By Tim Unruh
KANOPOLIS RESERVOIR — A Salina woman was ticketed Sunday for shooting a deer on state property near Kanopolis Reservoir.
Monte Nelson, who lives nearby, said he was among two parties driving near Horsethief Road and Utley Boulevard when they heard the shot. He went to investigate and confronted a man.
“I said, ‘Why in the hell are you shooting deer in the state park?’ He said he never saw a ‘No hunting’ sign, but there was one 30 or 40 yards away. Then he wanted to fight me,” Nelson said. “I never got out of the pickup.”
He called 911 to report the shooting, which occurred about half a mile south of the Kanopolis State Park office.
An Ellsworth County sheriff’s deputy responded, and later, Hal Kaina, game warden in McPherson and Rice counties, cited Virginia Harris, 56, of Salina, for criminal hunting, said A.J. Meyer, game warden in Ellsworth and Lincoln counties.
Meyer was in northern Lincoln County when the 911 call was received.
Meyer said the shooting, with a 12-gauge shotgun, occurred at 4:50 p.m. — less than half an hour before sunset — just outside the state park gate but still on state property.
Poaching noticed in area
Meyer said the hunters took advantage of the docile nature of the deer, which spend a lot of time among people living in the communities near the reservoir.
“The deer around there are obviously fairly tame. It’s not much to walk up to one, at least within shotgun range,” he said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of sport involved in this hunt.”
Folks who live in the communities have noticed deer poaching over the years, Nelson said.
“It just makes you angry. They’re almost like pets. If you ask homeowners, you can feed them. I’ve seen people try hand-feeding, but you can’t come up and cuddle them,” Meyer said.
The deer Harris allegedly shot was about 50 feet from the side of the road and from 35 to 50 yards from private property.
“It made me happy, in a way, that we finally caught somebody,” Nelson said. “Who knows how many deer they’ve gotten over the years?”
Criminal hunting charged
Meyer filed the citation Monday with the clerk of Ellsworth County District Court in Ellsworth.
Criminal hunting, a Class C misdemeanor, is charged when someone doesn’t have permission or didn’t attempt to obtain permission to hunt on private land, Meyer said, in this case, state property.
If Harris is convicted, the court will decide on fines, Meyer said. The court also might require Harris to forfeit hunting and fishing licenses for up to one year.