Pastor Killed While Hunting in Case of Mistaken Coyote

The Taylorsville Times reports that a local pastor has died in a hunting tragedy after another hunter mistook him for a coyote and shot him.

Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman stated that on February 19, 2018, at approximately 5:52 p.m., the Alexander County Communications received a 911 call about a person who had been shot on Edd Burgess Road Extension in Taylorsville.

Sheriff’s Office personnel, Alexander EMS, First Responders, the N.C. Highway Patrol, Alexander Rescue Squad, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Taylorsville Fire, and Taylorsville Police officers responded to the scene.

Upon arrival, officers found Rev. Michael “Seth” Marsh, white male, age 26 of Taylorsville, suffering from several gunshot wounds to the chest area of his body. Evidence showed that Marsh was hunting coyotes and had an electronic coyote call. Marsh had a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22/250 Ruger American bolt action rifle that he was using to hunt coyotes.

I guess anything is possible, but how can you mistake a man for a coyote?

When officers arrived on the scene, they encountered a man who was assisting in the medical attention of Rev. Marsh. The man, whose name is not being released, told officers that he heard coyotes screaming in the area. The man believed the coyotes had trapped something and he went to see what was happening.

The man said he saw something that looked to him like a coyote that had trapped something in a tree. The man said he fired two shots at the brown and grey movement at the tree. The man had a .223 hunting rifle. When the man realized he had shot Mr. Marsh, he rendered aid, and called 911 for help.

EMS rendered aid on the scene and Rev. Marsh was transported by ambulance to Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center. Foggy weather prevented a medical helicopter from responding to the scene, said Bowman. Rev. Marsh was pronounced deceased at the hospital at approximately 8:00 p.m.

An awful tragedy that could have been avoided.

Marsh was pastor of Russell Gap Baptist Church, the Sheriff stated. According to the April 12, 2017, issue of The Taylorsville Times, Marsh and his wife, Katy, have two children, Braelynn and Issac. He had been pastor at Russell Gap for approximately one year.

Sheriff Bowman explained that man who fired the fatal shots lived nearby and did not know Marsh was in the area.

Officers with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are assisting the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office in this investigation.

UPDATE: On February 21, 2018, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ronald Mathew Dunn, age 31 of Taylorsville.  Dunn was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter.  Dunn was the suspect in the investigation of the shooting death of Rev. Michael Seth Marsh that occurred on February 19, 2018, said Sheriff Bowman.  Dunn told authorities that he shot Marsh thinking he was a coyote.  Dunn was placed under a $75,000 secure bond and his first court appearance in this case is Monday, February 26, 2018, in Alexander County District Court.


  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    Yet another reason to always follow rule 4. Lighting up “motion in the foliage” is criminally stupid.

    1. avatar Chadwick says:

      Yep. Can’t identify it and it isn’t an immediate threat then don’t shoot!

      1. avatar Flinch says:

        Won’t poke fun at the pastor/coyote symbolism, but my guess is that negligent hunter was using an AR-15 and double-tapped just like they do on TV.

        And followed the four rules just like they do on TV.

        Book’em Dano.

        1. avatar BigDaveinVT says:

          As my son would say in jest I say in ernest: “screw you!”

          AR Hater, it wouldn’t have mattered what type of firearm was used. The failure was that the shooter did not verify his target before firing. The number of shots, type of firearm and/or caliber is irrelevant.

          In case you weren’t aware (because you have your head lodged too far up your ass) there are many bolt action .223 rifles available.

    2. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

      And should be prosecuted as negligence.

      1. avatar roguesam says:

        as above^^^^^

      2. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

        Recklessness. Negligence is a lower standard.

    3. avatar Arc says:

      Another idiot who just can’t leave nature alone. FFS if you are going outside to shoot at something just because you can, take a damn flood light with a fat battery and a pistol so you don’t shoot someone whos out and about. If you must use a rifle, put a damn flashlight on the rifle.

      1000 Lumen flood light will light up critters 250 meters away and last for a good hour, if you need more time, a half size battery fits nice in the pocket.

    4. avatar Zeke says:


      “The man said he fired two shots at the brown and grey movement at the tree.” The movement?!! How in the flaming fornication is anyone planning to bag a “movement??”

      “That movement killed four of my chickens!” or maybe, “That movement would look really good stuffed and mounted over my fireplace.”

      What a damned idiot. I just wish the real-world penalties for this sort of stupidity were harsher than what they usually are. This sort of dimwit helps no one.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        I can think of a movement or two that I wouldn’t mind “bagging”, but that’s a whole different meaning of both terms.

  2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    I hunt yotes. Maybe I need a neon sign above my stand….’human, human, human’ flashing in bright colors.

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      Won’t work. Very few coyote know how delicious humans are.

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Fun fact: when they were shooting whichever Star Wars movie had the Ewoks in it, they had guys in blaze orange escort Peter Mayhew so the locals wouldn’t think his Chewbacca getup was bigfoot and shoot him.

  3. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    He’s a ginger. There is no crime here.

    1. avatar dlj95118 says:

      …cold, man. Real cold.

    2. avatar roguesam says:


    3. avatar MDH says:

      Gawd…. (falling off chair laughing)!

  4. avatar NoBs says:

    This is like the famous case about a so called hunter that shot a cow claiming he was squirrel hunting only much more tragic. Unless he was really that reckless and stupid there may be more here than meets the eye.. just call me suspicious, must the the 28 years as an LEO…

    1. avatar Ed says:

      I agree. As presented, this doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  5. avatar anonymoose says:

    Sorry, I thought you were a wild canine scavenger.

  6. avatar DrSchmancy says:

    Civilized people go to a grocery store when they need food. Nobody gets killed.

    1. avatar cisco kid says:

      Lot more people get killed going to the grocery store than they do hunting every year. You’re a fool.

      1. avatar Sad Trombone says:

        250,000+ Americans die each year from going to the hospital…caused by medical errors.

        1. avatar NoBs says:

          I’m not doubting the statistics , just that your statement does anything to enhance this discussion. Does it mean ” give this guy a pass ” because more people die due to
          hospital mistakes ? Does that make this family’s loss any less tragic ? Tens of thousands die in auto accidents… so what does that mean in this discussion ? Nothing in my opinion. Helpful to stay on point in discussions like this.

      2. avatar NoBs says:

        I’m not sure what you mean but I hope its not what it sounds like… cause it sounds like a damn stupid response. Like I said I hope its not..

        1. avatar ProfessorManque says:

          How many people get killed hunting every year? How many people get killed by the deadliest weapon devised by man, the car, on their way to the grocery store?

        2. avatar Sad Trombone says:

          NoBs, every year approximately a quarter of a million Americans who enter a hospital will die from mistakes made by staff. It’s not hyperbole. It’s a matter of record.

        3. avatar NoBs says:

          Exactly how far off point do you wish to take this ? Cars and groceries stores ? Getting hit going to them ? This is about a guy getting shot… twice.. because the shooter thought he was a coyote.. ” Professor ” ? Good thing you gave yourself that title. I doubt anyone else would. Ever hear of logical, cognitive thinking ?

        4. avatar Kenneth says:

          This thread started with somebody saying that either the victim or the ‘hunter’ should have went to the grocery store for food instead. Leaving aside(for the moment) the fact that nobody hunts coyotes for food, how are stats on stores and hunting NOT on point? That grocery stores are “more civilized” than hunting WAS THE ENTIRE POINT! How many here understand the rules of topics better than the ‘hunter’ in the story understands rule #4: “Know your target”? Anyone??? Beuler? Bueler? Beuler?

        5. avatar ProfessorManque says:

          nobs. I realize you are just being obtuse. But in case you actually believe what you said. I replied to the troll drschmancy’s statement that implies that hunters are uncivilized, because they’re hunters. I pointed out that his statement of “people don’t die” in connection with going to the grocery store was in fact bullshit.

          More people are killed in vehicle related accidents going to the store than are killed every year hunting.

          Clear enough? I was on point in my reply to the troll. You jumped into the thread like a dolt.

        6. avatar NoBs says:

          No… its not clear. Both responses had absolutely nothing to do with the topic. Too many continuing stupid off topic statements. A guy was shot.. twice.. mistaken for a coyote. Is it really that hard for folks to focus on what the topic is ?? Repeat : A guy was mistakenly shot for being a coyote. That should be the discussion and not some sidebar comment(s) I will not upgrade your IQ by calling you a dolt.

          That should be the discussion…

    2. avatar Alex Waits says:

      Civilized people manage the wildlife populations.

    3. avatar anonymoose says:

      When I see a person, I don’t see race, gender, or sexual orientation. I see meat. -Jeffrey Dahmer

      Clearly you are not open-minded and tolerant enough, DrSchmancy.

    4. avatar Hannibal says:

      People don’t usually shoot coyotes for food. They do it to stop said coyote from munching down on other critters humans have around.

  7. avatar Sad Trombone says:

    Wow, that’s awful especially since he had three dependents. RIP.

  8. avatar Adam Warlock says:

    Who the hell double taps hunting prey?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Who the hell double taps hunting prey?”

      Well, just yesterday, Mr.JonTaylor related a hunting trip he was recently on where he was *specifically* instructed to double-tap, and then shoot a few more times the legendary South Texas ‘Devil Deer’…

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      It’s a coyote, not a deer…

  9. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Was alcohol involved?

  10. avatar Koolhed says:

    Death penalty after quick trial. Not kidding in the least.

    This mega-freakin’ MORON, Ronald Mathew Dunn, age 31 of Taylorsville, needs to be put to sleep for the safety of anyone around him.

    Giving him probation or a few years in prison doesn’t respect the life that he foolishly took away and the lives he impacted for the rest of THEIR lives.


  11. avatar Oh noes says:

    (whispers hey buddy come in real close, closer, closer)…………………………………………..
    (yells at the top of my lungs in his ear)
    DON’T SHOOT A TARGET YOU DIDN’T IDENTIFY FIRST!!!!!!!!!!! ya got that, ass clown?

  12. avatar Sgt at Arms says:

    Average male between 5-8 and six feet, weight 145-200lbs, average yote 22-25 in at shoulder 60-65lbs, and he confused one for the other exactly how???? Criminal stupidity should be very, very costly!!

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Not to excuse this guy or anything, but exactly how tall is a yote standing with its front paws up against a tree trunk? And how tall is a man crouched down by a tree?

      1. avatar NoBs says:

        Well…. seems you ARE trying to give this guy a pass. Look, I don’t know about you but I consider anything like this to be either murder due to circumstances we don’t know yet or flat out reckless behavior of the worst kind. Punishable by years and years in prison.. this wasn’t an accident that the bullet went by a target and hit an unintended target ( still reckless ) but an intentional aim and shoot. Really ??? comparing a guy crouched down by a tree to a coyote ?? I can’t believe you actually made that comment.. I hope to God you aren’t out in the woods hunting.

  13. avatar Momma1913 says:

    A werewolf?

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      Nothing was said about silver bullets.

  14. avatar Big Al says:

    Yes, being THAT STUPID IS A CRIME!

  15. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    a local pastor has died in a hunting tragedy after another hunter mistook him for a coyote and shot him.
    Seems like the brain trust is in play here.

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    Dude was probably drunk. Put him away. RIP…

  17. avatar ironicatbest says:

    NOPE….An educated coyote shot the preacher, the dudes just a patsy. Dogs, geese, snakes, and now Coyotes.

  18. avatar Juice says:

    The fearsome Brown and Grey Movement has seriously injured or killed thousands of unsuspecting people enjoying nature all across North America over the last hundred years. While most hunters practice humane and safe habits in the field, the Brown and Grey Movement entices only the stupidest and least responsible “hunters” to shoot at its characteristic vague silhouette, or even just a suspicious noise.

  19. avatar AgingDisgracefully says:

    I’m sorry, but I call bs. I hunt. My last coyote sighting was yesterday.

    There is NO GODDAM WAY you mistake him for a coyote.

    This should be murder.

  20. avatar Sad Trombone says:

    NoBs, you’re needed over on the thread about Dick’s Sporting Goods supporting gun control “for the children”
    Some commenter on that thread made a totally unrelated point ( but factually correct ) about the comparative loss of life from abortion.
    You’re need over there STAT to get the thread back on topic.

    1. avatar NoBs says:

      Well…. since you inserted it in this one why don’t you take off on it and meld it in with this one ?? I can tell you were never in the military.

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