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April 16, 2002


For more information contact:
Al Ivany at 609-984-1795

According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, three men involved in a December 4, 2001 deer hunting shooting incident that occurred in Blairstown, Warren County, were found guilty on April 12. In that incident, a 16-month-old girl was injured by flying glass when a single buckshot pellet struck a vehicle she was a passenger in.

"This was a serious and potentially tragic incident that should not have happened," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "The Division considers hunter safety violations inexcusable and will continue to make every effort to apprehend and prosecute individuals who commit such acts to the fullest extent of the law."

Charges for each of the two men accompanying the shooter, Robert Stout and William Dean, included careless discharge of a firearm which carried a $250 fine and a 2-year revocation of hunting privileges. The shooter, Stephen Christine, was found guilty of careless discharge of a firearm and shooting across a road carrying a fine of $250. Christine was also found guilty of damage to property of another, which resulted in a fine of $750 plus restitution for damages to the vehicle. Most importantly, because of the Sportsman's Responsibility Bill passed in 1990, Christine's hunting privileges in New Jersey were permanently revoked since this is his second conviction for damage to property of another.

The Sportsman's Responsibility Bill increased existing fines and penalties for certain fish and wildlife violations, including permanent revocation of a hunting license following conviction for a second offense covered under this bill.

"The Sportsman's Responsibility Bill utilizes license revocation as a major deterrent," McDowell said. "What happened in Blairtown was a severe offense and the permanent loss of Christine's hunting privileges should serve as a signal to others that the Division takes hunter safety violations very seriously."