Deer Hunting Shootout

5 killed in shootout among deer hunters (AP)

Five deer hunters died and three were injured on Sunday in an apparent shootout over who could occupy a hunting platform in a northwestern Wisconsin forest. The exact circumstances of the deadly incident that occurred during the annual hunts opening weekend in southwestern Sawyer County remained unclear Monday morning. Police said a single male suspect was arrested Sunday afternoon. Two hunters were returning to their rural cabin on private land, when they reportedly saw the suspect in one of their tree stands, County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle said. A confrontation and shooting followed.

It’s not known who shot first, Zeigle said. Both men were wounded and one of them radioed to the cabin. Other hunters responded to the call and were shot, Zeigle said. Some of the victims may have shot back at the suspect, Zeigle said. The suspect was “sniping” at the victims with a SKS semi-automatic rifle, Zeigle said. He was “chasing after them and killing them,” he said.

Among the dead were four males — including a teenage boy — and a woman, Zeigle said. Some of the victims were reportedly shot more than once. Authorities found two bodies near each other and three others scattered around the area, which is near the town of Meteor. Two people who hid in a cabin emerged safely after the shootings.

The suspect was arrested as he walked out of the woods. He was out of bullets at the time, Zeigle said.

One of the injured hunters was in critical condition at a local hospital. Another was listed in serious condition and the third was in fair condition.

Words fail me.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. LJD says:

    The question we will undoubtedly hear is why any one allowed to have a semi-automatic weapon.

    The question we ought to hear is who was this whack-job, how did HE get ANY weapon, or a hunting license. Also, what is his background? Criminal record? Mental illness?

    We should see all of this come out in the wash. I don’t expect any valid reason for such a shooting spree. I hope they throw the book at him.

  2. ken says:

    Words fail you? Obviosly the five men where outgunned. They needed fully automatic weapons to deal with the danger poised by one man with a semi-automatic perched in a tree. Or perhaps a grenade or two would have done the job. If anything this shows the dangerous degree to which American are underarmed and proves that the restrictions on weaponry must be lifted in full complience with the second admendment.

  3. McGehee says:

    Ken tries sarcasm. Finds it guilty.

  4. Attila Girl says:

    A lot of people think there’s something special about a “semi-automatic” weapon. But many hunting rifles are semi-autos; it’s not uncommon at all. Very ordinary. The story doesn’t say that the hunters who tried to stop the killer were all armed with semi-autos, but they almost certainly were.

    And it would be interesting to study the rates at which homicides–and even gun accidents–occur among hunters/shooters/sportsmen. I suspect both sets of numbers are very, very low–much lower than in the general population.

  5. LJD says:

    I heard the nut ran and grabbed an SKS. His action had nothing to do with hunting. Such a weapon with a large capacity magazine is illegal for hunting in many, I dare say all, states.

    I agree with Ken, but I’m not being sarcastic. A quick game of spray the kook out of the tree would have put a quick end to this problem.