This coyote Hunter facing charges was hunting at night. Is hunting at night on public lands a safety concern? I think so! Read on:
In what could be unprecedented charges, a coyote hunter is facing two felonies and a misdemeanor for the fatal shooting of two pet dogs at a wildlife area in Dane County in late January.
Kurt Rausch of Evansville is charged with two felony counts of mistreatment of animals and one misdemeanor count for the negligent handling of a firearm. He has been ordered to appear in Dane County Court on Thursday morning.
The Department of Natural Resources had declined to press charges.
The criminal complaint filed by Dane County Assistant District Attorney Paul Humphrey states that Rausch intentionally treated an animal belonging to Deanna Clark “in a cruel manner, resulting in the animal’s death.” If convicted, each count carries a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to three years. Rausch faces an additional fine up to $10,000 and imprisonment up to nine months for the misdemeanor charge.
According to the complaint, Rausch told a Dane County sheriff’s deputy that he was hunting coyotes at night on Jan. 22 in the Badfish Creek Wildlife Area, located about three miles southwest of Stoughton, when he shot two dogs belonging to Clark, a veterinarian. Clark was walking with her four dogs — all trained for skijoring — who were wearing reflective vests. In a letter to Humphrey, Clark states she was wearing a headlamp that is “as powerful as an automobile headlight.”
In the complaint, Rausch says that shortly after using a calling device he heard animals running to his location. “Rausch stated that he saw the eyes of what he believed to be a coyote and a face and pointy ears, and pulled the trigger, shooting the dog. Rausch stated that he did not realize it was a domesticated dog that he had shot.” Moments later Rausch shot a second animal who came running towards him, also believing it was a coyote.
According to the complaint, Clark then came running up to him screaming, “What did you do? You shot my dogs.” Click HERE to read more