Judge: Boy Scouts Not Liable for Hunting Accident

Pheasant gun (courtesy thetruthaboutguns.com)

“Hunting guide Craig Bingham filed a lawsuit in 2016 against the Boy Scouts of America, local council and a number of Scoutmasters,” Salt Lake City’s sltrib.com reports. “He alleges the defendants were negligent during a pheasant hunt on March 22, 2014, when someone in the party shot him in the eye, hand and thigh. Bingham was permanently blinded in one eye by birdshot when the nine people he was leading opened fire with shotguns on some pheasants at a private hunting reserve in Cache County.” Wait. Nine?

That’s a very large bird hunting group to wrangle. The Trib article doesn’t tell us if hunting guide Craig Bingham was guiding the hunt. If so . . . Anyway, can you sue an entity over an accidental shooting?

Absolutely, yes. However, you must first prove that the entity had knowledge and control of the events leading up to the shooting. That didn’t happen here.

The Boy Scouts of America and the local Trapper Trails Council have been dismissed as defendants in a lawsuit filed by a Cache County hunting guide who was shot during a Scouting-oriented pheasant hunt in 2014.

First District Judge Thomas Willmore on Monday granted the BSA and Trapper Council’s motion for summary judgment, finding the two entities had no knowledge or notice that the hunting activity was planned or would occur.

Instead, it was the local charter organization, the Middle Fork Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that “was in complete control, knowledge, notice and approval of the hunting activity.”

The judge also granted summary judgment to a father and son who were on the hunting trip. The father was “equally peppered with pellets,” according to the judge’s ruling, and had argued he therefore could not have fired the shots that struck Bingham. There was no evidence the son ever fired his gun.

As for the actual trigger pullers . . .

Judge Willmore ruled that Bingham’s lawsuit can continue against the Scout leaders and others in the hunting group who are named in the lawsuit.

It pays to remember that every bullet comes with a lawyer attached. Although not literally. Sadly.

comments

  1. avatar ACP_arms says:

    So nine people opened fire on some pheasants. I think the people in the group need to take hunter safety (Again?) and have some structure for their hunting party.

  2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

    So the Mormons did it.

  3. avatar jwm says:

    A circular firing squad?

  4. avatar BLoving says:

    It doesn’t specify that all of those young nimrods were armed, but I’m envisioning nine youthful noobs being herded by a single mentor and I’m thinking “recipe for disaster”.
    I certainly hope that wasn’t actually what happened.
    🤠

  5. avatar Mitch S says:

    That troop can probably kiss it’s charter good bye. While shooting sports (rifle, shotgun, airgun) are approved activities, hunting is not. Or at least it was not when I was in. I did get my hunter’s safety through a “scout function”, but we were told to NOT wear uniform shirts or troop shirts during the class portion.

    1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

      They are Mormons. Mormons are the biggest boosters of the Boy Scouts of all time. The day of Mormon troop loses its Charter will be a very exceptional day indeed.

      1. avatar Craig Shiner says:

        Garbage,

        The Mormon church has been dropping like flys since BSA announced that gays could be in Scouting.

  6. avatar RCC says:

    As Bloving says I hope there was more than one instructor.

    Hunting club I’m in we do one for one with new members on first hunts with us after range times. If you can’t handle firearms at range and hit target there no field trips.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Yep. Where I’m at the hunts have 1 adult per youth. The adult is unarmed and there to supervise the youth.

  7. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “shot him in the eye, hand and thigh.”
    So the shot spread was pretty wide by the time it got to him.

    “The father was ‘equally peppered with pellets,’…”
    The plot thickens. Multiple casualties.

    “when the nine people he was leading opened fire…”
    Huh. I haven’t been on a lot of pheasant hunts, but generally it’s dogs in front, and guides BEHIND the shooter(s).

    Sounds like the most disorganized, poorly communicated, f-ed up pheasant hunt in history.

  8. avatar Gralnok says:

    Eye protection. Always remember it, and you’ll keep your peepers. One of the basic rules of chemistry class. Then again, because I always wore sunglasses, I now can’t do without them without being dazzled by normal sunlight. And yes, they are also safety glasses.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I wear prescription glasses. I pay the extra and get safety lenses on them.

      I shoot and I hunt. It’s a ‘common sense’ gun safety precaution.

      And now that I’m getting into archery safety glasses can’t be a bad thing.

      1. avatar Sc says:

        I’ve been an archer for 38 years and a bowhunter for 28. I seem to remember you mentioning in a previous post that you are starting out with a recurve or something similar. With a stick bow, eye pro is a great idea, and practical. If you switch over to a compound, you may have some problems, especially if you use a peep sight, but it will depend on your anchor point regardless.
        If you draw to the corner of your mouth, forget it. I’ve tried every type of eye pro out there, and the string mashes them into my eye socket, which is not comfortable, and will mess up your shot. If you anchor at the jawline, you have a chance. Unfortunately, anchoring at my jawline just doesn’t work for me, so I forgo the eye pro when shooting my compound.
        Realistically, I rarely see archers or bowhunters at the range or in the field wearing eye pro. The risk to your eyes when shooting from a bow would come from a catastrophic failure of the bow itself breaking, the string snapping, or the arrow structurally failing on release which is the most likely to happen. If your bow is good, and you replace your strings when they start to fray, you can reduce those risks to that one in a million occurrence. If you are shooting wood or carbon arrows, check them constantly for chips, or cracks and immediately discard them if you see any damage. each time you pull the arrows from the target, it’s a good practice to grab each arrow from each end and give it a bit of a flex and listen for any crunching or cracking sounds. If you hear anything, toss the arrow. I’d do the same with aluminum, but it’s unlikely you’d hear anything if there was any fatigue, but you might force a failure if there’s a weak point. Good luck, and enjoy your bow!

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Thanks for the tips. I use carbon arrows.

          I have to shoot with my glasses on. Without them I would be a danger to all around me.

          My first ever bow is a recurve. Who knows where I’ll go from there. I’m having fun and getting a little extra exercise to boot.

    2. avatar Jeff O. says:

      I have stylish safety sunglasses as my daily wear, wear eye protection when doing anything that might flick something in my eyes and have prescription safety lenses, side shields or,goggles when I’m not wearing contacts.

      So I cover my bases well. It was ingrained in to me by various family members, coaches and other mentors.

      It’s easy enough to wear them, I don’t know why one wouldn’t.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Be vewy qwiet. I’m hunting peasants.

  10. avatar ironicatbest says:

    The loss of an eye is regrettable, however it taught those kids a valuable lesson. Shotguns don’t work for long range guide hunting

    1. avatar jwm says:

      On a scale of 1 to Ralph that was a solid 7.

  11. avatar Aaron says:

    the description of the shooting technique used in the article sounds a lot like some of the NYPD’s work…are you sure this is a story about a Boy Scout troop??

  12. avatar ro says:

    oh, come on, your being unusually hard on lawyers, lawyers are very useful ….how else would I have been warned not to make toast while showering or bathing without the visible warning on my toaster…..jezzzz

    my latest shotgun came with a lawyer endorsed warning, “Don’t hunt with Dick Cheney” …now that is an important warning that I would have be oblivious to if not warned by the lawyer promoted label imprinted on the barrel and receiver of my new shotgun….jezzz…again

  13. avatar Greg says:

    Lot of talking going on, not a lot of knowing.

    The BSA has very strict rules to follow for any firearms activities. The rules were broken, they won’t accept responsibility.

    The LDS church has very strict rules to follow for firearms activities, which happen to be the same rules as the BSA. They won’t accept responsibility.

    The Scout leaders are provided said rules. They acted in a non scouting role….. I hope they have good insurance that might pay.

  14. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

    If I was the defendant(s) lawyer, I’m pretty sure I’d be blaming the crap out of the hunting guide. I mean, having nine people shoot you? He had to be doing something wrong.

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