Hunter thought beanie was deer
Fri, 27 Jul 2012 6:11p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
A former president of the Wellington Deerstalkers' Association has pleaded guilty to the fatal shooting of fellow hunter Cameron McDonald.
Christopher Dummer says he thought he was shooting at the red shoulder of a deer, when in fact he shot at the orange beanie Mr McDonald was wearing for safety.
As a mountain safety firearms instructor Dummer was approved by police to train and test new gun licence applicants.
Today he pleaded guilty to the careless use of a firearm causing death.
Mr McDonald was hunting in Aorangi forest park in the Wairarapa on Easter Saturday when he was killed. He was wearing a blaze orange beanie for safety.
The court heard Dummer was at the same height as McDonald above a gully and shot him from just 16m away.
Dummer claims he shot what he thought was the red shoulder of a deer. Instead the bullet hit the back of McDonald’s head.
His parents supplied new photos to 3 News and spoke to us today but didn't want to appear on camera. They're disappointed Dummer has not been charged with manslaughter.
“Sixteen metres with a high powered gun, with a scope, looking through a scope so it's a lot closer, he should have been able to identify that Cameron had his bright orange beanie on,” his mother Cyndy McDonald says.
“Cameron was very safety conscious he used to always wear that hat,” father Ranald McDonald says.
The Mountain Safety Council says hunters should wear clothing that contrasts with the environment, but it would never call for it to be mandatory because that removes the safety responsibility from the shooter.
Firearms instructor Bryce Meredith says it can be difficult to know what your target is.
“Blaze orange, at certain times of the day, with shadows, can look similar to the colour of a deer.”
There are 40,000 deer hunters in New Zealand and 10,000 new firearms licences are issued each year.
But the council says Dummer broke rule four of the arms code.
“Rule four is ‘identify your target beyond all doubt’,” Mr Meredith says.
One hunter we spoke to is calling for hunters to wear blue because it's a colour that doesn't occur naturally in the bush so can never be confused with a deer.
Dummer wasn't commenting today, but his lawyer Andrew Davie spoke for him.
“Chris's position will be advanced at sentencing as is usual and that's all we're going to say now.”
Dummer is due to be sentenced late next month and could face three years in prison and a fine of $4000.
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13/08/2012 8:27:26 p.m.
c burman wrote:
did this person who was shot and killed know more about christopher dummer than he should?????maybe this person has a past...
3/08/2012 6:52:31 a.m.
When will sports people become responsible for their actions, employers are held to account for accidents in the workplace. If they are found to be negligent, it would be manslaughter.
28/07/2012 7:05:35 a.m.
I dnt think 3 years in jail plus a $4000is really nessassary because it was an acident I think only 2 years in jail
28/07/2012 1:10:21 a.m.
Orange coloured = Deer? Umm ok.. And yes, this should never happen. Ever.
27/07/2012 7:06:59 p.m.
The whole point of the orange beanie is so if you see orange then it's not a deer! I'm tired of hearing about these sorts of accidents. This should never happen.
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