HERNDON - A Juniata County man turkey hunting near here Thursday
morning was seriously injured after being shot by another hunter who
mistook him for game.
The victim, described as a 46- or 47-year-old man from Richfield,
was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where he was listed
in serious condition Thursday evening, according to Tim Conway,
information education supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game
Commission's Northeast Region, based in Dallas.
Conway said he could not release the victim's name as of early
Thursday evening because he was unsure if the man's family had yet
been notified of his condition.
As for the shooter, Scott R. Schreffler, 34, of Lititz, Conway said
he will not be cited until the victim's condition stabilizes.
"After we determine how he's going to do, then the appropriate
charge will be filed against him, which will probably be shooting and
causing seriously body damage to a human while hunting," Conway said.
According to Conway, the two men, who do not know each other, were
hunting separately in the vicinity of each other on private property
in Jackson Township near Herndon.
The victim's sister, who was with her brother, told authorities
that both she and her brother heard a turkey gobble nearby, so, after
a little while, her brother got up and began walking a little further
away along a dirt access road, Conway said.
It was around this same time - at about 10:40 a.m. - that
Schreffler, who was set up against a tree calling birds, also heard
what sounded like a turkey gobble.
Schreffler reportedly said that, from his position, he saw what he
believed was the red head of a gobbler and fired his .12-gauge
"The shooter thought what he saw was the red head of a male
turkey," Conway said. "What he saw was the orange hat of the victim.
"That was a terrible, terrible mistake."
The victim, who was shot from about 30 yards away, took pellets to
his head, face, arm and upper leg, Conway said.
Upon realizing he shot another hunter, Conway said Schreffler first
provided assistance, then, using his cell phone, called 911.
Schreffler then got on his all-terrain vehicle and drove to the
nearest road, Route 3006, where he waited for emergency crews to
arrive so he could direct them to the victim.
"After the shooting, (Schreffler) did everything right," Conway
commented. Conway said that if Schreffler was truthful in saying that
he shot only after spotting what he believed was the red head of a
gobbler, he made a mistake.
"What a hunter needs to see is the beard of a mature gobbler before
shooting," Conway explained.
The beard is a mass of black, coarse, horse-hair-like feathers
located on the chest of a male turkey that grows anywhere from 1 to 9
inches in length, depending on the age of the bird. A legal turkey -
or one that can be harvested - must have a visible beard, Conway said.
Conway said Wildlife Conservation Officer Kris Krebs is
investigating the incident as a hunting accident and not a criminal
act, based on the information he has obtained.
As for Schreffler, Conway said he most likely will be fined and
lose his hunting privileges for an undetermined number of years if
found guilty of
the afore-mentioned charge, unless the victim's condition takes a
turn for the worse. In that case, Conway said more serious charges
could be filed.