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John McCoy: There's craziness in the deer woods this fall

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A classic clip captured by an NFL Films cameraman shows an exasperated Vince Lombardi bellowing, “What the hell is going on out here?!”

Recent hunting-related events have me asking the same question as the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, albeit in a less angry tone of voice.

In the past few weeks, authorities have had to deal with four pretty bizarre incidents — two of which occurred right here in West Virginia.

The tamest of them took place in Michigan, where a man stands accused of hunter harassment after spraying deer repellent on U.S. Forest Service land.

The man, not yet identified by authorities, reportedly sprayed Liquid Fence, a deer repellent, near two hunting stands his brother had been using. According to the investigating officer, trail-camera pictures showed the man using a backpack sprayer to dispense the repellent.

Authorities say the man was upset because he felt his brother was hunting on public land adjacent to private land the brothers co-owned, so as to block deer from crossing onto the private tract. The man reportedly sprayed the public land to get back at his brother.

I suspect the atmosphere at that family’s Christmas dinner might be a bit strained this year.

Another land-related dispute here in West Virginia ended with even grimmer results.

On Nov. 29, Jeremiah Thomas, 33, and Jennifer Thomas, 34, both of Smoot, were shot and killed near Williamsburg, in Greenbrier County.

“The incident appears to have resulted over a dispute or an argument about a hunting lease or the property associated with a hunting lease in terms of the use or misuse, as the case may be,” Patrick Via, the Greenbrier County prosecuting attorney, told MetroNews.

Police have identified two other people believed to be connected to the shooting, and charges reportedly are pending.

Shooting someone over a hunting lease? Geez. Isn’t that a bit drastic?

The day before the Greenbrier shootings, a Boone County man ran afoul of the law after killing a trophy buck.

The 11-point buck was fair game during the West Virginia’s firearm season, but Emmett Estep, 44, of Bloomingrose, reportedly shot it illegally.

Natural Resources Police officers say Estep shot over busy Route 3 to down the trophy whitetail. A video, posted to Facebook, clearly showed Estep firing a .300-caliber Winchester Magnum over the highway moments after a red vehicle passed under his line of fire.

He’s been charged with hunting from a motor vehicle, shooting across a public highway, shooting within 25 yards of a vehicle and with illegal possession of wildlife. He’s also been assessed a $1,500 “enhanced replacement fee” because the deer had antlers from 16 to 18 inches in width.

At least the Boone buck died quickly from a single shot. A Pennsylvania deer wasn’t as fortunate.

A disturbing video, circulated after the opening of the Pennsylvania whitetail season, showed two young men stomping and kicking an injured deer while laughing and pulling on its antlers.

One of the pair was a 16-year-old juvenile, who has not been identified because of his age. The other turned out to be 18-year-old Alex Smith, the stepson of Brookville, Pennsylvania, police chief Vince Markle.

Markle, through a spokesman, said he would not intervene in the legal process if charges are filed against the youth.

Wow. What were all these folks thinking? And, to once again channel the late, great Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out here?!”

Reach John McCoy at, 304-348-1231, or follow @GazMailOutdoors on Twitter.

Funerals for Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Adkins, Ralph - 3 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Dunn, Charles - 1 p.m., streaming live, see obituary.

Hughes, Douglas - 6 p.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Jones, Barbara - 11 a.m., Ellyson Mortuary Inc., Glenville.

Kirk, John - 11 a.m., Holstein Cemetery, Dartmont.

Sims, Virginia - 3 p.m., Home of Linda & Dave, 4772 McLane Pike, Red House Ridge, Red House.

Walker, Pamela - 2 p.m., Asbury United Methodist Church Cemetery, Asbury.