Law nabs teen for hunting miscues
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Shooting a turkey brings charges
By George Barnes TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WINCHENDON— An alleged poacher may have gobbled off more than he
could chew yesterday when, according to police, he shot a turkey in the
front yard of a home on Forristall Road.
Environmental Police Sgt. Anthony E. Wolski said an-18-year-old boy will face charges of discharging a firearm within
500 feet of a dwelling, hunting turkey during a closed season, hunting
turkey without a permit, hunting with the aid and use of a motor
vehicle, discharging a firearm from a highway and two counts of
possession of a loaded weapon in a motor vehicle after admitting to
police that he shot a turkey that was at a bird feeder.
Sgt. Wolski said the homeowner heard a gunshot near his
home and looked out to see a turkey had been shot within 20 feet of the
house. He saw a Jeep Cherokee speeding off and contacted police.
Winchendon Police Officers James Spofford and Tracy Flagg responded
and also contacted Sgt. Wolski and Environmental Police Sgt. Joseph
Paolilli, who happened to be in the area delivering a deer killed by a
poacher in Ashburnham to the Otter River Sportsmen’s Club to use in its
wild game supper.
The Winchendon police stopped a Jeep Cherokee with two people in it
and called in the Environmental Police officers to investigate. The
Environmental Police located the dead turkey and then joined Officers
Spofford and Flagg at the stopped vehicle.
“They were wearing hunting clothes, but there were no guns in the
vehicle,” Sgt. Wolski said. “The guns were hidden in the woods by a
In searching the vehicle, the officers found a 20-gauge birdshot
shell and a shotgun case. Officer Spofford then found some tracks in the
woods that led to a muzzle-loader rifle and two shotguns.
The boy was then taken to the Winchendon police station where he
signed a statement admitting to shooting the turkey. He was issued
citations by the Environmental Police and is expected to be formally
charged in Winchendon District Court later this week. Sgt. Wolski said
the other two people may also be charged with offenses relating to the
shooting of the bird.
“It’s still under investigation,” he said.
Sgt. Wolski said the boy could face severe penalties if convicted
on the charges. The charges may result in fines or a sentence of 30 days
in the House of Correction or both. He could also lose his hunting
privileges, have his firearms identification card confiscated and have
the shotgun used in the killing confiscated.
“The homeowner was extremely upset,” Sgt. Wolski said. “He fired from his vehicle. He parked his vehicle on the road and
shot his gun right toward the house.”
Sgt. Wolski said he also found the incident disheartening because the
boy had taken a 15-hour hunter safety course with him two years ago. He
said the course covered all hunting laws and regulations. He said turkey
hunting season is in May, but there have been a rash of turkeys being
shot on people’s lawns recently. He said that type of incident is
unusual, in part because it is illegal to discharge a weapon close to a
The turkey will be donated to the Winchendon Rod and Gun Club for its
“Anything like that we donate to local sportsmen’s clubs,” he said.