By ELMER PLOETZ
News Southtowns Bureau
Jill Laufer says she always has been concerned when she has heard
the boom of hunters' guns going off around the Warner Hill area
of Wales where she lives.
But the home she lives in is in a wide-open area, and she never thought
it would really happen. At least not until Tuesday night, when she
was putting her 6-year-old son, Nicholas, to bed.
Nicholas' bed was covered in a fine white powder, and he pointed out
there was a hole in the wall next to his closet.
"Then I saw the hole in the wall in the back of the closet, and
it took me a couple of minutes to put two and two together," said
"Then I saw the shotgun shell on the floor, the slug.
"It came in through the side of the house on the second floor.
It went through the attic, then through his closet and shot right across
The final week of the shotgun season for deer ended with one other report
of a deer slug striking a home in Elma, but that final flurry could be
misleading. According to Erie County Sheriff's Deputy William Cranston,
that brought the county's total of homes struck by deer slugs
to three for the season.
Wednesday, deputies were also investigating an incident on Pond Brook
Drive in Elma, where residents returned to their home to discover a 12-
gauge shotgun slug had ricocheted through a second-floor window.
"A 12-gauge slug is traveling at least 500 yards," said
Cranston, who works in the department's firearms and ordnance office. "The
hunter has to be mindful of the other property owners and homeowners."
On Dec. 2, a resident was present when a slug struck his home on Matteson
Corners Road in Sardinia, but nobody was injured.
All three shootings are under investigation. The Sardinia incident
is the only one in which a hunter was identified in the area. "Hopefully
with the end of deer season, these will end," said Cranston.
Meaghan Boice-Green, the spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental
Conservation's Region 9, which includes Western New York, said
hunters' shots striking homes were also reported in Arcade and Lewiston,
with no injuries.
While the number of deer hunters has been declining, the total for
New York State is expected to top 650,000 this year. There were 684,000
deer management unit permits issued last year. Boice-Green said no
breakdown is available for Region 9, but the DEC's
deer season preview said 20,545 antlered bucks and 55,480 total deer
were killed by hunters in Erie, Niagara, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua
and Wyoming counties last year.
"We've had fewer hunter-related shooting accidents than ever," Boice-Green
said. Laufer would like to see even fewer. "I just want to make
hunters aware they have to be more careful of what they're doing," she
said. "They shouldn't be on property they haven't
gotten permission to go on. They need to just follow the law."