Oct 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm #1280990
Sheriff: Hiker mistakenly shot by Ore. bear hunter
The Associated Press
PUBLISHED SATURDAY, OCT. 22, 2011
SUBLIMITY, Ore. — A California member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves was shot and killed in Oregon after authorities say a hunter mistook him for a bear.
Christopher Ochoa, a 20-year-old from French Camp, Calif., and a friend were hiking through a field in Western Oregon on the way to Silver Creek Falls Park on Friday evening.
Ochoa was wearing dark-colored clothing when an Oregon man hunting for bear with his 12-year-old grandson saw something moving in the brush and fired one shot from a .270-caliber rifle, striking Ochoa, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff's office said the hunter, Gene Collier, 67, hasn't been charged and said the shooting appeared to be accidental but turned the case over to the local district attorney's office.
Collier cooperated with detectives, according to a press release from the sheriff's office, and there was no indication that he was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Ochoa's family in California told police he and Raymond Westrom, 53, of Lathrop, Calif., were in Salem, Ore., to do work on a house. Ochoa was set to report back for duty on Oct. 25.
Westrom directed Marion County sheriff's deputies through the woods to Ochoa, who was still alive when deputies arrived. The deputies administered first aid, but Ochoa died at the scene.
Bear season in Western Oregon runs from Aug. 1 until Dec. 31. Hunters are permitted to take one black bear per season, with restrictions on cubs less than one year old or sows with cubs.Oct 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm #1793934
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Dang… this is what happens when you don't confirm the identity of what you are going to shoot. When deer hunting, I have heard what I though was a deer and looked down my scope. It turned out to be a person who came out of the bushes, but at least I still had the safety on and my finger well away from the trigger. It just shows how easy it is to confuse a human with an animal by sound.
Someone who shoots at any sign of movement should not be hunting. Besides, you usually need to confirm the gender of the animal which should prevent this sort of thing, but I guess not. Maybe people get desperate for a kill and shoot first.Oct 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm #1794025
Jolly Green GiantParticipant
Justin – You got it 1/2 right. You confirm your target, but with binoculars and not your rifle scope. That's exactly what contributes to some accidental shootings. Basic gun handling 101 is that a gun should never be pointed at anything you don't intend to kill. Period. I'm guessing you've never had a gun pointed at you and wonder if you'd have a different opinion if someone said, "don't worry, I don't have my finger on the trigger". Take it from an ex-cop that people with guns, regardless of why they have them, need to be more responsible with them to include making unsafe comments on forums for backpackers.Oct 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm #1794181
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
You guys are both correct. It's unimaginable to me how someone could be THAT ignorant of hunting safety rules and just PLAIN COMMON SENSE. And I say this as a long time hunter. Yes, it was an accident in that the hunter did not intentionally shoot at a person. But it's a negligant accident and that makes it worse.
Hope that hunter has his license revoked permenantly and is ordered to pay large restitution to the dead man's family. Plus he should be required to go around to hunter safety courses in his state and tell his story for five years as a cautionary tale to young hunters.Oct 24, 2011 at 11:07 am #1794340
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
There's no excuse for this although it was a tragic accident. Though the vast majority of hunters are pretty careful, I prefer hiking the National Parks and a few select forests during hunting season for this reason.Oct 24, 2011 at 11:22 am #1794346
What #@@*** me off is that grandpa didn't even bother to wait long enough to see if the bear was with cubs. He's obviously the type to fire first and then leave the cubs to fend for themselves. Idiot should never be aloud to hunt again.Oct 24, 2011 at 11:54 am #1794362
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Maybe it was the 12 year old and the grandfather took the blame. There's a tragedy for you.
A classic hunting accident is being behind/above the game, with a hunter shooting at a moving target up a brushy hillside and he didn't scout the area or know you were there. Opening weekends for deer season are so crazy that I would stay home, hunting or hiking.Oct 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm #1794386
"Maybe it was the 12 year old and the grandfather took the blame. There's a tragedy for you."
If so, that kid will be haunted for the rest of his life – for life he took, and his grandfather's carrying his shame and ill doing.Oct 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm #1794434
@carlbeckerLocale: Northern Virginia
+1 for Jolly Green Giant.++++++++++
Mistakes do happen but setting up for success reduces the chance.
Grandfather really does need to a lot to make sure this doesn't happen again, but it will by someone else to someone else.Oct 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm #1794496
Thomas R. ConroyParticipant
My, oh my: some of you are bending yourselves into pretzels calling this an "accident." It is in no way an accident. In any definition of "accident" the action must be unintentional. The hunter INTENTIONALLY shot at a target he did not identify (it was not an accidental discharge of his weapon).
And, for pity's sake, stop with the "poor grandfather" nonsense. The tragedy here is the death of a innocent, the hiker, and the horrific effects that has on that person's family.Oct 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm #1794522
+1 Thomas.Oct 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm #1794583
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
+1 – it's the victim who should garner the bulk of our sympathy.
If the evidence supports it, the D.A. should charge "Grandpa" with Manslaughter – 2nd degree minimum.
The shooter's age is not the issue. If he knew – or should have known – that he had vision issues but chose to hunt anyway, he could be looking at criminally indifferent homicide.Oct 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm #1794603
if I was the prosecuting attorney for that jurisdiction I wouldn't hesitate to file charges; wasn't intentional, but you could certainly prove negligent beyond any reasonable doubt
firing (or even aiming) at a "dark object" moving in the timber, unthinkable
my prayers and condolences to the young Marine's familyNov 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm #1802208
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River GorgeNov 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm #1802212
Mary- thanks for the followup, now we'll see if they can get a conviction
MikeNov 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm #1802232
We should all take note of this tragedy and pray for those who have lost a loved one.
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