Committing a crime within the proximity of any armed citizen is a bad idea. But the marksmanship abilities, outdoors skills and keen observation senses that hunters possess make them especially undesirable targets and witnesses, as the following seven accounts of hunters who thwarted criminal activity attest.
A wary deer hunter took the precaution of placing his .357 Mag. handgun within easy reach before bedding down in his truck camper one night at a farm outside Frankford, Mo. Soon afterward, he awoke to find John Dieumegarde, a 23-year-old prison escapee, trying to force his way inside. The armed hunter summarily halted the escaped felon and escorted him at gunpoint to the nearby farmhouse where his friend called 911. The capture ended a manhunt that had involved scores of police, citizens, blood hounds and helicopters. Dieumegarde, serving a 20-year sentence for robbery, had escaped while being transported from court on other charges. (The Quincy Herald-Whig, Quincy, Ill., 10/26/1999)
Like a scene from the movie "Home Alone," a 12-year-old Archer, Fla., boy used his wits and a gun to protect himself and his family's property. While the boy was watching TV, a burglar entered the farm house through an open side door. Seeing the intruder, the youngster retrieved the family's 12-ga. shotgun and fired one shot, sending the perpetrator packing. A newspaper report said the youth is an experienced hunter and has taken a course in gun safety. (The Sun, Gainesville, Fla., 10/10/1994)
William Johnson was squirrel hunting near his Thompson Township, Ohio, home when he heard a child's voice cry for her mother and shout "Stop, please stop." Investigating, Johnson discovered a man attempting to rape a 12-year-old girl. The hunter halted the man's attack, subdued him and bound the would-be rapist's hands with a belt and his rifle sling. Johnson was joined by another man, and they took the attacker to police. (The News-Herald, Lake County, Ohio, 10/18/1988)
While squirrel hunting near Calumet Township, Ind., Robert Hepner spotted a low-flying aircraft dropping 15 to 20 bundles of what was later found to be marijuana. As three men in all-terrain vehicles approached the drop site, Hepner fired his shotgun and the men fled. The alert hunter and a companion grabbed one of the packages and called police. (The Times, Hammond, Ind., 9/3/1988)
Roy Nelson is 62 and just 5 ft. tall, but the Houghs Neck, Mass., big game hunter was more than a match for a burglar he found in his cleaning shop at 2:30 a.m. Nelson gestured at the row of big game trophies hanging on the wall as proof of his marksmanship ability and ordered the criminal to the floor. The would-be sneak thief was so frightened that he was afraid to get up, even after police arrived. It was the second burglar Nelson had caught in the act in three years. (The Patriot-Ledger, Quincy, Mass., 4/16/1982)
A trio of young burglars had gotten past Charles Noll's watchdog by feeding him cookies and were ransacking his West Covina, Calif., home when the NRA member returned one morning. Noll grabbed a .357 and collared the three, all truants from a nearby high school. Noll, a hunter safety instructor, says he favors a shotgun for home defense: "You rack a round into that chamber, and I guarantee the next sound you'll hear is that burglar running out of your house." (The Tribune, San Gabriel Valley, Calif., 3/11/1981)
In Jamaica, N.Y., Mrs. Elizabeth Solano, who learned how to handle guns as a hunter in her youth, got a pistol permit and began wearing a holstered gun under her apron after the drug store she and her husband operate had been held up seven times in four years. When two bandits recently walked in and pointed a gun at her husband, Grandmother Solano whipped out her .38-cal. Revolver and downed one bandit with a lung shot. The confederate fled out the door. (Journal-American, New York, N.Y., 5/1/1961)