New York Man Hunts Deer After Sunset With Handgun . . . Kills Woman Walking Her Dogs

1511546281628We have periodically discussed hunting accidents and the sometimes curious treatment given by juries in excusing negligence. Thomas Jadlowski, 34,  faces the latest such charge. He shot and killed a woman who was walking her dogs in western New York.

Jadlowski was using a high-powered pistol when he spotted the deer some 40 minutes after sunset.  He fired and hit Rosemary Billquist, 43, in the hip as she was walking her two Labrador Retrievers in the field behind her home in Sherman.  He called 911 and applied pressure on her wound until paramedics arrived.  It didn’t help.  Billquist died soon afterward.

No charges have been fired against Jadlowski. However, the law prohibits hunting after sunset.  Moreover, Billquist was shot on land where Jadlowski was not authorized to hunt.  

We have often discussed hunting torts and the concept of “Buck Fever” or in this case Big Foot fever. For a prior column, click here.  The injury is a clear case of negligence. All hunting regulations state that a hunter should have visual contact before shooting at an animal. We have previously discussed such hunting accidents (here and here and here and here and here and here) and “buck fever” cases.

55 thoughts on “New York Man Hunts Deer After Sunset With Handgun . . . Kills Woman Walking Her Dogs”

  1. JT says: “The injury is a clear case of negligence. All hunting regulations state that a hunter should have visual contact before shooting at an animal.” Injury? INJURY? HELLO???? It’s called MURDER, not injury. In a sane and rational world–not this one, unfortunately–this would be first-degree murder. The killer deliberately shot his gun expecting to kill someone. The fact that the man claims he intended to kill what he “thought” was a deer does not alter the fact that he intended to kill someone. He certainly had no rational basis for his “assumption” that the woman was a deer and under the circumstances it would be absurd to argue that this was some sort of “hunting accident.”

  2. As a gun owning, hunting, West-Texan, I say he should be prosecuted for whatever charge his (at minimum) GROSS negligence can bring. If common sense cannot deter this behavior, perhaps long prison terms can.

  3. Neither side is immune but the trump crowd posting comments is worse. Comments are as dumb as you would read on yahoo.

  4. This is what I usually tell people who want more laws – there are already laws and regulations prohibiting this sort of reckless behavior. John454 is absolutely right. You keep your finger out of the trigger guard until ready to shoot, and you are responsible for everything behind your intended target. Plus, there are obvious reasons why hunting is only allowed in certain areas.

    This was absolutely negligence, and he should be charged.

  5. I would walk my dogs in the country during hunting season. I would wear some blaze orange and had blaze orange vests for the dogs.

  6. The knuckle draggers who hunt deer @ night use the technique known as “shining.” They use powerful flashlights, get the deer to freeze, making for an easy kill. That would make mistaking this poor woman for a deer highly unlikely.

    1. I wasn’t clear if he mistook her for the deer, or if he missed the deer and she was walking somewhere in the background and got hit.

      Whenever I see action movies with car chases, while they shoot at each other, I think, in real life, each and every one of those bullets would travel in its trajectory until it hit something…in the crowded city or suburbs where these movie chases always seem to take place. That might have been what happened here. He missed his target and that bullet kept flying until she stopped it.

      My father was so extremely strict about gun safety when we were growing up that it is really disturbing irresponsibility, even in movies. Another example is when an actor uses a loaded gun to point at someone as a hand gesture, like “let’s go.”

  7. Reckless indifference…….it’s murder and he should be prosecuted. Another “responsible” gun owner.

    1. Your sarcasm is infantile and factually ignorant. Do you seriously posit that there is no such thing as a “responsible” firearms owner in the United States? Behavior such as that exhibited by this man is quite obviously the exception with respect to firearms ownership in the United States. Common sense and any cursory statistical analysis would reveal that, but, you present it as the norm, in alleged confirmation of your own embittered biases.

      I’m sure that you also bemoan irresponsible automobile ownership in instances of drunk driving fatalities with as much passion and vociferousness.

      Your obvious anti-firearms bias clouds your judgment and hinders your ability to articulate cogent, well-reasoned statements. Passion in service of an ideology makes for poor debate and even poorer jurisprudence.

    2. Another pre-holiday hunting “accident”:

      AZ: Daisy Mountain Fire Department: Captain dies in hunting accident
      November 18, 2017

      From ABC15 dot com

      ANTHEM, AZ – The Daisy Mountain Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of their own.

      Fire officials say Captain David “Wade” Barter died in a hunting accident in Colorado on Thursday.

      Details on Barter’s death are still pending at this time.

      Barter was a 17-year veteran of the department and a U.S. Navy veteran.

      Information on funeral services has not been released at this time. -ABC15 dot com

      1. And another one:

        KY: Kentucky man shot to death while hunting deer by his hunting partner
        November 24, 2017

        From Mike Stunson, Kentucky dot com

        A man shot and killed his hunting partner Thursday morning in Breckinridge County, according to Kentucky State Police said.

        Christopher B. Stone, 43, of Irvington, was deer hunting with Nicholas Lee Ford, 39, of Brandenburg when Stone fired his rifle into an overgrown field surrounded by woods off JE Haynes Road in Irvington, according to police.

        Ford was shot in the back, according to police. He was taken to Breckinridge Memorial Hospital, where he died, police said.

        The investigation remains open. – from Kentucky dot com

  8. Suppose that Turley’s posts were an opportunity to put two and two together. Further suppose that the poor unfortunate woman, Rosemary Billquist, had been walking Vice Regal Dog, Gavel, in the field behind her home. Finally suppose that the deer hunter, Thomas Jadlowski, had shot and killed Vice Regal Dog, Gavel. Now defend the deer hunter.

    1. Diane – unless the dog is the size of an elkhound, it isn’t big enough to take a shot at. German Shepherds are too low to the ground to be mistaken for deer. You need a better analogy. 😉

      1. Paul, I’m plying the appeal to pity, here. Why bring reason to bear on it?

        P. S. The last I heard, The Norwegian Elkhound is about the same size as a GSD. The Tibetan Mastiff is about 38″ at the shoulder. Ditto for Irish Wolfhounds. And if the dog were a Caucasian Ovtcharka at 300 lbs the deer hunter would likely be in the morgue, instead.

        1. Diane – I am going to start with a premise here. YOU have never been hunting, right? Answer that and we can move on, step by step. BTW, your analogy still sucks.

          1. Your damned straight I’ve never been hunting. And I never will. Remember what Thumper told Bambi. “I don’t think your mother’s coming back.” Now imagine telling that to Rosemary Billquist’s son, if she had one. Otherwise imagine that part, too. “Man is in the forest.” And they all started running; didn’t they?

            1. Diane – you are talking about something you know nothing about. Watching Bambi does not count. When you have been hunting, get back to me.

  9. Prof. Turley, please stop echoing this headline. It’s murder. No one hunts deer with a pistol, especially after dark. It’s not even worth my time to explain why.

  10. Enigma, do you know what common courtesy is? If you were golfing, would you at least let a golfing buddy stay focused when he would be teeing off or putting. Or would you get on your cell phone and talk loud to distract your fellow golfer. I definitely feel this so called hunter was at the very least negligent.

  11. I had an experience 2 years ago. Myself and a friend went to a wildlife management area to hunt pheasants with my 2 black labs. As we walked down the dirt road to the fields there was a woman there with a group of people( her customers) she was giving people rides in a small cart being pulled by sled dogs. As we walked towards the fields she and a young man confronted us to stop us from hunting in that area. Me and my friend decided to go to another area close by. Rethinking this situation I should have filed charges against her for hunter harassment. I could also picture her telling law enforcement that we pointed our guns at her. Remember we paid for the pheasants with our license money. There is a tax on guns and ammo that goes towards land purchases. We( hunters) pay for wma land but can’t use it on Sunday. The rest of the public can use the land on Sunday, but hunters( who paid for the land) cannot. I don’t go hunting in the dark. I have to see what’s going on around me.

  12. A 200 yard shot, at dusk, in an area with residences. Sounds like criminally negligent homicide to me.

  13. Seeking a deer, after dark, in a place where people walk their dogs, isn’t really hunting, no matter what the criminal or government want to call it.

  14. May take awhile but apparently these gun nuts are committed .unconsciously ro killing each other off, one goofball at a time.

  15. Who the hell hunts with a pistol? I had a hard time adjusting to people hunting with deer with shotguns and slugs, but this is beyond the pale.

    He clearly has taken responsibility and I give him big points for that. Which means it was probably accidental. And there are 3 different sunsets with 3 different times, so unless state law states which one they are going by he may be within one of the sunset time zones and safe on that issue. She should not be walking her dog without reflective gear on, especially in that light. She is an attractive nuisance. It was light enough for him to see her and for her to walk the dogs. I am calling it iffy.

    1. I did for one. Also rifles, shotguns, bows and arrows but in the end and AFTER Vietnam I went to bows and then cameras. As a youngster I was trained to shoot, with safety, only when seeing the target clearly, we hunted for meat on the table and never for trophies, did not violate property lines and fences, and the hardest of all was sent out with first only two bullets then with one with admonition. Come back with the bullet, the animal or don’t come back. Those skills were honed in the Army and that was our unit.

      The rest were in the spray the landscape mode with a couple of full auto magazines. But then the Army wasn’t really much on marksmanship training back then. unless you were on a shooting team or the standard trick was to bolo (fail) the first two times just to get to shoot more. Then shoot expert on the third go round. But hunting at night or with different weapons was all part of growing up with my raised in the depression era parent.

      So sue me. there was no such thing as food stamps etc. But now it’s impossible to go back. All that land is at best in 20 acre or 10 acre lots and half of it one acre.

      When did it start going wrong? When the Californians moved into Oregon and californicated the place.

      We also spent hours picking- elderberrys, wild blackberrys etc. fishing and learning all the skills that used to be taken for granted.like swimming and driving and fixing an engine. Tom Wolfe was right. You can never go back. But you can go forward.

      As for thiis individual. Based on the twhat was presented I’d guess Second Degree as it wasn’t intentional nor was it involuntary. but that’s being preducial or judging before the facts are in evidence and a lot of other factors

      Use as pistol? Why not? it’s just a rifle with a short barrel. The rules are still the same. It’s a tool but if you screw up you get to pay a price.

      1. ) – I carried a pistol to make the final kill, if necessary, but not take the first shot.

      2. You did not hunt a deer with a pistol after dark in a public area. Stop trying to justify murder. This is not a story about slamming gun rights. It’s the murderer’s attorney’s pitiful attempt to defend his client.

    2. Handgun hunting is well established and as safe or safer than hunting using a centerfire rifle. All manner of game has been taken with handguns up to bears, on this continent and if my memory serves, even a elephant.
      Yhis is either a case of gross negligence, or there is more to this story than first meets the eye.

      1. It’s hunting season on the Cape. You can hear the gunshots at dawn every weekend, and you can see the trucks on the sides of the roads next to the forests’ edges. Everyone here knows it’s a really good idea to wear a reflective vest when walking their dogs in the numerous parks, marshes, and preserves. Are people completely lacking in responsibility for their own safety where you live?

        1. If deer hunters get to shoot at anything that moves, are they completely lacking in responsibility for their neighbors’ safety where you live?

          1. Your subordinate clause is nonsensical, Diane.
            In case you are unaware, there are prohibitions regarding hunting near residences in MA.

            1. If deer hunters are prohibited from shooting at anything that moves, then why is Rosemary Billquist dead at the age of 43?

              P.S. Does that subordinate clause make any sense to you?

        2. I couldn’t tell from the story whether she was on her own property or not, it only said it was in the back of her home. The story did say that it was in an area where no hunting was allowed. Does being responsible mean wearing a reflective vest everywhere? Maybe inside your home? Can’t be too safe.

          1. The situation is tragic, every poster here agrees with that. No rational person here believes the woman is at fault for what happened to her. However, if one lives in an area with a lot of hunting activity, doing what one can to prevent events like this is just common sense.

            1. So Rosemary Billquist is not to blame for her own tragic demise. Instead, she lacked sufficient common sense to do what she could to prevent having been killed by a deer hunter while walking her dogs in the field behind her house in the dark. That’s different. Never mind.

      1. Michael Blott – no moon? I agree about the no hunting at night, but I am not sure it was night yet.

    3. Hunters are supposed to know what they shoot at. He killed a person, not a deer. I don’t care what time sunset is, I don’t care if it is civil, nautical, or astronomical twilight. He killed a person when he said he shot at a deer. Clearly she is not a deer. Clearly it is murder. Yes he appeared to be very sorry for his act of criminality, after the fact. Too bad he didn’t have such a thought before he pulled the trigger.

  16. The four firearms safety rules are as follows:
    All guns are always loaded.
    Never let the muzzle cross anything you are not willing to destroy.
    Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.
    Be sure of your target and beyond. (Like a woman walking her dogs.)

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