Hunter Who Shot Hiker to Face Manslaughter Charge
According to today's Skagit Valley Herald and the Seattle Times, the 14-year old hunter who accidentally shot and killed hiker Pamela Almli on the Sauk Mountain Trail Aug. 2 will be charged with first-degree manslaughter. According to the article:
"[prosecutor Rich] Weyrich said that the teen failed to follow several guidelines in the state’s hunting safety manual — mainly being sure of a target and what lies beyond it in the bullet’s path.
The boy, a licensed hunter who took the hunting class when he was 9 years old, is required by state law to know and follow the regulations."
The article also says that the boy will be charged as a juvenile, and could face up to nine months in a state juvenile detention facility.
In related news, the Tacoma News Tribune published an editorial urging that state law be changed to require an experienced adult hunter to accompany hunters under the age of 18. The editorial also asks why hunting is allowed on high-use trails. And on his blog, hiking guidebook author Craig Romano wonders why hunters were on Sauk Mountain when bears have been so abundant on more remote trails this season.
As I mentioned previously in my blog, we've received many passionate comments on this topic both on our blog and in emails. Please continue to send us your thoughts. WTA is looking into opportunities during the next legislative session to revise the laws that allow minors to hunt unaccompanied by an adult. And we'll be in conversations with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Forest Service and other land management agencies to find ways to increase hiker safety on trails.