, with no bag limits, and the equipment the men were using is legal for such hunts.

Steven Ruppert, the special agent-in-charge for the Southern Region of the Forest Service, said in a letter to employees Monday that the incident is a terrible tragedy.

"We are all aware of the inherent risk and danger of this job," he wrote. "Ability, training, and experience, however, cannot protect us in all situations even though we do the right thing. Chris was doing his job and doing it well."

Law Enforcement Col. Homer Bryson of Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division said the officer was killed instantly -- and he blamed the tragedy on the failure of the shooter to properly identify his target before pulling the trigger.

It was the 32nd accident and eighth hunting-related fatality in Georgia for the 2009-10 season, according to Department of Natural Resources records.

The other fatalities included two deaths attributed to natural causes (stroke and heart attack); one "mistaken for game" shooting; one accidental, self-inflicted shooting; a rattlesnake bite; and two falls from deer stands.

By comparison, Georgia's 2008-09 hunting season yielded 34 hunting accidents and four fatalities. Two of those cases involved heart attacks and two were because of falls from tree stands.

There were no fatal shootings, but state authorities did investigate six cases in which people were shot by other hunters after being mistaken for game and six accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

One of the 2008 victims was a Georgia game warden, Cpl. Curtis Wright, who was shot in the lower chest with a 7 mm magnum rifle by a deer hunter 70 yards away. He survived his wounds and has since retired.

The deer hunter who fired the shot, Lynn Jeffers, eventually pleaded guilty to negligent use of a firearm, hunting without hunter-education certification, hunting without a license and hunting without permission. He received four years' probation plus fines and was given first-offender status, according to DNR records.

During the 2007-08 season, there were five shooting fatalities, four of which involved children or teenagers. During 2006-07, there were no fatal shootings, and the single reported fatality involved a fall from a tree stand.

Most hunting accidents occur during deer season, which attracts the most participants. Typically, about 350,000 people hunt in Georgia each season.

Upton, a four-year veteran of the Forest Service, previously worked as a game warden for the Marine Corps and as a game warden and pilot with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. He is survived by his wife, Jessica, and a 4-year-old daughter, Annabelle.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro ... 1268096203
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"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." Calvin Coolidge
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Postby chief joe » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:29 am

Anything new with this?
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