It is not clear what is worst for Steven Egan, 52, . . . when he mistook his girlfriend for a pig or when he shot her. Egan shot Lisa Simmons, telling police that he thought she was a wild hog during a camping trip.
Major Steve Clair of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said that Egan had instructed Clair to stay at their campsite, but Simmons was looking for oranges. Egan had shot earlier at the hog and then heard Simmons rummaging in the woods. He shot her in the legs with a .30-caliber bullet.
Clair says that they are not going to charge Egan because “he was very sympathetic that he’d shot his girlfriend.” It is certainly good to have sympathy when you shoot your girlfriend, though the mistaken “hog” may be a bit less sympathetic when she gets back from the hospital.
The injury is a clear case of negligence. All hunting regulations state that a hunter should have visual contact before shooting at an animal. Egan shot in the blind after hearing the “hog” in the underbrush. We have previously discussed such hunting accidents (here and here and here and here and here) and “buck fever” cases. While I agree with the decision not to charge a crime, it is an interesting example of reckless conduct with a weapon that is not treated as a criminal act. Reckless driving is often charged as a crime, but not reckless hunting. Since I have often questioned criminal negligence and criminal recklessness prosecutions, I tend to view these cases as matters for tort liability. However, there is a lack of consistency in how recklessness cases are handled in hunting versus non-hunting cases.
While there is no indication of that Simmons will be less than sympathetic and sue, it would make for an intriguing case. Would Simmons’ leaving the campsite be viewed as contributory or comparative negligence. Hunting communities often expect a certain wherewithal from citizens. Consider Maine hunter Donald Rogerson. Mistaking a 37-year-old housewife for a white-tailed deer, Rogerson shot and killed her. Locals insisted that the victim (who had recently moved from Iowa) was to blame because she was wearing white mittens during deer season. And a Bangor, Maine, jury cleared him of manslaughter.
Of course, in a comparative negligence jurisdiction, Simmons would be viewed as far less negligent than her boyfriend. Indeed, even in a contributory negligence jurisdiction, Egan could be viewed as having the “last clear chance” under the theory of the “inattentive plaintiff.”
The most challenging question for Egan, however, is what do you get your girlfriend after mistaking her for a pig and shooting her. Any suggestions?
21 thoughts on “Florida Man Says He Shot Girlfriend Because She Looked Like A Pig”
I’d rule out an apple.
the comparison to driving recklessly is a great one. when one gets too many tickets, or perhaps accidentally kills someone with their vehicle, they frequently have to take a driving safety course. seems like a safe hunting refresher course is in order here. Not to say he was trying to harm his girlfriend, but shooting something he could not see just doesn’t seem like a good idea.
now if only hogs…i mean girlfriends, wore high visibility vests while searching for oranges during a hunting trip…
it’s gonna take more than a dozen roses to fix this one
“that hunters that fire at a target which they cannot see clearly ought to be charged and prosecuted severely…”
Change that hunters to “anyone firing a weapon” and we have a winner.
“I couldn’t see what I was shooting at” is as good of an excuse as “I didn’t know I was that drunk.”
Sadly, there is no law to prevent these two sub-IQs to breed.
“So while many of you seem to think this is a case of a hunter not identifying his game, I see it as a case of a guy trying to protect his campsite, himself, and his girlfriend but failing to be aware of where the other member of his party was.”
It’s true that wild hogs/boars can be very dangerous.
Someone is out in the woods.
They get attacked by a hog, who leaves them wounded, weakened and unconscious.
They are there for a day or so, too weak to get up and walk out.
They wake up and hear voices.
Too weak to call out and barely concious, they shake the undergrowth to make some noise.
Egan shoots them.
Even if it is a hog, it’s just rooting around in the undergrowth. Egan is not under threat. He’s not standing his ground in the face of a charging hog.
Shooting because something *might* be a hog that *might* at some time decide to attack is reckless. Someone shooting like that does need to be called out as a dangerous fool – even if they hit nothing.
I’m playing Devil’s Advocate a bit here. I do firmly agree with not shooting without seeing your target.
I don’t hold Egan quite to the same standard as I would a hunter sitting in a tree stand. Egan mistakenly (and stupidly) took a shot thinking he was protecting himself and his girlfriend, not because he thought he had a trophy hog pinned in some underbrush.
So ulitmately, I think that while as wrong as he is shooting, I don’t believe you can hold him criminally negligent.
Everyone is posting as if Egan was hunting. If that were the case then yes, clearly he is negligent.
From what I gather, however, Egan was not hunting and that he and Simmons were simply camping in a remote area and dealing with a wild hog.
Some may hear ‘hog’ and assume pig…while that’s techically correct, wild hogs are certainly not the kind of pig Old MacDonald had on his farm and they are not the kind that dig up truffles in France. Wild hogs are extremely aggressive, territorial, and can mess up a human pretty bad. They are a vicious invasive species.
So while many of you seem to think this is a case of a hunter not identifying his game, I see it as a case of a guy trying to protect his campsite, himself, and his girlfriend but failing to be aware of where the other member of his party was.
JCTheBigTree, thanks, that seems to be an important clarification that might make a difference in some circumstances.
But is it relevant to the standard that the shooter ought to have a clear shot and reasonable understanding of the consequences of taking that shot?
Just for the sake of pushing the example to the extreme: even if the target was a known armed serial killer, and the shooter was law enforcement, I just cannot see justification for taking a blind shot into brush or anything else that obscures the target.
I just cannot get around the shooter or the hunter having to clearly identify the target.
Of course if you hold hunters and shooters to a lesser standard, or if you believe in some kind of comparative negligence then you might argue that the dangerous nature of the target justified taking additional risk – but I don’t buy it.
I am pretty comfortable with ‘if you can’t see it, don’t shoot it’.
“A historic day . . . a situation Hallmark doesn’t make a card for.”
“A new boyfriend.”
And the winner is:
Detroit’s Third Circuit Judge Wade McCree !!!!!
A historic day . . . a situation Hallmark doesn’t make a card for.
Shouldn’t we consider all the evidence and get a picture of the girl friend before making up our minds in this case? OK, that wasn’t helpful.
It is just mind boggling that despite all the hunter education programs, still, every year, some misguided hunter fires into heavy brush and hurts or kills someone.
I am not sure how I feel about this right now. But certainly there is an argument to be made that hunters that fire at a target which they cannot see clearly ought to be charged and prosecuted severely.
After rereading some of the commentary in the post, I just do not believe comparative negligence ought to be at all relevant – right, I do realize it is not as though the courts have asked for my expert opinion.
To me the only reasonable standard is that a hunter discharging a firearm ought to have a clear view of his target. In addition I would say the hunter has an obligation to have some understanding of the ballistics of his weapon and the terrain so that he can make a reasonable assessment of the risk to what is behind the target as well.
That view is pretty restrictive. But I am not anti gun at all. On the contrary I have always believed the 2nd refers to individuals – not trying to start that debate here. I just believe discharging a firearm is serious business and requires a clear understanding of the consequences.
If it was the girlfriend shooting the boyfriend, would anyone be making such light of it? Would she be brought up on charges if there was a history of domestic violence against her implying that it was a revenge shooting? Local customs aside, once again, a Floridian police force has failed to do their job in conjunction with a shooting.
“The most challenging question for Egan, however, is what do you get your girlfriend after mistaking her for a pig and shooting her. Any suggestions?”
A new boyfriend.
I think our shoot ’em up hunter should have been criminally charged. It’s a clear case of attempted negligent homicide by shooting into a bush with no idea what he was shooting. His remorse is commendable but had it been another hunter or just a person collecting oranges would the officials be so lenient?
The guy is not very bright! He should have told the cops he felt threatened and shot in self defense under Stand Your Ground. He’d be home & dry with no cares.
You’re talking the Northern part of Florida….. Now that’s redneck…..
Just read about a case in Florida where a son is testifying against him dad in a murder case….
Since he already shot her the past tense “shot” not “shoot” is more appropriate. TalkinDog is a support dog.
She looks like a hog in the photo. I would say that his ears worked pretty good.
– but wipe off the blood first
Make sure they are not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_orange
Has the gun lobby anything to do with the legal position re reckless hunting?
Would a move to punish such recklessness be met with stiff opposition?
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