No one hurt by blast, which authorities suspect was fired by a poacher
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
BY MATTHEW J. DOWLING
Shotgun pellets peppered the front of a Warren Township home and pierced
two windows late Friday night in what police believe was likely a missed
shot at a deer by a poacher, authorities said.
Though the residents of the Broken Arrow Road house were home when
the pellets hit, the holes were not discovered until the next morning,
said Watchung Police Chief William Stahl.
"Thankfully, no one was injured," Stahl said yesterday.
The greatest danger was presented by the two pellets that broke through
windows on the first and second floors of the house, Stahl said.
"One broke a picture inside the residence," Stahl said.
The broken picture and the holes in the windows caused the homeowner
to call the police Saturday morning to investigate.
An additional six pellet holes were found in the siding on the front
of the house. The wide blast pattern suggests the shotgun was fired
from some distance away from the house, he said. Investigators believe
the shot was meant for a deer in the heavily wooded area.
"There was a lot of deer tracks around the front and side of
the house," Stahl said. "It's an area where there is a tremendous
amount of deer."
Stahl said several nearby residents reported hearing a loud bang about
10:45 p.m. on Friday night.
Fred Mumford, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection,
confirmed that the state Division of Fish and Wildlife was contacted
regarding the incident because police suspect a deer poacher was involved.
Mumford said the shooting would violate several state laws if it occurred
on Friday after dark in an area where hunting is not permitted like
the residential Broken Arrow Road.
"It's certainly illegal to hunt at night," Mumford said. "It's
poaching and it's dangerous."
In addition, Mumford said, the state's firearms deer hunting season
didn't begin until yesterday. The season ends Saturday.
"There were no shells found," Mumford said. "We'll
keep the investigation active."
Mumford said reports of houses hit by shotgun blasts are rare for
the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"This is unusual," Mumford said of the report. "It
certainly doesn't happen every year. It's not unheard of, but it's
not an annual occurrence."
In December 2001, a hunter's errant shot struck a Jeep Cherokee driving
on Mount Hermon Road in Blairstown, Warren County, shattering a window
and showering a toddler with glass.
The 13-month-old girl, Alexa Tironi, suffered a cut to her face. The
hunter, Stephen Christine of Oxford, was fined and banned from hunting
in New Jersey for life. Two other hunters with Christine had their
hunting licenses suspended.
A stray slug from a hunter's shotgun went through a second- grade
classroom window at the Franklin Township Elementary School in 1993
while school was in session. No one was injured by the bullet, which
hit a wall and fell on the floor next to an unoccupied desk.
Mumford said the state maintains a hotline along with the New Jersey
Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs for tips about people hunting illegally
and asked anyone with information about the Broken Arrow Road shooting
to call (800) 222-0465.
Matthew J. Dowling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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