Oregon Man Shoots At “Bear” and Kills Marine on a Hike

We have previously discussed “buck fever” cases and the relative absence of civil or criminal penalties for fatal hunting accidents historically. This week saw another tragic case after Marine reservist Christopher A. Ochoa, 20, was shot while hiking with a friend. Gene Collier, 67, says that he though Ochoa was a bear while hunting with his grandson.

The 12-year-old grandson was with his grandfather at the time of the shooting. Collier, who had not been drinking, said that he was confused by Ochoa’s wearing dark clothing. Ochoa was due back for duty on Oct. 25.

Prosecutors indicated that they viewed the death as an accident and no charges have been filed in the case.

Yet, it would seem that Collier did not wait to have a clear view of the “bear” before shooting. That would seem a clear case of negligence. Yet, juries in hunting areas tend to excuse such accidents, particularly by younger hunters. For a prior column, click here. This may change as urban areas continue to encrouch upon traditional hunting areas and fewer people engage in the sport. Ultimately, however, the issue for a jury comes down to a “reasonable hunter” standard. This can create a sharp contrast on a regional level. In the 1980s, Karen Ann Wood, 37, was outside in her backyard shot in her own backyard when she was shot by Donald Rogerson, a deer hunter. Wood, the mother of twin baby girls died minutes later. However, a Bangor jury refused to indict the local hunter for manslaughter and many defended him saying that Wood created the danger by going out in her backyard wearing a brown jacket and white mittens. The Wood family had just moved to the area from Davenport, Iowa.

I discussed these buck fever cases in class as part of our discussion of the differences in the perception of reasonableness. The hunting cases are also relevant on the question of adult activities. Children engaged in adult activities are held to an adult standard. However, despite the need for a permit, some states do not treat hunting as an adult activity. Indeed, there has been a race to the bottom of the age scale in some states in lowering the age for hunters and companies are marketing “kiddie shotguns.”

Source; Statesman as first seen on Reddit.

27 thoughts on “Oregon Man Shoots At “Bear” and Kills Marine on a Hike”

  1. Blouise There is no excuse for Collier’s “mistake” as any real hunter, whether he be firearm or bow, knows. He killed a 20 year old man due to careless hunting skills and should be required to face that fact in a court of law.

    Exactly…never point at anything your not willing to kill, and ALWAYS know what your target is…

    I would at least HOPE that these people get their hunting license revoked for life.
    Like Blouise said No excuse for that…

  2. Gene Collier was poaching. I heard someone that told about his lifetime of poaching. He was caught and charged a few times.

  3. Why is everyone questioning why he shot at a bear? I didn’t see anything in the article that said he was Deer hunting, bear hunting is perfectly legal in most states. Also the article states that he was NOT drinking, don’t people read?

    THAT being said, I’ve been shooting guns and hunting since I was about 5 or 6, starting with the old .22 rifle. I have NEVER understood why someone would take a shot at a movement in the woods.

    Beyond the tenent of KNOWING what you’re shooting at, there is also a tenent in hunting that says you never take a shot unless you have a clean kill shot lined up…this is so you don’t cause unnecessary suffering to the hunted animal. Those two things should keep any even-less-than-competent hunter from shooting another person.

    Yes, Ochoa should have been wearing Blaze orange, being in a hunting area during hunting season…but this is certainly not an instance where you can blame the victim.

    Said story and a sad fact that individuals such as Collier make the rest of us hunters look like blood hungry morons.

    And about Cheney… Listen, I hate the guy as much as anyone with any sense of right and wrong, but the hunting accident was not something he should have gone to jail for unless he was drinking (which some said he was)…

  4. ‘Gene Collier’ not Donald R. !!

    Maybe I was still infuriated at what Donald Rumsfield did to an American citizen on U.S. soil – Jose Padilla.

  5. Go after Donald R. for shooting at a bear at all. He was hunting deer, not bear.
    Throw him in jail for being an IDIOT for shooting at a supposed bear without a clear shot and without knowing if the supposed bear has companions.
    What was allowed under the hunting laws?
    I bet the penalty is greater for shooting a non-threatening bear out-of-season than any penalty he receives for manslaughter.

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