It's deer hunting season again, which means that runners across the country have begun fearing for their lives. Hunters, please stop shooting runners.
This hunter on Cape Cod shot a runner last Tuesday. He said he shot the 39-year-old man running with his dog with a black powder rifle because he thought it was "a herd of running deer." He was charged with a variety of misdeeds, including causing serious injury with a hunting weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, and careless or negligent use of a weapon, according to the AP.
You might say that yes, the shooting was regrettable, but these things don't happen all that often. Wrong. A hunter shooting a runner happens as often and as regularly as Christmas.
In 2011, this hunter called 911 to say that his deer-stalking partner had shot a soldier while they were hunting in North Carolina. The person shot was running down a running path.
"We jumped a deer, and this guy with me shot him, shot the guy," the hunter told the 911 dispatcher.
And there's this incident, from 2010, when a high school cross country runner in Massachusetts had buckshot lodged in his calf after hunters fired multiple shots at a deer "at least three quarters of a mile to a mile away" from the school. Amazingly, this was in the same season and less than a hundred miles away from where a 70-year-old jogger was hit "by an errant buckshot pellet."
Hunters, most of you seem pretty good. You regularly come back in the late fall or early winter with dead deer and no bleeding runners. But for that small percentage of you: Stop shooting blindly into the brush just because you heard a rustle. Something running on two feet is not a deer. So don't shoot.
Finally, a word to runners: Let's do our part and not run with antlers on.
Photo: Dana Lookado/Flickr