Pet Pot-Bellied Pig Shot, Killed by Bear Hunter

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MONTOURSVILLE -- A family's pet pot-bellied pig in Lycoming County was apparently mistaken for a bigger four-legged animal in the woods last week. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, a hunter shot and killed the pig because he thought it was a bear.

The 5-year-old pot-bellied pig named Chopper roamed around his owner’s property in Montoursville all the time, but last Monday during bear season, he was shot and killed by a hunter who thought Chopper was a bear.

Animal lover Rick Wolfgang still has one pot-bellied pig named Pork at his home in Montoursville. Pork used to pal around with Wolfgang's miniature pot-bellied pig named Chopper.

"The way he's acting now, he's kind of missing him, I believe, because they used to lay next to each other when they slept," said Wolfgang.

Wolfgang owns about 12 acres of land and his pet pigs are allowed go wherever they want. During bear season, he got a call about his pig Chopper he never expected.

"A gentleman mistakenly took him for a bear, I guess, or I guess he thought it was a bear. He decided to shoot instead of knowing what he was shooting at. I found him right up there above the house not too far," said Wolfgang.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the hunter shot onto Wolfgang's property, hitting the pig in the hindquarters.

"A bear in Pennsylvania is a one in a lifetime event, single digit number of bear hunters are successful every year. I think that sometimes people just get a little premature in what they are looking at and I think that is what happened in this case," said Jonathan Wyant.

"Kind of where I have a problem. He was shooting right towards my house, along with shooting my pet,” said Wolfgang.

Wolfgang says the hunter did come to apologize. Now he wants others in the woods to take an extra look before they shoot.

"I mean once you pull that trigger you have to be responsible for that bullet and where it ends up, that's your responsibility," said Wolfgang.

According to the game commission, the hunter may end up paying a fine of several hundred dollars for shooting into a safety zone, but any citation is still pending.

33 comments

  • fred

    A traffic accident and a shooting accident are two different things. A traffic accident happens in seconds because You have little or no control of the situation.A hunting/shooting accident can be avoided because You have all the time in the world to make a decision to pull that trigger or not.The bottom line is there are no excuses….IDENTIFY THE TARGET BEFORE YOU SHOOT,which eliminates any problem….Sorry I shot Your Horse Mr.Farmer,it looked like an Elk sorta so i just shot and hoped for the best…,Hope that makes You feel better about the whole thing..Come on,there’s nothing to defend here..

  • RandyK

    The hunter should be commended, as well as reprimanded for his actions. Yes he committed a violation by shooting into someone else’s property without permission, and for that he should face appropriate consequences. He ALSO however came to the landowner and admitted his mistake, which normally almost NEVER happens. For that he should be commended, because usually the story you hear is a pet was shot, and they’re still trying to find out who did it because the low life ran off without reporting it.
    As for the landowner / pet owner, he lives in an area known for hunting activities. Whether it was on his own property or not, being close enough to a hunting area where Safety Zone posters are needed, he should’ve taken whatever necessary precautions needed to insure his pet was safe. A person is in MOST cases smart enough not to wear a black coat walking down a country back road during bear season or a brown coat during deer season, even though a human does not in any way resemble a deer or bear. So why not use the same common sense when a pet is concerned?

    • Long time Hunter

      So do you think it is everyone’s responsibility to know all of the hunting seasons in their area even if they don’t hunt? That is absurd!! If that’s the case everyone should wear orange all during deer season! Look the guy screwed up….simple as that.

  • jimbrony

    All you people calling for the hunters head on a platter are the reason I concealed carry everywhere and usually have heavier armament close by. If you get this wound up and vehement over a dead pig, what are you going to be like if there’s a total breakdown of society and you have to fend for yourself? The facts are this: The hunter mistakenly shot a pig for a bear. The hunter confessed to the act and turned themselves in. They also apologized to the pet owner and land owner. ANYTHING else is supposition – you are taking the land owners account for gospel that they were in the safety zone and shot directly towards the house. Let the Game Commission and police do their job and put the pitchforks away. EVERY one of you has done something in the course of your life that could have caused harm to someone or yourself (including me). And judging from what I see on our highways everyday, a good number of you pay no attention to the traffic laws either. Go ahead, throw the first stone. Just be ready for it to come back.

    • Long time Hunter

      Since you insist on comparing this to driving (although that is totally different) you must know that if you drive recklessly and get caught you can loose your license. So this “hunter” was very reckless and should lose his hunting license. If he shot someone wearing a black coat would you feel differently?
      Not sure what your conceal permit has to do with this…are you suggesting that if you were involved you would shoot someone for suggesting you lose your license? You are a very scary person…..people like you are the reason I carry!

  • keith

    He better get more than a citation cause if he thinks a pig is a bear all of long shooting into a safety area what the heck

  • fred

    For those who cant read or understand a simple story…The pig was roaming ON HIS OWN PROPERTY,BE IT WOODED OR NOT AND CLOSE ENOUGH TO BE IN A SAFETY ZONE….EVERY HUNTER HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE TARGET THEY ARE SHOOTING AT BEFORE THEY SHOOT,THIS IS STRESSED OVER AND OVER IN HUNTER EDUCATION CLASSES…And who can forget that little thing called common sense? Apparenty he did…So god forbid it should happen to anyone,apology or not,it wont bring back your pig,dog,son or daughter,,,So if you arent responsible enough to handle a firearm and follow the rules,at least be sensible enough to stay home so I don’t end up in Your game bag.,…Be certain or DONT SHOOT!

  • Sid

    Rick Wolfgang sounds like a true gentleman, kind, understanding, and intelligent. “……once you pull that trigger you have to be responsible for that bullet and where it ends up, that’s your responsibility,”

  • wingfootjr

    The Pig was bigger than some bears. If it was a pet it should have had an orange collar or jacket, it is black after all, and been penned up for the 3 days of bear season. People with pet deer don’t allow them to roam during deer season. the Owner should have used some common sense.

    • Long time Hunter

      Are you serious? Obviously you have never seen a bear or a pig. A pig (black or not) does not look anything like a bear. Not to mention that the so called hunter shot the pig on the owner’s property and shot toward the house. I really can’t believe you think that someone should have to lock up their pets on their own property so that some idiot doesn’t kill them. Take away his hunting license before he shoots someone’s pet goat because he thinks it’s a deer.

      • Long time Hunter

        This was way more than one mistake. Shooting towards someone’s house. Hunting (shooting) at something on someone else’s property. Not positively identifying his target before firing. Oh yea and the biggest mistake he made was getting a hunting license if he can’t tell a pig from a bear! They should take away his license and require him to learn his animals….

  • Dave

    I knew it. Stupidity once again shows up where you don’t want to see it in the hands of a half blind,half brained guy with a gun. To top it off it would have been a cub size and once again they shoot towards someone’s house. I guess in their minds the bullet automatically stops if the target is missed. Time to put the sport down Sport and count your blessings you didn’t do more damage.The fine should have been bigger.Putting people at risk and shooting towards their house should result in the loss of hunting privileges.

    • jimbrony

      Let’s use your logic and apply it towards drivers. If a driver has an accident and is found to be at fault, they should lose their driving privileges, right? After all they are wielding a potentially deadly weapon as well. Perhaps they should give driving up. Ever have an accident that in hindsight you could have prevented? The guy that pulled the trigger manned-up, admitted his fault, and will face whatever charges are placed against him. Cub-size? Have you ever seen a pot-bellied pig? Some of them are quite large, larger than some black bears. The homeowner said the guy shot right towards his house, not the police or game commission. I thought we had something called innocent until proven guilty here in the USA. Let me guess, in olden times you would have been one of the people in the front of the crowd with a pitchfork saying ‘burn the witch’.

      • SusquehannaSteve

        JimB is on point. We should all be a bit more willing to withhold judgement of those we know little about. My guess is many of the comments citing stupidity or idiocy are from people who themselves are a least a little ignorant about PA’s bear populations and bearing hunting in general. The bears that hunters encounter in PA woods are rarely the 600lb behemoths we see in the news. During the 2014 season, 20+ bears were harvested in Lycoming county alone having an estimated live weight of less than 100lbs; nearly a full 50% of the 208 bears harvested in the county were less than 2 years old. This is by no means justification for shooting a black animal roaming the woods during bear hunting season – a hunter should always positively identify his/her target – however, it should at least be cause to consider that there is a relatively high likelihood of such mistakes being made each year. That said, pet owners have their own responsibility to take reasonable precautions to keep their animals safe. Plenty of actions could have been taken, by both parties, to prevent this incident. As for the rest of us, let’s be a bit more thoughtful in our commentary.

      • Dave

        It’s clearly visible is the guys pic of the 2 of them together that the pig that got shot was half the size of the other pig. Then they show the bigger pig next to the guy who owned it and you can Plainly see it’s not legal bear size to shoot.So Neither Pig was legal size if it were a bear. Maybe you need a refresher course on legal size.

      • Dave

        Oh yeah.. He was fined for shooting too close to someone’s house so that close’s the door on your not guilty until proven theory.

      • Long time Hunter

        It is illegal to hunt on property without the owner’s permission…that includes shooting game which is on it. Face it this guy made a multitude of mistakes. If he cares at all about the sport he should give it up so people won’t think we’re all like that.

      • jimbrony

        Wow Dave, do you always talk about what you don’t know or are you making an exception on this article? First of all, please tell us what a legal size bear is. Not your version, I want to hear what the PA Game Commission says about it. Please cite your source, because the Digest I have says nothing about legal size. Second, the article above says citation(s) are pending. The shooter has not been charged with anything yet. Yep, you knew it alright.

  • myobill

    Another moron with a gun, he should be barred from hunting for life and fined. What will he do next, mistake someone’s dog for a deer?

  • Chad

    Did the hunter have permission to hunt the property? Was it in a safety zone? Not sure how you could make that mistake , especially if the hunter was an experienced .

  • Geo Coggins

    was he hunting cubs? seriously i’ve seen 3 bear in the past year alone in old forge, west scranton, and glenburn just outside clarks summit. THEY ARE ENORMOUS shouldnt it be mandatory to have seen a bear before you can go shooting at them?

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Well, lets see.

    #1. The hunter should’ve better identified the target.

    #2. I could see the mistake being somewhat easily made.

    #3. What kind of idiot lets their giant, BLACK, pot bellied pig run wild in the woods during bear season? What do you expect? Shame on you, your also to blame.

    And finally, #4, lets not let chopper’s death be in vain, FIRE UP THE BBQ BABY!!

    • Keith Hinkel

      You LLoyd are definitely the true certified Village Idiot–get your “sign” from Enghvahl yet?? READ!! The above story–several times. Lloyd there is only one certified cure for STUPID–stop by and I will gladly administer said cure.

  • gutterratt

    Do the owners of large properties like this need to post every so many feet it’s private property or are there ONLY specified places where one can hunt? I would hope. Glad I lived in town all the time.

    • Long time Hunter

      The owner should post their property but hunters are required to have permission if hunting on someone’s property. Unfortunately there are far too many “hunters” who drive into the country, park their car and get out and hunt….whether they are supposed to be there or not.

    • Officer Bob

      Posting signs only increases the fine. Posted or not, private is private. Its the difference between simple trespassing, a summary offense; and defiant trespassing, a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

  • matt stetler

    What does he mean a single digit number of hunters are successful? The bear harvest is usually over 3000. Last time I looked that’s a four digit number.

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