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Avery pro-staffer Killed!!!

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I just heard that Avery Pro-Staffer Josh Leger was tragically killed yesterday while hunting in his home province of Quebec. Details are sketchy at this point, but apparently someone in an automobile fired a rifle at his decoys hitting Josh in the head.

Again, I don’t have any more details, but my prayers go out to all of Josh’s friends and family.

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Sad stuff. I rolled down a river once into someone's decoy spread but I never thought to stop and fire a shot off with a rifle. It's unethical and illegal. What a terrible tragedy. My prayers are with his family.

I know poaching isn't as bad as it was in the past, but road hunting shouldn't be happening anymore, especially on a flock of loafing ducks.

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my prayers go out to all of Josh’s friends and family

Mine as well. I think about it all the time when our spread looks just a little to good.

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I hope it's not true and maybe just an internet rumor. I heard the same thing happened in ND or SD a few years ago. Same story, some farmer fired into a group of snowgoose decoys and killed a hunter with a shot to the head.

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It is true. A 59 year old man tried to illegally take a snow goose with his 22cal. which was actually Josh Leger's decoys. It hit him above the eye the group he was guiding got the license plate number before the guy could leave. It just makes you sick. It is definatelly a sad day.

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people just can't hunt the right way. They have to be stupid and pouch and hit someone in the head with a rifle round. What a dumbass!!!

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On Wednesday afternoon, Avery Outdoors Pro-Staffer Jocelyn "Josh" Leger was hunting a remote section of his native Quebec, sitting in a field surrounded by more than 500 snow goose decoys.

Details are still sketchy about what happened next.

This photo of Jocelyn "Josh" Leger was taken Wednesday morning, just hours before he was killed by single gunshot wound to the head.

These hunters are concealed in ground blind placed in a snow goose decoy spread. A poacher looking through binoculars might never see them

But according to several French-Canadian news reports, Leger was struck in the head and killed by a single round from a .22 rifle. The shot was reportedly fired by an unidentified man who believed he was shooting at real snow geese.

It's a tragic story for Leger, a skilled young hunter who joined the pro staff for Memphis-based Avery Outdoors just two years ago.

But it's a more common story than you might think -- and in the wake of the tragedy, Avery officials are urging people to use extreme caution while hunting snow geese over ultra-realistic decoy spreads.

"The snow geese and specklebellies are headed our way, and goose hunting is much more popular today in the Mid-South than it used to be," said Bill Cooksey of Avery Outdoors. "When those geese get here, some people will be getting out their rifles to try and pick a few off from the roads. It happens every year."

To the poachers

Avery's first words of warning go out to the people who might try to illegally shoot snow geese from the roadways.

It's illegal. It's dangerous. And it could be deadly.

"Decoys are getting more realistic, and hunters are learning to hide a lot better," Cooksey said. "We don't do it at Avery, but there are some people who even put neck bands on their decoys -- and that just makes them even more attractive to people looking at them through binoculars or through a rifle scope."

But firing a shot into a flock of geese simply isn't worth the potential consequences.

"What's the best that can happen?" Cooksey asked. "Let's say you make the shot, and you get a band. You still committed a crime. You cheated to win."

Other alternatives are far worse.

"The next thing that could happen is you might get caught," Cooksey said. "That's gonna sting you. It's gonna mean points on your license.

"Then there's the worst thing. You might wound somebody or kill someone. That person is going to die for nothing -- and your life, as you know it, is over."

To the hunters

In addition to the words of warning for poachers who might mistake decoy spreads for flocks of geese, Avery officials urge legal hunters to do everything they can to protect themselves.

Cooksey said some hunters actually craft handwritten signs that read "Hunters in this Field" to give potential poachers a heads-up. Some also craft warning flags out of old deer vests or brightly colored bandanas to use as warning signals for passersby.

When all else fails, Cooksey said, hunters shouldn't hesitate to actually shoot into the air to alert people to their presence.

"If a truck stops on the road, by all means stand up out of your blind and wave your arms or wave a flag," he said. "Don't worry about flaring geese or messing up your hunt. Just make sure those folks know you're out there -- even it means firing shots straight up into the air. Do whatever it takes to get their attention."

Not for nothing

Like the thousands of waterfowl hunters who have flooded Internet message boards with condolences for Leger this week, the folks at Avery are heartbroken over the incident.

But they hope at least a shred of good can come of the tragedy. They have already discussed producing some sort of flag or sign to help goose hunters alert others to their presence.

"If we can come up with some sort of warning product that we can give away or provide at a cheap price, we might do that," Cooksey said. "It won't be a profit center; we just don't ever want to get that phone call again."

For now, Avery officials are just asking everyone to think of Leger when they're in the field this hunting season.

"From now on, every time I'm hunting and I see a truck go by, I know I'll probably think of Josh. I hope other people will, too -- and maybe things like this won't happen again in the future."

-- Bryan Brasher: 529-2343

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wow, that is unbelievable! What a sad story, my thoughts and prayers are with his family. If you get the chance, go to the Avery website and read the tribute to Josh, very sad and hard to understand why this happens to young, good people.

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