CLANTON, Ala. (WRBL) – Investigators with Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries are searching for a “reckless” hunter who fired his rifle at a buck swimming in Lake Mitchell as several fishermen occupied two boats nearby.
Two fishermen are sharing disturbing videos of an unexpected and dangerous situation they encountered while fishing in a tournament over the weekend along Lake Mitchell near the Coosa County Wildlife Management area.
Andrew Guy tells News 3 Saturday morning, he put down his fishing pole and picked up his cell phone to record a buck swimming in the water, chasing does across a slough near where they were fishing.
“Just when the buck was fixing to come out of the water a deer hunter close to the top of the hill shot at him twice. We didn’t even know he was there until after he shot. Then we saw him run over the hill trying to get another shot on the deer,” said Guy.
Todd Stephens was fishing in the same tournament. Stephens also took out his cell phone to record the buck swimming and chasing the does. Stephens shared his video with News 3 as well.
“I had a scary moment yesterday while fishing. I was fishing in a pocket and heard something running down the ridge. I looked to see a buck chasing two does. Being a hunter also I always like to video the game I see while fishing. Watch this video all the way to the end to see what happens. Only about 25 yards from me. I am glad the guys in the other boat and myself are ok,” posted Stephens.
Guy tells News 3 he went over to Stephens boat to make sure the fishermen weren’t injured and his boat wasn’t hit. Guy says all the fishermen were shaken up at how close the shots came to where they were fishing.
In Alabama, it is illegal to take a deer, whether dead or alive, from the waters of this State.
“Then the hunter had the never to come back and yell down the hill asking if the buck had run back down towards us. He didn’t even know he was breaking the law,” said Guy.
Thankfully the fishermen in both boats were not injured.
News 3 reached out to Captain Health Walls with Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Law Enforcement, who says based on the videos the shooter broke the law.
“Based on videos taken by fishermen, it appears that a hunter shot at a deer swimming toward the lake bank. It is against the law to take deer from public waters by any means, State Code of Alabama 9-11-250,” said Walls.
Walls also says shooting into the water in an area where individuals are fishing could also be considered Reckless Endangerment, State Code of Alabama 13A-6-24, and Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Law Enforcement Officers are investigating this incident.
“It is is not only a crime but also disappointing when an individual takes actions such as the one captured in the video. Most hunters hunt legally, ethically, and with safety in mind. Individuals who create dangerous situations while breaking the law contribute to a poor public perception of all hunters and sportsmen,” said Captain Walls.
News 3 will continue to follow this story.