Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2004


By SCOTT McMILLION Chronicle Staff Writer

LIVINGSTON -- The man who shot his hunting guide this week, having mistaken two men and horses for wolves, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and agreed to pay all the badly wounded guide's medical expenses.

David W. Williams, a 38-year-old who stands well over 6 feet tall and weighs in well over 200 pounds, pleaded guilty to negligent criminal endangerment in Justice Court here Friday, in a contrite appearance.

Justice of the Peace Deanna Egeland fined him $1,065 and ordered him to pay all the medical expenses of JC Davis, 25, whom Williams shot in the upper left arm Tuesday evening. She described Williams as "very cooperative" and said he paid the fine immediately.

Davis works for his family's outfitting business in Paradise Valley. He was guiding Williams and another man in the Daily Lake area.

Williams had been sitting on an overlook until dark, when Davis and another man arrived with horses to pick him up.

Williams told officers he thought a pack of wolves were coming after him. He then laid down, rested his .300 caliber Magnum rifle on a rock, looked through the scope and fired three shots.

"I looked through the scope and it looked like a pack of wolves," Williams said in court, according to the Livingston Enterprise.

Sheriff's Detective Scott Hamilton said earlier in the hunt, people had been talking about wolves and Williams got scared.

Wolves rarely attack people. A handful of bites have occurred in North America, all of them associated with animals habituated to towns or garbage.

An attack on a human, or even an attempted attack, has never been reported in the Northern Rockies. Wolves almost always run away from people.

Davis suffered a severe injury that likely will mean repeated surgeries and possibly a new elbow, Egeland said after the court appearance.

An orthopedic surgeon was in camp at the time and was able to tend to Davis' wounds until he could be transported off the mountain to an ambulance, law enforcement officials said.

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