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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2006

Man enters plea in hunting attack

Associated Press

CLAY CENTER, Kan. - A poacher accused of sneaking up and stabbing a farmer who stumbled across the pickup truck of the illegal hunting party has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder.

Gene Bitler, 49, of Council Grove, remained jailed in Clay County on $750,000 bond after entering the plea Tuesday. His trial is scheduled to start April 5.

The farmer, Marvin Macy, 67, was so badly wounded in the November attack that he had to hold his intestines in as he stumbled to a grain truck parked a half-mile away, Clay County Attorney Rick James said. He then drove the truck to his home and began honking to get the attention of his wife, a nurse.

James said Macy had reported his poaching suspicions to the game warden even before he came across the pickup truck, with Bitler's 18-year-old son inside.

James said Bitler, who had been out in the field with his 15-year-old son cutting the head off a trophy buck, snuck up on Macy on his hands and knees. In the ensuing attack, Bitler slugged Macy and stabbed him three times with a hunting knife, James said.

"He was sliced once across the face, once across the lower abdomen, and he has a puncture wound in the back, across the kidney," James said.

Macy was flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

"Several times he said he just wanted to lay down (when he was walking to the truck)," James said. "He left a big, wide blood trail down the middle of the road. He said he was afraid he'd never get up."

Bitler was arrested after authorities discovered Macy had reversed two numbers when he wrote down the license plate number of the pickup before the attack. Two farmers later identified Bitler as the man they had seen before the attack.

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