Routt County guide OK after being shot by hunter

Sheriff’s Office still investigating whether to file careless hunting charge

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— A hunter shot his guide Friday evening on a ranch just east of the Moffat County line in Routt County.

Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch said the guide has been released from the hospital and the investigation of the shooting is ongoing. Birch said the hunter could be charged with careless hunting, a misdemeanor, after the investigation is forwarded to the Routt County District Attorney’s Office in the next couple of weeks.

Birch said 65-year-old Thomas Scarfe, of Delaware, shot 30-year-old Jerry Cox, of Meeker, between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. Friday on a private ranch in the 27900 block of Routt County Road 67. He said Scarfe mistook Cox for a coyote from about 120 yards away and a .308-caliber round from a Remington 700 rifle grazed Cox’s right shoulder and back.

“We’re very fortunate this wasn’t a fatal circumstance,” Birch said. “If we have something to learn from this incident, mistakes were definitely made.”

He added that there was no reason to think Scarfe shot Cox intentionally.

Birch said while the time period was within the legal hunting time, 30 minutes after the sun set at 4:51 p.m., it was dark or getting dark. He said Cox wasn’t wearing blaze orange, which is required for hunters but not their guides. And Birch said Scarfe didn’t follow the No. 1 rule of hunting and identify his target before shooting.

Because proper safety measures weren’t taken, Birch said the Sheriff’s Office considers the incident careless or negligent, as opposed to an accident.

Calls to Scarfe and Cox weren’t returned Monday.

Don Myers, owner of Myers Hunting Services, of Hamilton, said Monday that Cox, his son-in-law, had been a guide of his for “quite a few years.” He said it’s up to his guides whether to wear blaze orange to lead hunters, which Myers Hunting Services has been doing since 1992.

When asked about Cox’s condition, Myers said he was doing fine.

“This is a difficult time for our family,” he said. “We’re looking forward to Thanksgiving. We can thank god that our family is safe and we’re all together.”

Moffat County Sheriff’s Office Lt. K.C. Hume said deputies responded at 5:39 p.m. to a residence off Colorado State Highway 317. He said a man was taken by ambulance to Craig Memorial Hospital and deputies later determined he was shot in Routt County.

Birch said Routt County sent a deputy to interview Cox and Scarfe and others.

According to witness accounts, Birch said Cox was guiding Scarfe on an elk hunt on the ranch with another hunter and guide. Birch said it was Scarfe’s first big-game hunt after he completed the state-law required hunter safety course two weeks before.

Birch said Cox was walking toward Scarfe to bring him in because it was the end of the day when Scarfe mistook him for a coyote and shot him from about 120 yards away. Birch said it was light enough for Cox to see Scarfe.

Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins said any hunter with a big-game license, who had not shot any game, could shoot a coyote. Sunday was the last day of the elk rifle season.

Haskins also confirmed that while state law doesn’t require that guides wear blaze orange, it’s “highly recommended.”

“I’m shocked a guide would be out there in the field without blaze orange,” he said. “Generally, they’re experienced hunters. To put yourself in that situation is almost unheard of. But with that said, it doesn’t excuse the hunter.”

Haskins said an administrative process by the Division of Parks and Wildlife to evaluate whether the hunter gets to keep his license could follow the criminal investigation. He said Division of Parks and Wildlife also could conduct its own criminal investigation of the shooting. He added that there likely wouldn’t be any repercussions for Myers Hunting Services.

Birch said careless hunting is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of between $100 and $1,000 and a hunting license assessment of 20 points, which could lead to it being revoked.

“We can count our blessings in this case that (Cox) left the hospital, but when we talk about this and a fatal situation, we’re talking about inches,” he said. “We want people to be safe.”

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

This is good to know. If you can't fill your big game license shoot a coyote. It's your booby prize!

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Colette Erickson 2 years, 8 months ago

The coyote is probably more useful to the global environment than that dumb ass hunter.

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housepoor 2 years, 8 months ago

What about porcupines? Can i shoot them? Heck they move so slow they sure would make good target practice. while I'm waiting for the guide to drive elk the into me.......i wouldn't even have to get off my quad I better get more bullets, oh wait I already have a 20k rounds in my basement i bought when that Obama guy tried outlaw ammo

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

They should have a summer coyote season. If you can't fill your license you can shoot a ground squirrel. If that still doesn't work out for ya your booby prize will be a free mouse.

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Great White Hunter, (I'm assuming here) can't hit a coyote at 120 yds, with a Remington 700 in .308? Shooting Rule #1: KNOW YOUR TARGET. Rule #2: HIT IT.

"I paid for this license, and I'm gonna kill SOMETHING."

Sight alignment. Sight picture. Trigger squeeze. I can help. Gimme a call.

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jk 2 years, 8 months ago

rhys, thankfully this idiot was a bad shot, as well as being an idiot!

spider, you can hunt coyotes year 'round across this wonderful state of ours all you need is a small game license.

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hillclinger 2 years, 8 months ago

can someone enlighten me by providing a link as to when and where Obama attempted to outlaw ammunition?

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flusteredal 2 years, 8 months ago

You're getting a little off topic! The bottom line is, this guy took a Hunter Safety Education course TWO WEEKS PRIOR! The number one rule...the one rule they stress over and over....KNOW YOUR TARGET! They should take away his hunting privileges immediately!!!

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

housepoor, Don't shoot at porcupines. They will shoot back. jk, That small game license is that all you need for Chihuahua season?

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Jeff_Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

The coyotes have open season on Chihuahuas. No license required.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Jeff, Thank you for that information. You know I find I get alot more exercise, while hunting, if I use a pistol.

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jk 2 years, 8 months ago

Ahaha spider, I bet you do get alot of excercise while out hunting chihuahuas with your pistol. Good luck with that!

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bandmama 2 years, 8 months ago

Wait....a fox? He actually admitted that he mistook a grown man for a fox? This guy was allowed to even touch a firearm? He could of at least fibbed and said he thought the guy was the back end an Elk or something! Spider, how do you cook your chihuahuas? The tacos are getting really old.

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Jeff_Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

Y'all of the above are way too funny. Just got back from a week on the road with no internet. The only thing I missed was this brand of Steamboat cynicism.

Unleaded 319.9 around Evanston, best price 'tween here and Seattle.

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hillclinger 2 years, 8 months ago

not quite housepoor. That was political banter by Palin, hardly a credible source. I want a link to an unbiased source, better a law/proposed amendment that states this.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

bandmama, I don't have time to cook em. I'm too busy hunting.

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housepoor 2 years, 8 months ago

hill that was my point, i was being a smart a$$, it was bs put out by fox and the nra to rile up the gun crowd and it worked, ammo prices went up 40% in the 1st part of 08

An ammunition shortage in the U.S. is affecting police and sheriffs' departments all over the country, as well as gun dealers, from big retailers like Wal-Mart to smaller family-run businesses and online operations. Ammunition suppliers say the shortage. . . coincided with the election of President Obama . . . . "It started the day that Obama got elected," Johnny Dury, who owns Dury's Gun Shop in San Antonio, tells NPR's Michele Norris. "It is when everything just went crazy in the gun business. . . . " "Everybody was scared he was going to take the ammo away or he was going to tax it out of sight on the prices," Dury says. "So people started stocking up, buying half a lifetime to a lifetime supply of ammo all at one time."

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

Happy Thanksgiving ! I'd better go out to the bomb shelter and inventory my ammo.

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dave reynolds 2 years, 8 months ago

maybe he should hunt with Chaney..then there would be two less idiots in the world..years ago i was hunting on Rabbit Ears..came across a hunter who had a pic of an elk around his neck.i asked him why he said so he would know what one looked like.well i got the h...l out there..also had a friend get his horse shot out from under neath him for these reasons i don't hunt anymore...im no rocket scientist but this guy is a real idiot..happy Thanksgiving

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rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

paddle -- Funny, I used to carry a picture of Osama Bin Laden around my neck, for the same reason!! After I plugged 3 or 4 hippie look-alikes, they made me take it off.

Were you afraid you resembled the elk in the picture?

And once the elk wise up and start wearing their own blaze orange, only the guides will have to fear. They all look sort of like coyotes to me too.

All in fun, and Happy Thanksgiving one and all!!

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

yvb, It takes you over a day to respond? Where were you in the bathroom? If your elected ,as our new county commissioner, your wife won't have to worry about you being shot after the meeting.

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bubba 2 years, 8 months ago

YVB, it was a pop culture reference - the title of a song as it were - that clearly went over your head. I will try to make my posts easier to understand in the future.

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spidermite 2 years, 8 months ago

yvb, You ain't old, you jes' been here a long time. Happy Birthday.

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sedgemo 2 years, 8 months ago

YVB, I fed some birds for you today, for your birthday. I think their thanks were heard across the valley. HBD YVB!

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Phoebe Hackman 2 years, 8 months ago

Hau'oli la Hanau, yvb! Fed some birds (and ate one!) here in Seattle for you :-)

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