Not Guilty Verdict for Wyoming Moose Shoot: Defensive Gun Use of the Day

A moose (courtesy ammoland.com)

[Ammoland.com]– In early 2016, Chauncy G. Goodrich and his family started having problems with a young bull moose on their property near Pinedale, Wyoming. They were repeatedly chased by the moose. They tried various non lethal methods to haze the moose away. They worked for a short period, but the bull continued to hang around the area.

By July of 2017, the non-lethal methods were exhausted and/or were no longer effective. Chauncy took a 7mm Magnum with him as a precaution when he attempted to chase the moose off his property and away from his wife and young children.

The bull was in velvet. It started to move away, then charged him. He shot it in the chest, and it died. Chauncy called the game warden and texted him. From pinedaleroundup.com:

“He stated he tried to push the moose away from his house when it charged him and he shot it,” it says. “… On 7/24/2017 he texted me saying he had put that bull down.”

Last Tuesday, July 25, Roundup reporters went to the Schroeder Ranch, near Goodrich’s property, where they observed a dead bull moose lying in tall grass, its antlers in the velvet stage.

Haley’s affidavit states that he, Pinedale supervisor John Lund and Warden Jordan Kraft went to the “kill site” and found the moose with a single gunshot wound to its left chest and a spent 7 mm magnum rifle casing by the tree where Goodrich reported to be when he shot it.

“The wound path indicated the bull was shot as it was facing Goodrich head on,” Haley wrote.

Moose have killed and maimed numerous people with their hoofs. They clearly have the means and motive for homicide.

In self defense law, if someone has repeatedly and credibly threatened you and your family with deadly force, most people would believe you would be justified if you finally resort to deadly force when credibly threatened.   Animals are incapable of committing crimes, because they cannot read or know the law.

Chauncy was charged with the illegal take of a moose. The crime is a high misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Chauncy decided to take the case to a jury of his peers. On January 17, after a one day trial, the jurors returned a verdict after an hour and 15 minutes.

I suspect Chancy’s legal fees were a couple of thousand dollars. He did not spend time in jail. I like Washington State’s system. If you are prosecuted in a self-defense case, and are found not guilty, the state will reimburse you.

From apps.leg.wa.gov:

Defending against violent crime—Reimbursement.

(1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.

(2) When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense. This reimbursement is not an independent cause of action. To award these reasonable costs the trier of fact must find that the defendant’s claim of self-defense was sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. If the trier of fact makes a determination of self-defense, the judge shall determine the amount of the award.

Model legislation for all states should include defense against animal attack. I have read of prosecutions for defense against moose, bears, and dogs. There are likely others.

2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

comments

  1. avatar No one of consequence says:

    “The bull was in velvet.”

    So it was clearly about to turn its life around…

    Seriously, sounds like they did make an honest effort to drive it off, and then didn’t try to hide the fact of their last resort. Good on them, and good on the jury.

    The judge, however, should have words with the prosecutor who brought this to trial in the first place.

  2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “Chauncy was charged with the illegal take of a moose.”

    Why? Why would the game warden charge him when the evidence was clear, convincing and consistent with self-defense?

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      Because statists gotta state.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        Because bureaucrats have the rule “if in doubt, prosecute”, or just “prosecute”. It takes away their responsibility for actually having to make a decision.

    2. avatar Arc says:

      I’m at a loss for the ‘taking’ part… he declared it and didn’t benefit from it, aside from safety. It actually cost him money if you factor in lost time and the bullet. Good shoot.

      Another example of how the law will never be on your side, ever. Doing what you need to do and not enlightening other people to your business is often the best route.

      Normally I harp on good fencing makes good neighbors but there isn’t shit to do against a bull moose. Can’t expect people to use foundation-set, heavy gauge, chainlink unless they are a warren buffet.

      1. avatar Mad Max says:

        Yep. He should just dug a hole and buried it.

        I’m not a hunter and don’t know anything about hunting. If the moose attacked me, and I had to kill it (with or without a firearm), I would have just buried it.

        Might have been a little pissed about having to dig the hole, thought.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      The fact that the jury did not return a guilty verdict does not mean that the evidence was clear that it was self-defense. I doubt that condensing a trial down to a couple paragraphs in a blog doesn’t lose some information.

      Unless you think OJ was definitely innocent…

      1. avatar Guardiano says:

        So you’re a willing subject who enjoys the idea of paying to hunt the King’s deer.

    4. avatar Patrick says:

      Does anyone know how much the prosecution cost tax payers? Pardon my ignorance, but this would be tax funded, as it’s a criminal prosecution?
      I would almost understand a little investigation if the same guy kept shooting moose(s) in a suspicious manner, but one perfectly reasonable moose attack defense scenario just doesn’t seem profitable enough to pursue a potential unlicensed hunting crime. Not that profitability is the State’s concern. I realize that the investigation consisted of talking to the guy, looking at the corpse and “analyzing” the entry wound, but I imagine there are papers, fees, etc.

  3. avatar 33Charlemagne says:

    I haven’t seen the evidence but as a former prosecutor this sounds like a case that should not have made it past the screening process.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      I don’t see how it ever came to the persecutor’s attention, unless of course the warden is a more useless parasite than the persecuting attorney is…

  4. avatar jwm says:

    Wow. Just. Fucking. Wow.

    I know some folks that ought to be jobless now.

  5. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    Wait, I thought we’re just supposed to give assailants whatever they want. You know ‘compliance’;-)

  6. avatar Fit2BTyed says:

    So, if he would have just butchered the animal and loaded up meat for the winter and didn’t tell anyone, he would have saved himself from all this heartache and government overreach? This beast was on his land for gosh sakes.

    1. avatar troutbum5 says:

      Had he been caught, he would certainly have been convicted. He did the right thing, and the jury recognized that.

  7. avatar anonymoose says:

    That moose din du nuffin!

    1. avatar TrappedInCommiefornia says:

      #mooselivesmatter

    2. avatar Chris. says:

      He was Surrendering! Walking up; His antlers held up in Surrender!

      1. avatar M60E3 says:

        One time a møøse bit my sister..

  8. avatar Rob says:

    So guy does everything right, and they still try and get him…and the meat wastes.

    Had he kept his mouth shut, no issues and the meat wouldn’t have been wasted.

    lesson, don’t tell anyone…

    Which makes you think, did they go after this guy in part to send that message?

    As is, they had maybe a 50/50 chance at getting him, even better if he lacked the funds for a good defense…(and some would just roll over take a plea out of fear). But had he not called, and was some how caught, its slam dunk guilty.

    Seems like its not just the numbers game of missing the shots you don’t take, but a bit of social engineering as well.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      No meat is ever wasted in nature. The crows, buzzards and coyotes all ate well that night.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      The article did not mention the fate of the carcass. We don’t know if the meat went to someone’s freezer or became coyote food.

      1. avatar Guardiano says:

        The game warden probably filled his XXL chest freezer. Game wardens are among the lowest form of scum. They sent a flyer to my department asking us to stop a “known poacher’s” pickup if we see it and call them. You better believe I’d watch that green Dodge Ram cruise by my stop sign enforcement hiding spot and give him a salute and “godspeed, my good man.”

        1. avatar John of Austria says:

          Haha, good for you, sir. Nice to hear from the LEOs who aren’t like the petty mandarins that always make the news. Thanks for what you do!

    3. avatar Arc says:

      If the carcass was left behind it will be stripped to the bone within a week. Nature doesn’t waste food and the minerals will go back into the soil to be recycled. It may even be a fairly green spot in the future.

      Prime example of why you keep your business to yourself.

  9. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Yet another example of someone self reporting an incident and getting a bunch of trouble for his honesty.

  10. avatar DoomGuy says:

    Off topic, but looking at the Regulations.gov page the Bloomberg beta males and feminazis were more committed in spamming their form-letter lies with fake accounts and names, while our side looks like it couldn’t be bothered.

    We’re about to lose everything at the hands of the atf.

    1. avatar Guardiano says:

      Can you elaborate on your alarmist pronouncement, please?

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        Bump-stock ban proposed rule-making comment period. Not the proposed rule comment period, but the “we’re planning on making a rule about bumpstocks, we are required to inquire about the economic impact of such a rule.” Then comes the proposed rule comment period.

  11. avatar Colt Magnum says:

    I hope this hasn’t changed.When I started carrying 30 yrs. ago, in Washington State, you couldn’t be sued for civil damages, if your self-defense was ruled justifiable.

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    The argument could be made that he went after the moose with a gun when he should have stayed in the house. I don’t fault him for taking it, just pointing out what a prosecutor could start out with.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Yep. Shelter in place and call your government overlords to come and fix your problems. They’ll be there in an hour or two. Maybe.

  13. avatar pieslapper says:

    Why did it take a jury, in Wyoming no less, an hour and 15 minutes to find him not guilty?

    1. avatar Arc says:

      Maybe they went out for moose steaks and an hour and fifteen minutes is their lunch break?

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      When I served on jury duty, we figured out that at a certain point they would feed us. If you sit around the jury room and shoot the bull ’till lunchtime, the bailiff will bring you some grub.

      1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        This probably would have been dinnertime as it was a one day trial.

        Juries tend to do their job carefully and conscientiously. This jury would have first had to determine that he did shoot the moose illegally and, only then, determine if he had a legal excuse. Then, if the statute about legal fees applies, determine how much “reasonable” legal fees would be. They’d have to select a foreman, go over the charge, take pee breaks, etc. An hour and fifteen minutes isn’t that long to properly do their job.

        1. avatar John of Austria says:

          Oh yeah, an hour and fifteen is quite expeditious considering all the procedural stuff involved, and that you’ve got to make sure everyone agrees and has a chance to say their piece.

  14. avatar Uh-huh says:

    Didn’t he call the Game warden to tell him he was being harassed by a moose earlier?
    Why the hell didn’t the Game warden come take care of the problem animal, by either killing it and donating meat or relocating the animal.
    The whole problem could have been avoided; isn’t it the Game warden’s job?

    1. avatar Uh-huh says:

      I want to know if the guy alerted a state actor as to his moose problem?
      1.He did and they told him not our problem
      2. He didn’t and took the matter into his own hands
      I would’ve been bugging to death the Game warden and the state patrol until they dealt with the problem moose. I know Damned well I would go thru court just like the property owner did (Never trust govt to do the right thing) bastards!

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        Read the linked article. He contacted the game warden about the moose problem, and the game warden gave him rubber buckshot and a flare gun to try to scare it off. He was trying to do the right thing all along.

      2. avatar LKB says:

        According to the local paper, he’d advised the game warden about the problem, and the game warden had provided him with rubber buckshot, bear spray, and a mini-flare gun to try and get the moose to move on. Game warden had also been out to see for himself.

        https://pinedaleroundup.com/article/gf-investigates-moose-shooting

        “He texted me that he had a second close call with a moose and that ‘next time I’m putting that son-of-a-b**** down,” the affidavit states. “On 7/24/2017 I did not receive any other calls, texts or concerns from Goodrich about moose.”

        https://pinedaleroundup.com/article/man-charged-in-moose-shooting

        I think that last text is what got him an invitation to court.

        Memo to file: SSS (shoot, shovel, shaddup)

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Burying a moose would involve a lot of shoveling.
          Just sayin’.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Yes, well that does not have the up side potential of collecting an additional $10,000 for the state treasury.

  15. avatar Fit2BTyed says:

    The F&G Department must also be suffering from TDR (Trump Derangement Syndrome). I have no other way to explain why this man, who was exercising the basics of common sense, was arrested.

  16. avatar Ardent says:

    I thought one of the benefits of living in boonies was not having to interact so much with people and government. I also thought Wyoming was populated by like 4 people and a bear. Seems like it would have been a lot easier to dispatch the problem animal and proceed without alerting the authorities to the problem. Given that the guy has the game wardens cell to text on though, I’m going to go with he spends more time talking to the game warden than he should anyway, even when he hasn’t been shooting moose in self defense.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      If you read comments below the linked article, you see nearly half the commenters siding with the Moose. Then the final comment: “Snowflakes are why Pinedale is no longer habitable. Sad.”

  17. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Wyoming F&G wardens are ever-vigilant to find cases to justify their existence. Jobs in some of these scenic areas of Wyoming are hard to come by, and jobs with full bennies even harder.

    So if you’re working for F&G, you’ve got a sweet deal in many of Wyoming’s smaller towns and communities.

    Now you have to justify your job and bennies… and along comes a case like this. Since the local radio stations and newspapers will print F&G’s press releases without question or critical comment, some F&G warden could write up a tidy little press releases on this job, put it out to the local radio stations and papers, and look like a Big Damn Hero.

    The actual facts? Oh, those. Well, no need to worry about those.

  18. avatar Frank in VA says:

    Iditarod mushers have had their dog teams attacked by moose on many occasions, some with dog fatalities. They often end up shooting the moose. Moose attacks were more common than bear attacks when I lived in AK.

  19. avatar Hannibal says:

    My God, he’s coming right for us! (BANG!)

    1. avatar Alex in Oregon says:

      LMAO! (Someone has been watching South Park)

  20. avatar neiowa says:

    WHY were the news weenies on mans ranch? They have been charged with trespass?

    Moose are in Wyoming? Who knew. I thought that was the land elk and were antelope play. Go to Mn and Maine for moose. Learn so many things on this forum.

  21. avatar Avid Reader says:

    Ridiculous. He shouldn’t have been charged, and the prosecutor should never have taken it to trial.

    As is so often the case, the process is the punishment.

  22. what is this country coming too when you now have to defend yourself in court for shooting a dangerous wild animal. I suppose the moose came from a broken home and now the moose’s family will sue the maker of the gun and the shooter.and also the ammo used. and also accuse the shooter of using that ammo because it was more deadly. how about the shooter sue for damages and mental stress he had to go through because of all the money this cost him and that this should have never seen the inside of a court. and he should also sue because the ones responsible for taking him to court are too stupid and liberal to have the job they have. and sue the judge as well because any good judge would have seen this for what it is and dropped the case against him. we really have to start standing up for our rights and deal with these idiots and put them in their place.

  23. avatar Pat H says:

    This prosecutor wasted Washington State’s tax dollars.

  24. avatar JB3 says:

    On our small family-owned farm that has been land-locked by non-native subdivisions, we have a simple, but effective means to deal with predatory wildlife that threatens our livestock , and may or may not be federally protected: the 3 S’s – shoot, shovel, and shut-up. Kind of patterened after “concealed means concealed.”

  25. avatar Dan says:

    As is SO OFTEN in such cases the PROCESS IS THE PUNISHMENT. The badgemonkeys don’t give a rats ass if you’re innocent or not. They don’t care what the facts are. Neither does the DA or state attorney. They KNOW that the majority of people simply CANNOT AFFORD to contest such trumped up charges so it’s usually a slam dunk case they can use to pad their stats when they ask the legislature for “MO MONEY”. And even in the rare cases where a citizen can and successfully DOES defend themselves and are acquitted the time, money and effort involved makes the process arduous, stressful and expensive. We need to END qualified immunity for ALL public officials and make DA’s and LEO pay for the legal fees of people who successfully defend themselves in court.

  26. avatar samuraichatter says:

    Let this be a lesson in “just in case” holes.

    You got to have some holes, and in the case of moose “really big holes”, dug BEFORE for “just in case” incidents. The desert outside Las Vegas has a bunch of seemingly random holes.

  27. avatar Mad Max says:

    So, if you hit a moose with your car out on the road, do they charge you with unlawful taking?

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      No, they don’t.

      Usually, if you weren’t driving a one-ton pickup with bull bars on the front, there’s not much point in charging a corpse or a critically injured patient.

      Hitting a moose with a car will usually leave you seriously injured or dead.

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