Hunting Argument Leads to Alleged Shooting

Hunting Argument Leads to Alleged Shooting

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Jed Boal and John Hollenhorst Reporting Riflefire erupts in the mountains of Wasatch County Monday morning. The sheriff says the shooter was not shooting at deer.

"A lot of times hunting brings out the worst in people," he says.

"I wasn't shooting in the vicinity of people. I was shooting directly at the deer that I got," the accused told us.

Now that man faces charges that he intentionally shot at other hunters.

"Idiot cops came and made a mountain out of a molehill," his father told us.

The sheriff calls it a turf battle among deer hunters. His deputies arrested a man they say shot at people instead of deer.

Hunting Argument Leads to Alleged Shooting

The hunter calls it a mix-up among hunters.

Jesse Buckley spent a few hours in jail today, and faces charges that he intentionally shot at other hunters to intimidate them. It's a serious charge.. a felony. But Buckley says he'd never shoot at a person.

Each hunting party has its own version of what happened when shots erupted.

Jesse Buckley/Hunter: "It was just hunter mix-up was all it was."

Hunting Argument Leads to Alleged Shooting

There are many hunters this year, with few deer. That was the case in Currant Creek Canyon where two parties clashed.

One group claimed a hillside where they spotted deer. They had a war of words with another group that arrived.

Cliff Buckley/ Hunter's Father: "Those guys parked behind us this morning. They were harassing us, slammming doors and stuff."

Someone shot a deer, and that's where the two stories start to conflict. Jesse Buckley says he took down the deer.

Jesse Buckley/Hunter: "I had a deer that came out of the bottom of a ravine and these other guys came over and tried to claim my deer that I shot. They got mad they couldn't have my deer, was all that happened."

He was afraid he might get shot by the other hunters.

Jesse Buckley/Hunter: "After the deer was down, the deer was down and I didn't shoot any more."

Other hunters and an independent witness told deputies Buckley shot at them.

Ken Van Wagoner/Wasatch County Sheriff: "A scare tactic to impress upon the hunters that it was their mountain, and they shouldn't be there."

Bullets hit within 30 yards.

Ken Van Wagoner/Wasatch County Sheriff: "The people that were there said they could see the bullets actually hitting the ground in the proximity of the hunters."

Jesse Buckley/Hunter: "The sheriff's got to be wrong. I don't shoot at people. When I'm on the deer hunt, I shoot at deer."

While tempers often flare, Wildlife officers say conflicts like this are rare.

Tim Clark/U.S. Forest Service: "Wasn't a good situation. Even if they were shooting at a deer, when you've got hunters on the hillside, it's not a good idea to be shooting in that general direction because bullets can ricochet."

Still, a radio dispatch suggests trouble is not unheard of during the deer hunt.

US Forest Service Radio: "Two females got in a fist fight and one of them has a BB gun, pointing it at people."

Wildlife officials say it's a big state.

Tim Clark, US Forest Service: "Plenty of areas to hunt. If you get into an altercation with somebody who wants to hunt the same area you are, I'd go someplace else."

The court will have to sort out these stories.

Jesse Buckley was charged with discharging a weapon towards a person. When that's done with the intent to intimidate or scare someone, that's a third degree felony. He faces the possibility of zero to five years in prison.

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