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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2005

Man of God kills geese - may face wildlife fines

Goose hunter may face wildlife fines

By Bobby Kerlik
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A youth minister from Pine thought he was doing a favor for a friend when he killed two Canada geese with a bow and arrow.

Unfortunately for Michael Koepfer, 33, the state Game Commission and a few angry neighbors didn't see it that way.

"I walked out and saw a dead goose in (my neighbor's) pond and he was there getting it out," said Tracy Budzynski, 41, who volunteers at a local bird recovery center. "They're not my favorite animals either, but to kill them like this... . He got the two that couldn't get away because they were crippled. It's sick. And he's supposed to be a man of God?"

Koepfer went afoul when Marc Voit asked him to hunt the geese that populate his front yard in Pine near North Park. Voit's home sits about 100 yards from Pearce Mill Road with a small pond that draws at least a dozen geese daily. The birds leave droppings in his yard and driveway.

Koepfer, who has an archery license, shot two geese on Oct. 13 before Budzynski called police. Budzynski, whose house sits about 40 yards from her neighbor's pond, had named the geese Queenie and Pat.

"He told me he wanted someone to harvest the geese and now I'm caught in the middle," said Koepfer, who works for New Community Church. "I was just trying to do the right thing. I thought I had all the right credentials. I didn't mean to hurt or offend her. I didn't want that to happen."

Conservation officer Gary Fujak said Koepfer could be fined for several violations, including hunting without a goose license, hunting out of season and hunting too close to homes.

"I love nature, but you get to a point where laws have allowed these birds to populate out of control," said Voit, 40. "My No. 1 priority is my family. I have four kids and I don't want my 2-year-old to be playing in goose poop in my front yard. The geese are just destroying the property."

Voit said he didn't know the geese were crippled. Budzynski said one had a broken wing that never healed and the other suffered from neurological impairments.

"I don't know the birds' life history," Voit said. "It's my property. I asked the game commission what I could do. They told me to have someone hunt them during the season."

Koepfer has a migratory bird license and thought that covered geese, but geese require additional licensing. The next hunting season doesn't start until Nov. 15.

Bobby Kerlik can be reached at bkerlik@tribweb.com

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