Pulled gun on a shadow.

This is a discussion on Pulled gun on a shadow. within the Basic Gun Handling & Safety forums, part of the General Firearm Discussion category; Last November, I think I broke a firearm rule and would like to hear some thoughts. After opening day (deer rifle season) there was marked ...

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Thread: Pulled gun on a shadow.

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Pulled gun on a shadow.

    Last November, I think I broke a firearm rule and would like to hear some thoughts.

    After opening day (deer rifle season) there was marked reduction in sightings. Around mid-afternoon each day, I would get out and check for tracks. MI was no bate last year, and looking at the tracks, I could see that the deer were moving through the family acreage around the same time I was headed out, most likely headed away from some corn fields. Not looking to get into a side conversation on how I knew this, just offering back ground info.

    So I desided to head out, very early in the morning, way before sunrise. The plan was to get to the blind ahead of the movements. Note: I was not planing to shoot anything until after sunrise, just wanted to get there early.

    So around 3:30 AM I'm headed out, down the road, then cutting along a line fence to a corner of the property blind, deep in the woods. The snow was deep, but to my left were several pines, and no snow under them. On the property there have been bear, badger, and coyote (wild dog) sightings.

    I hear something big move and noticed a shadow. This is the same area my brother ran into a bear a few years ago. Later when I checked I could not find tracks. We have an agreement to follow wounded deer on the property, but not our property, so my time was short in looking for tracks. It could have been larger dog to bear sized, I could not tell. It was not a rabbit or squirrel. It could have been a deer, but it did not take off like a deer. Then again, deer don't always zip away, and I've even watched them crawl away under brush. My 30.06 was on a sling, and unloaded (as it was pre-sunrise, and I did not want a game warden problem).

    You are allowed to CC with permit while hunting in MI. Well this shadow startled me, and I pulled my Glock as I shined with a flashlight. In retrospect, I guess this could be considered illegal (aka shining). However, at that moment, I can honestly state I was not hunting.

    While I imagine a side conversation could develop concerning legal issues (was it shining), my primary concern is gun safety. I've been telling this story the last few months, and it was pointed out to me, that you should not shoot at shadows.

    Now I never shot, but it has me thinking. Did I break a firearm safety rule?
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  3. #2
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    In my opinion you didn't. You encountered an unknown, possibly dangerous situation. Drawing your weapon and light and checking the area seems prudent to me. If you had drawn and fired yes, that would be breaking a safety rule , not to mention very dangerous. You did fine as far as I'm concerned.

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    You did not postively identify your target.

    What if that "shadow" had been another hunter. Now he is sitting there at the base of a tree watching you and all of a sudden you clear leather and aim at him.

    Whats he supposed to think? Maybe his gun is loaded and all he knows is that you are pointing one at him.

    The possibilitys and outcomes here are endless. And for what? Because you are were startled at a shadow? How would you explain that to a Prosecutor?Game Warden?LEO ?

    Not good. Not good at all.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    You did not postively identify your target. What if that "shadow" had been another hunter...watching you and all of a sudden you clear leather and aim at him...Not good. Not good at all.
    Yep, that is the problem I was thinking about. After the fact I felt good how cleanly I drew. Why I've been repeating the story. In a way, I still do (feel good) because I at least know with the heart pumping, I can draw and aim quickly.

    However, I messed up on the ROE and firearm safety, and want to do things right.

    So any thoughts on what I should have done. Maybe flash light out, hand on firearm (in holster)? Also, does the advise apply to hunting, or maybe that noise outside your house in the middle of the night as well?
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    Senior Member Array TucAzRider's Avatar
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    Thanis - I'm from Michigan and have taken a number of deer back there with rifles, muzzleloaders and archery.. If anyone says you did wrong, they have clearly never hunted, alone going to a blind well before dark. Your mind does play tricks on you.. A lone squirrel will sound like a coyote, and a bird hopping can sound like a bear scraping the ground moving leaves around.. So with that being said, don't feel bad at all, in my eyes if it was another hunter, they shouldn't have been on your property (family property) and if it truly was a animal you had your weapon in the ready position.. Now to fire or even have your finger on the trigger would have been overdoing it..

    When I was 14 (first year rifle hunting) I was on my way out of the back forty well after dark and I saw on the trail about 75 yards up the shadow of something that looked like a crouched animal.. Well I remember stopping and looking and looking and my eyes even made it move a little.. I didn't know what it was in the trail and was totally freaked out that I was going to get eaten and no-one would know the difference,. I was alone. Well I finally thought about it and pulled up my rifle and started walking slowly towards it and when I got closer I could see that it was the wheel borrow with a load of deer food in it,. My dad had taken it out and left it there for me to feed the deer before coming in, not wanting to disturb me he left it there half way between where I was hunting and the cabin.. It taught me a real lesson on what the mind will do and of course don't over react to things like that afterwards,.. But I know that was really scary for me at the time..

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    When I'm hunting If I see another hunter I will whistle etc.to get his attention so I don't get shot.too many hunters get shot when they are mistaken for game,and I will risk spooking game instead of eating a bullet.I also do not hunt public land when deer hunting,I like to know who is around me with a gun and who has permission
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    Member Array jtyler05si's Avatar
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    I don't recall reading that you aimed at the "shadow". Did you draw the gun and point it with the flashlight at the object or just the flashlight?

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    Even had it been a bear or other animal they typically run than fight unless cornered. Perhaps you should walk in with a light on from now on if you are not comfortable in the dark? This would also let anyone else hunting nearby to know your location .
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    If you use a flashlight, don't forget to use a red filter on it.

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    If anyone says you did wrong, they have clearly never hunted, alone going to a blind well before dark. Your mind does play tricks on you..
    I say he did wrong and I've been hunting for 45+ years. The CHL Instructor in me thinks that one should absolutely,beyond a shadow of a doubt, know what the target is when you point a gun at it.

    The LEO in me thinks that if I have to take a statement from you because you shot someone by accident and you tell me that you saw something move in the shadows and you shot it, it isn't going to go very well for you.

    The Hunter in me would have a serious case of redass if you pointed a gun at me just because I was in a shadow behind a tree or for whatever reason you could articulate pointing a loaded gun at me.

    Thats reality. There is no sugar coating to it.

    People get shot by accident every year when hunting and it almost every case it was avoidable. They are no excuses for sloppy handling of firearms. If one is so scared of shadows that they feel the need to draw, then they need to use a light or stay home until they have enough daylight to identify the target.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Senior Member Array TucAzRider's Avatar
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    Hotguns - I respect your possition as a LEO and instructor.. He didn't point the gun at the shadow, says he just pulled the Glock and shined with his flashlight,. As a hunter for 45+ years I'm sure you know that are 3:30am in the morning on private land you don't find extra hunters laying wait in the shadows. 9.99 chances it is nothing, but if there is something there, having a holstered weapon and searching for the "thing" isn't wise. That would be like you thinking possible there is someone in a house as your clearing it with your weapon holstered because you was afraid of pointing it at someone. Are you sure "beyond a shadow of a doubt of your target when clearing a house"???? There could be a child behind that door your going into and you still have your weapon in the ready position?? Right??

    Yes people get die because of stupidity every year when hunting,.. But more all the time it is drunk people on state land,.. Or heart attacks,..

    Oh,.. And the hunter in you had better not be trespassing on private land,.. You know better then that being a LEO...

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    Senior Moderator
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    Oh,.. And the hunter in you had better not be trespassing on private land,.. You know better then that being a LEO...
    And yet it happens every day when hunting. People get shot in places where they aren't expected to be, all the more reason to be sure of where you are pointing the gun.

    Saying that you didnt know they were there, or he wasnt suppose to be there is no defense in court.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  14. #13
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    There are plenty of trespassers here in MI during deer season. The way I read it the OP did point his gun and light at the shadow. Bad idea IMO, I trust wild animals more than fellow hunters I don't know.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    Senior Member Array TucAzRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post

    Saying that you didnt know they were there, or he wasnt suppose to be there is no defense in court.

    Agreed,..

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    Senior Member Array TucAzRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    There are plenty of trespassers here in MI during deer season. The way I read it the OP did point his gun and light at the shadow. Bad idea IMO, I trust wild animals more than fellow hunters I don't know.

    I guess we need Thanis to clear this up... I didn't take it that way,.. Ready position I feel is ok,.. IMO.. (finger off the trigger) Pointing it is something I think we all agree on.. Not wise..

    I'm sure different parts of Mi are better and worse about that. In the Northern lower MI we didn't have issues with that,. People knew where they could and couldn't.. I hunted back there over hundreds of acres (farmer rent tons of land) and never encountered people coming where they wasn't suppose to..

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