“HUNTING ACCIDENTS” – A BENIGN DESIGNATION FOR A NEEDLESS NIGHTMARE

“HUNTING ACCIDENTS” – A BENIGN DESIGNATION FOR A NEEDLESS NIGHTMARE

BY ANNE MULLER

Call it “Hunting Devastation,” “Hunting Calamities,” “Hunting Mayhem,” “Hunting Scourge.” Since I like alliterations, “Hunting Havoc” could work. The title “Hunting Accidents” doesn’t at all conjure up images of the bloodshed and trauma caused to individuals and families, nor does it reflect all of the medical and law enforcement costs, nor does it give voice to the heartache of those who love wildlife ALIVE, and, of course, the nightmare inflicted on all of the animals and their loved ones.

Finally, in January there appeared an article by Sean Lahman in the Democrat & Chronicle that provided a detailed description of what one man who was shot by hunters went through. Yes, it wasn’t even called a “hunting accident,” although it was. It was titled, “AGAINST ALL ODDS,” with the subheading “Kevin Flannery’s improbable tale of survival after being shot from nearly a half mile away while mowing his lawn, and how the men responsible for his trauma avoided jail time.”

Note that it did not say, “Kevin Flannery’s improbable tale of survival after being shot from nearly a half mile away while mowing his lawn, and how the hunters responsible for his trauma avoided jail time.”

The article was bold in its description of the details of not only the physical trauma, but the psychological trauma as well. It took us from the beginning, when Mr. Flannery realized he had been shot and severely wounded, through his painstaking struggle to survive what would have killed most, to his partial recovery in the end. It was a tribute to the victim’s indomitable spirit to continue to live with his family and work outside on his property. Mr. Flannery describes how, while he was trying to avoid taking more bullets, he wondered how the bullet damage, should he survive, would impact his wife, daughter, and work. All of this angst was also shooting through his mind while the hunter kept firing and hitting his mower. While the pain seared though his body, and the loss of blood was weakening him, and while he had to keep shielding himself. He described how he could see for hundreds of yards in every direction but didn’t see the shooter. Arriving at the hospital, they discovered that half his liver was shot out, along with his entire right kidney.

The article goes on to report all of the details of his medical treatment: intensive care for several weeks, then a wheelchair, learning to stand again, then walk with a walker, and learning to eat again. His wound required home nursing to change his dressing three times a day, and, worst of all, not knowing if he would survive.

A grand jury indicted the two hunters which a state Supreme Court judge dismissed. All the records were then sealed including the judge’s reasoning for the decision. By sealing the records, it prevented prosecutors from talking about it. To meet the legal standard for recklessness, the hunters would have to have known that someone was within range. The Flannerys brought a civil suit alleging that the defendants were reckless and more than negligent. They want punitive damages.

Mr. Flannery said he didn’t have ill feelings being “an avid hunter himself.” They just wanted the hunters who shot him to hear the 20-minute 911 call in which he said “goodbye” to his wife and daughter.

Where do we begin with all that’s wrong with this? The Democrat and Chronicle article was careful to talk about shooting and not hunting. We at C.A.S.H. know that if hunting weren’t at the root of this, the hunters would have been given full sentences. One other frightening observation is that bullets can travel for miles if unobstructed as was this case. Another key point is that millions of animals suffer the agonies of hell in our fields and woods and it’s perfectly legal! This has got to change!

The problem of justice for Mr. Flannery in a case like this is clearly political. It’s imperative that the Bureau of Wildlife that operates with general funds within the NYS DEC be stripped of their governmental status, and that general funds are not allocated to supplement BOW’s firearms money. BOW is a private entity that operates on behalf of the firearms industry and the tiny percentage of New Yorkers who like to kill wild animals. BOW is siphoning funds from the 97% of the NY population that doesn’t hunt. Isn’t it time that this ends?

I called the brave reporter, Sean Lahman, to congratulate him on his article, and asked a simple question: Were the shooters hunters? “Yes,” he answered. They were hunters and it was during hunting season, but…they weren’t hunting at the moment they were firing the bullets that struck Mr. Flannery, they were sighting-in their rifles’ scopes and shooting at a paper target, and couldn’t see behind it. The bullets of course went through the paper target like, well, paper.

We encourage our members to view the “Hunting Accident” section of our website, which can be seen at http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/accident-center.html. Jim Robertson has carefully sleuthed the many horrific accidents that have occurred.

How to Sight-In a Scope


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Anne Muller is editor of the C.A.S.H. Courier

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