Thankfully it's been years since we had a hunting-related shooting around here. But last fall there was a fatal shooting in western New York that occurred when a hunter fired at movement in brush, killing his 73-year-old friend.
The shooter, Dean A. Brockoff, 54, of Lockwood, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide for the killing of David Barden in Tioga County last Dec. 8. He was sentenced to 6 months in the county jail and 5 years on probation. He will also serve 512 hours of community service, and won't be eligible to possess firearms.
Brockoff made a number of crucial errors, including hunting before sunrise and not identifying his target. They cost his friend his life.
“The defendant in this case failed to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk, and failed to follow one of the most important tenets of hunting safety – be sure of your target and what is beyond before you pull the trigger,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a news release.
Statistics show hunting accidents have been dropping for years, but I think those numbers are somewhat misleading. The number of hunters has decreased as well, so it makes sense that accidents are decreasing. But there were still three hunting-related shooting fatalities in New York, and that is three too many.
-- Don Lehman