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Unlawful discharges in New Haven Mon, Jul 1, 2013  -  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 (courtesy

I finally got to walk the schnauzers; Lola was in school and the thermostat dipped below eight bazillion degrees. Circling overhead: the biggest damn bird of prey I’ve ever seen. Its wingspan must have stretched five feet. This after coyotes in nearby hills interrupted my evening cigar with cries that sounded like nothing so much as a poodle getting ripped to pieces. That got me thinking. What if a hawk swoops on one of the girls while they’re exploring the back yard? Shoot it! Only not. I’d lose my gun rights with one trigger pull. So . . . I’m gonna buy me a BB gun and some pepper spray. It’s too bad James Pace Jr. didn’t go through the same thought process . . .

An elderly Connecticut man pestered by a raccoon decided to lie in wait at his New Haven home with a .22 caliber rifle, but ended up accidentally shooting himself after sneezing and falling from his chair.

But it was the revelation that his gun was subsequently seized by authorities that made waves on gun-rights websites.

Not this one. Well, not those type of waves. As failed to point out, a .22 caliber bullet can travel a mile before losing lethality. Shooting a .22 caliber rifle in close proximity to neighbors when you’re not in imminent danger or death or grievous bodily harm (and imminence is imminent) is the height of irresponsibility.

And illegal. Which makes his gun evidence. And qualifies Mr. Pace for some IGOTD silver, along with a few younger residents of Elm City.

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    • Ridiculous and unfortunately, entirely true. Not just state law, either. For me, it’s a city municipal code.

      • Even states with strong firearms preemption laws allow municipalities to regulate the shooting of firearms within town and city limits. Texas law provides:

        “(b) Subsection (a) [preemption] does not affect the authority a municipality has under another law to:
        “(2) regulate the discharge of firearms within the limits of the municipality, other than at a sport shooting range.”

        While the statute above refers to firearms, I’m guessing that Austin also regulates the discharge of air rifles whether or not they’re firearms under state law.

  1. FWIW, that probably was a turkey vulture you saw. Not much of a threat. Unless you’re dead, of course.

    • Well, then can if they have a really nice car and a bag of candy.

      Oh, wait. I thought you wrote “rappers,” not raptors. My bad.

      • I’ve seen a video of an eagle trying to pick up a child. Got airborne but dropped it quickly.

        You were probably seeing turkey buzzards which are pretty common around Austin.

        • That video was a hoax, it was done by a Montreal graphic design school, apparently they have a contest to produce a hoax viral video.

        • Humph. I’ve just wasted 30 minutes of my life watching various takes of that very video. I guess the kids that did it got an “A” in their video production/CGI class.

    • Well, a velociraptor could pick up a child. But I guess if it was a velociraptor you might have other problems as well.

      • Velociraptor only stood about 18″ high. Now if it was a Utahraptor, then there would be trouble.

      • I understand they (da boids) especial like those tender and tasty New England raised Schnauzers, ’cause they make their own gravy!

    • I’ve seen golden eagles drag goats much bigger and stronger than toddlers 20 yards to drop them off a cliff. Carry off? I guess not, maim badly? I wouldn’t let a little one play out in the open where the big raptors are about.

      • Fair enough. I wish I could see something like that. He better not off a Bald Eagle, that’s all I got to say. That would be unpatriotic!

        Would it be OK if he sang the National Anthem while he shot it? One-handed, with his right hand over his heart?

  2. Yep, birds of prey are a long shot threat to your little dogs and no threat at all to humans. Unless you try to crawl into their nest with them. It’s very rare but those coyotes can actually be a lethal threat to people. But again, your little dogs are more at threat.

    • Actually, real velociraptors are roughly the size of a turkey, so they couldn’t either. The ones in Jurassic Park more closely resemble Utahraptors.

    • I don’t know about that. I remember red tail hawks as kid taking out some kitties and small dogs back home. Those things are ruthless and will readily tear prey larger than themselves to shreds.

    • Ummm… In Wood Dale, IL 5 (tiny) dogs were killed by hawks in one year. And that is just a tiny suburb. Don’t even get me started on Coyotes, one charged my 25 lb dog and I had to fire off a warning shot when he got within 15 or so feet. Maybe animals are tame in Texas, but living next to a golf course in Chicagoland… They are blood thirsty!

      • On an kind of diff subject, I have a family of four skunks living in my backyard under the deck. I was told if I shoot them they will discharge their glands. I don’t want to set snares or traps cause my neighbors cats might end up in em. I’m at a loss here :/

        • Live traps. Then just have a pitchfork/long pole and a tub of water ready. If you have a skunk in a live trap, they can’t lift their tail to spray you. Then you just drop the trap in the tub of water and they go relatively gently into that good night. They still discharge into the water, but it doesn’t create a smell or anything. Once you catch the neighbor’s cat in the live trap, you probably won’t catch him again 😉

        • Spray liberal quantities of ammonia in the vicinity of said skunk infestestion. They will GTFO. I promise.

    • Right on the coyotes. The only one I recall was that female hiker in Nova Scotia 5-7 years ago.

      Which raises a question: how did coyotes get to Nova Scotia? Did they ride the ferry?

  3. To be fair, discharging a firearm in imminent defense of property may also be legal. A raccoon tearing up your yard is definitely an imminent threat to your property. We tend to confuse self defense with lethal force against humans and defense of property against four legged animals. They have different standards.

    • Check all state, county, and city laws first. If you’re still good to go, you live in a better place than me.

      • That goes for HOA regs, too. I swear I will never willingly be bound by the asinine restrictions that seem to be mandatory for any HOA.

    • That is why I live out of town. I can shoot any vermin I want while the townies have to put up with it. You live in town, you live in fear of covenants and ordinances that restrict your rights to your property.

  4. FWIW, Aguilla .22lr Super Colibri is a good choice for such shooting. No powder, the 20gr projectile is propelled by the primer only. It’s pretty quiet, MV ~ 500fps, won’t scare the neighbors and is unlikely to penetrate much of anything. Of course, always be sure of your target, what’s behind it, etc…

    • Will that it actually make it out of a rifles barrel, or are we talking handgun use only here?

      Just curious – during the Drought of 22LR, these were often the only things I saw available.

      • It won’t cycle a semi auto, but it works pretty well in bolt action or single shot .22 rifles. I use it sometimes in a very old Marlin 80 to shoot at cans and stuff on my parent’s 10 acres. I’ve never tried it in any revolver or pistol.

        • Colibri .22 ammo is quieter than an air rifle when fired from a .22 rifle or T/C Contender. It will create a loud report if fired from a revolver or pistol. I’ve used it for suburban backyard target practice for years, in an old Winchester Model 1906 pumpgun.

    • I’ve seen guns and stories that suggest the genesis of this round was for parlor shooting. That’s right, indoor shooting for after-dinner entertainment.

      • The way I understood it the upper class folk of Europe, men and women both, developed parlor shooting as a pass time at dinner gatherings and the like. They used a percussion musket cap with a lead ball in it for ammo and guns were made to shoot these.

        In time this ammo was developed into the first .22 short rimfire. Which S&W chambered their revolver for in the 1850’s. First commercially successful breachloading revolver and self contained ammo. The ammo has been in production ever since.

    • Except us guys that had a Walmart near us last summer (before the ammo insanity) with many 1600 round cases of CCI on sale…

    • Just came back from Big 5 a little while ago. Ammo shelves werew bulging and they even had bulk pack of .22 ammo. Remington .22.

    • About fifty years ago, I saw a neighbor shoot two squirrels out of trees, and a rabbit running through the underbrush, with a .22. I also got to see him gut them and skin them. They didn’t invite me to stay for dinner, though.

      Also, as a teen, I saw the son of a resort owner shoot a 50- or 75-pound wildcat out of a tree with a 12 gauge.

      • We former farm kids know just how deadly the .22 is. I’ve seen hogs, cows and horses put down with 1 shot from a .22. And where I came from the poachers favorite gun was the .22.

    • Of what? That they should chew on your leg.

      Rabid coon in the yard (I assume EVERY Coon/skunk 10ft from human residence is rabid). What you gonna do?

      I’d guess the coon would thing the pepper spray would be seasoning, Airsoft, BB joke. .22 doesn’t impress them that much certinly not the toy “primer only” joke.

      • Seriously? If “primer only joke round” .22lr will kill a opossum, it’ll kill a fvckin coon dude. Shot placement is everything. Lighten up BTW. We don’t all live in N.E. Iowa. My Marlin Model 80 has taken plenty opossums with .22lr Colibri. It beats getting arrested for discharging my M44 in a residential area.

  5. google The 1977 Lawndale Illinois Thunderbird Attack its well documented with many credible witnesses. The thunderbird phenomenon is very interesting to me. Nonetheless, the odds seem low. I do want a high powered pellet gun for stealth pest elimination myself.

    • It’s a crazy story, since everybody knows that the 1977 Thunderbird was incapable of traveling any distance without breaking down, rusting out or burning a quart of oil. Ford, as you know, once stood for Found On Road, Dead.

      • Ralph, Ford did its best to make the car as reliable as it could. The problem was that the steel Ford used realized how hideous the car looked, so it worked to breakdown/rust-out as quickly as it could so it could be recycled into a better, more attractive vehicle.

      • I’ve always had really good luck with Fords, however, it does seem true that when you take it to the service station it’s kinda, “Fill up the oil and check the gas.”

        Then again, if you keep the crankcase topped up, you’ll always be running fresh oil. :-)\

        • +1 I drive a 14 year old ford ranger, other than changing the oil and replacing stuff that wears out, it’s a good truck. I had a Chevy S-10 that was a total POS. YMMV.

        • I had the chevy s10 with the v6 motor. I hauled 3 honda dirtbikes in the back with tools, gas,etc. More than enough power to go around. Unfortunately it was hard on gas.

  6. I dont worry too much about thoes vultures. Id be willing to guess my 10,000+ pound ambulance going 70mph would not only kill it but pluck and cook it too.

  7. You really need to remind yourself that you’re not in CT any longer.

    You’re in Texas. You can use lethal force to defend property (unless they changed that law). So you could shoot a man for trying to steal your dog. I would make sense that you could shoot a predator as well. Of course, you should ask a local lawyer before proceeding.

    I knew a person in AZ who shot an aggressive dog for attacking his own dogs on a hiking trail, but he claimed he felt the dog might come after him next (quite reasonable). I don’t think that defense will fly with a bird (no pun intended).

    • Jason, he was in Rhode Island, not CT. Which doesn’t matter, except that before CT went full retard, it was a better state for gunnies than RI.

  8. Course in my neighborhood, I dont wake up to gunfire at night till they change mags and continue firing….

  9. A raptor would not “swoop down” on one of your kids, as I see it, because it doesn’t see something so large as a child as something it can grab and take to the nest and eat.

    And there is no way a raptor can carry a child away. Unless it was a Thunderbird of Indian lore. In which case it would have to have perhaps an eighteen foot wingspan.

  10. “Walking the schnauzer” is the best euphemism I’ve heard in a while!!! Time to go walk the schnauzer.

  11. I agree with everyone that it was a harmless turkey vulture. Coyotes and great horned owls will sure go after kitties and little dogs at night though, and hawks will eat small livestock like chickens and rabbits. Rarely a rabid coyote or one that’s somehow lost its fear of humans will go after a person or larger dog, as Rick Perry found out. I don’t know if the gov was in the Austin city limits when he shot that coyote, but apparently he was legal in shooting it. Even a raccoon can become aggressive if it’s lost its fear of humans.

  12. I disagree that his gun rights should be revoked. I don’t see how his gun should be classified as evidence if there is no victim. I feel he should be punished, however I believe he should get his rifle back.

  13. I’m pretty sure here (even in the village limits) as long as it was just a .22 and I had a reasonable explanation (target shooting probably not kosher) at worst I’d be told not to be caught firing it in the village again. If I managed to shoot myself I’m pretty sure the cops and EMTs would be openly laughing at me unless I was dying right there on the spot (then they’d laugh about it later when no one was looking).

    I don’t think it would raise too big a fuss if I started popping off 5.56 assuming that I was trying to either take down a vicious animal (I can hear my local police chief right now saying ‘Tell me you weren’t shooting at a squirrel’) or had some other really good explanation.

    Not too long after I moved here I was carrying a well dressed AR-15 out to my truck just as a local cop drove by. He hit the brakes hard enough to make a squawk, reversed hard and came to a stop at the end of my drive way. Then he leaped out of the car and said “Damn that’s a good looking rifle!” Yes, yes I do really love this place!

    On another note I asked out local PD Chief what the ordinance was (if any) on an open fire. About an hour later he stopped by and explained that the rule was it could only be 2’x2’x2′ and must be extinguished in the event anyone complained. Four hours six beers and a sunset later he was still here whooping it up as a neighbor and I burned about 100lbs of cardboard, various brush and an entire couch. I suppose someone might have called to complain but sheriffs dispatch was sure having a hard time getting the only cop on duty to respond to the bon fire he was already at because I never heard a word of it.

    We don’t have a museum, a theater or the ballet, but we also don’t have crime, excessive oversight or onerous regulations either. I’ll be right here if anyone needs me.

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