SD landowner confrtons hunting party with gun after shots by his home

ARMOUR, S.D. -- After a Minnesota hunter illegally shot at a pheasant too close to an occupied dwelling last week, police say the landowner confronted the hunting party with a gun.

ARMOUR, S.D. - After a Minnesota hunter illegally shot at a pheasant too close to an occupied dwelling last week, police say the landowner confronted the hunting party with a gun.

At about 6:20 p.m. Friday, a 911 call came in that a group of hunters shot at a landowner's property west of Armour, said Deputy Dustin Palmquist with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

After the shots were fired, it was reported that the landowner, 65-year-old Norman Pope, confronted the hunters with a gun in his hand. Once authorities arrived, Palmquist said all guns were put away.

"We spoke to everybody involved," Palmquist said. "And we found out that he didn't have his gun pointed at them. He just took the gun out and ordered the hunters out of the vehicle."

Pope's wife, Judy, asked for the hunters' keys and took them back to their house. The keys were given back to the hunters once the police arrived, Palmquist said.


The Popes will be facing charges, once they are filed to the state's attorney's office Tuesday or Wednesday, Palmquist said. Norman Pope will be charged with aggravated assault and his wife, Judy, 65, will be charged with false imprisonment for taking the hunters' keys, according to Palmquist.

"The hunters did not feel threatened by the landowner," Palmquist said.

Palmquist said the group of hunters reported they were out road hunting and hadn't seen a pheasant all day. When they finally saw a bird, near the Pope property, 29-year-old Jason Fairchild jumped out of the vehicle and shot at the pheasant. Palmquist said Fairchild missed the bird and as it flew across the road into the other ditch, he shot at it again.

In South Dakota, it is legal to hunt public road rights-of-way for some wild game, including pheasants, with stipulations. However, no person may hunt within 660 feet of occupied dwellings and livestock.

Fairchild was facing the Pope property, according to Palmquist.

Fairchild, of Richfield, Minnesota, was given a citation for shooting within 660 feet of an occupied dwelling.

Pope said there was a pellet in the back fence of his property where he keeps his dogs.

"It was very obvious when they came out and where they were shooting," Pope said on Monday in a phone interview.


This isn't the first time Pope has had problems with hunters near his property, he said. Pope said hunters "constantly abuse" the law that allows hunters to shoot on public rights-of-way.

Pope said the hunters were about 75 yards from his barn, instead of the required 660 feet, or approximately 220 yards. And one of his dogs, according to Pope, is suffering injuries that could be either from a concussion or possibly a few pellets.

"I will not put up with people shooting at my house or at my dogs," Pope said.

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