Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Shooting victim: No hunting mishap

DuBois, Pa. – Whoever shot Orlando W. Prosper Jr. and his young
son, Garrett, on the opening day of spring gobbler season near here
was still at large as of Aug. 1, despite a $2,500 reward aimed at
leading to his arrest.

Although Prosper is back at work as a DuBois police officer, he
said he suffers headaches almost daily from the 22 steel pellets
still embedded in his skull, neck and shoulder, as well as mounting
frustration that, three months later, the man who also wounded his
9-year-old son – shooting him above the eye – hasn’t been brought
to justice.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is leading the investigation
because the incident was hunter-related, but the agency’s regional
law enforcement supervisor Terry Wills refused to discuss whatever
progress was being made, citing concern it would compromise the
investigation.

“We’re doing a lot of work on this case and interviewing a lot
of people,” he said. “We’re investigating all angles.”

Prosper thinks he knows who the shooter is, as well as a motive.
“I got knocked off my feet, but my son got a pretty good
description of the person who shot us,” he said.

“I don’t feel like the shooting was an accident. I think it was
me being too close to a property line.”

The incident occurred the morning of May 1 on land owned by the
DuBois Beagle Club, where Prosper is a member, off Route 119 in
Sandy Township, Clearfield County.

Although he had trained dogs on club property, Prosper said he
and his son were venturing to a new spot to hunt, after they heard
turkeys nearby. “I called three yelps in one series and nothing
responded,” said Prosper, who headed with his son up a mowed path
with a bend and a slight rise.

“As we rounded the corner, I saw a posted sign, and as soon as I
saw that, I saw a gun pointed at us.”

The person pointing the gun was set up for hunting about 40 feet
away under a posted sign, said Prosper, who instinctively turned
and pulled his son in front of him to shield him from the shooter.
That’s when the pair was struck.

“As I was getting knocked off my feet, I pulled my son with me,”
he said. “He got shot above his right eye when he turned to look
around.”

The shooter then fled on foot, leaving behind shell casings,
said Prosper. The firearm was a 12-gauge shotgun with 3-inch
magnum.

Prosper and his son were treated at a local hospital, where
doctors removed the pellet from above Garrett’s eye, and just three
pellets from Prosper. “They said they may try to go in and get more
once scar tissue builds up, although they’re not going to touch the
pellets in my neck,” Prosper said.

Prosper believes the shooter is associated with the posted
property next to the beagle club. “He takes care of it and feels
it’s his,” Prosper said. “Had I known I was that close to the
property line, I would never have gone that route.”

Prosper and his family have put up $1,000 in reward money, and
the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation,
the Susquehanna Chapter of NWTF, and Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat
Unlimited each have contributed $500.

Marty Hrin is president of Habitat Unlimited and a member of the
DuBois Beagle Club. He, too, questions whether the shooting was an
accident. “When you’re looking for a beard on a turkey, you can see
what’s going on,” he said.

“And when you make a mistake, the first thing you do is, you
make sure the person is okay. This shooter fled.”

He also wonders what impact the incident will have on Garrett.
“It was really shocking to the young lad. I hope it doesn’t scar
him for life and make him not want to hunt,” Hrin said.

The incident brings to five the number of hunter-related
shootings in just the 10-county northwest region during spring
gobbler season this year. That’s higher than normal, said PGC
spokesman Jerry Feaser.

“Five seems dramatic, and even one incident is one too many, but
nearly all of them could have been avoided. Two were
self-inflicted, and two were felons who shouldn’t have had
firearms.”

The Game Commission is directing those interested in
contributing toward the Prosper reward fund to send checks or
commitment letters to Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited at
P.O. Box 851, DuBois, PA 15801.

To qualify for the reward, information must be processed through
the commission’s “Turn-In-A-Poacher” toll-free hotline at
1-888-PGC-8001. The info must be instrumental in leading to the
successful prosecution of the person responsible.

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