Last year, there were 855,486 hunting licenses sold in Pennsylvania, and the overwhelming majority of those were used to hunt deer in a responsible and ethical manner. November 30th was the opening day of the rifle deer season this year, and it should be filled with memories of friends and families going into the woods together. Unfortunately, many people will remember this as the year two idiots ruined the image of hunting for everyone else.
Two Brookeville, PA high school students allegedly harassed, beat, and kicked a wounded whitetail buck. They had apparently shot and wounded the buck, but instead of quickly ending its life, they treated it brutally. What’s more, they filmed themselves with a phone camera and shared the video via Snapchat.
GunsAmerica has decided not to post the video. It is truly brutal and hard to watch. One guy kicks the deer repeatedly in the face while the other stands on it’s hind legs to keep it from moving. They laugh and swear at the buck all the while.
The video went viral when it was shared on Facebook by a concerned citizen. Gregg Rossman posted it Saturday on the Pensylvania Game Commission’s Facebook page to alert them. You can see it here, but discretion is advised.
The video was originally posted on Snapchat, a social media app for sharing pictures and videos with friends. The unique aspect of Snapchat is that content is only visible for 24 hours, and then it’s inaccessible. Perhaps the young men thought that their circle of friends there wouldn’t share the video with others. Snapchat is notorious as a place where inappropriate content is shared because people think it will be kept private.
Alex Smith and Cody Hetrick are the alleged youths in the videos. If they thought there would be no repercussions for abusing an animal and posting a video about it, they were heinously mistaken.
Both are high school students, and if a student can be expelled for photos of herself at a shooting range, then surely this conduct could warrant expulsion as well. Heavy.com reports that Hetrick, a senior, is on the wrestling team, and that status is likely tentative as well.
What’s more, Heavy also reports that Smith is the stepson of the Police Chief, and these actions could reflect on his stepfather. Hetrick’s family owns a restaurant and it has been under fire with bad reviews and comments on sites like Yelp.com. They will not be receiving new business because of this boy’s behavior.
“The Pennsylvania Game Commission is aware of a video purporting to show individuals assaulting an injured deer,” wrote the Commission on their Facebook page. “The conduct portrayed in the video is reprehensible and potentially a violation of the law.”
The video post on the Commission’s page has more than 4,500 comments and has been shared more than 6,300 times. There are 6,800 comments and counting on the Commission’s own post in response.
This event will not go quietly away, and those boys will pay for what they’ve done. Hopefully, next year’s rifle opener will pass with memories made around camp instead of lives being ruined online.
“Pennsylvania State Game Wardens are currently investigating the matter. If you have any information related to the video, we ask that you report it to the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888–PGC-8001 or the Game Commission’s Northwest Region Dispatch Office at 814-432-3187.
“Thank you for your help and for your concern for Pennsylvania wildlife.”