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Hunter tells 911 dispatcher his friend shot Bragg soldier

Posted January 6, 2011

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— A Fort Bragg soldier whose body was found Saturday on a public hiking and biking trail on post was accidentally shot by a hunter, according to a 911 call released Thursday.

Capt. Jeremiah D. Sipes, 33, of Belgrade, Mont., died of a single gunshot wound, Army officials have said.

A spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Command, which is looking into Sipes' death, said Wednesday that a hunter found Sipes' body near the intersection of Plank and King roads at the western edge of Fort Bragg. The Army hasn't declared the death a hunting accident, but the spokesman said they were looking into that possibility.

The man who called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday was out of breath and upset during the two-minute call.

"We got an emergency here on Fort Bragg. We got a guy that's been shot," the caller said. "It's (on the) All American Trail. We were in here hunting, and a guy was running down the fire break. We jumped a deer, and this guy with me shot him, shot the guy. We need some help quick."

In hunting parlance, "jumping a deer" means to spook an animal so it will run.

All American Trail is closed to the public during deer hunting season, which runs Oct. 2 through Jan. 1, the day of the shooting, according to Fort Bragg officials. Signs at each trail head and online to note the closures, officials said.

Bragg trail Bragg reviewing policies after fatal hunting accident

It was unclear if Sipes might have accessed the trail in an area where there were no signs.

Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said such an incident has never happened before, and officials are reviewing policies to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

"What we're starting to do is look at all of our safety procedures. What can we do to ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again?" McCollum said.

Sipes, a graduate of Montana State University, was the squadron intelligence officer for 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He is survived by his wife, Heather, and two children, Hallie and Kellan.


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  • fishon Jan 10, 2011

    Night time, no hunting signs, in a subdivivision? Sounds wrong to me.

  • fishon Jan 10, 2011

    We had a hunter hunting last Friday (1/7/2011)which is past deer season, at night which I thought was illegal, on land posted with "No hunting" and in a subdivision where people live.

    Still small game season until Feb 28.

  • prices05 Jan 10, 2011

    We had a hunter hunting last Friday (1/7/2011)which is past deer season, at night which I thought was illegal, on land posted with "No hunting" and in a subdivision where people live.

  • chuckdiaz Jan 7, 2011

    What bothers me is that individuals would believe that Jerry would disobey what was posted and venture into the area anyway.

    Heather, Jerry's parents, his friends, I, and my family will never let the kids forget their father. He was a great person who cared for those he loved and his friends. Both my wife and I and both my sons will miss Jerry, and it is hard to imagine not ever seeing him again. But I know that Jerry is now with our lord and out of harm's way. I worried for him being in the Army, as I do my son.

    Please pray for Heather and the kids also please pray for this hunter. Was their negligence? I don't know I wasn't there, All I know is that I have lost a boy that was like another son and I know was the apple of his parents eyes and that his sister will also miss her little brother.

    I am not in the business of dealing out judgment - that is for God and the courts to do. Many of you are right in that nothing will bring Jerry back but I can tell you that Jerry was not

  • chuckdiaz Jan 7, 2011

    As I sit here thinking about the funeral that I will be attending on Monday I finally decided that I had to say something after reading some of these postings. I am the father of one of Jerry's long time friends here in Montana.

    Jerry was very aware of hunters and would not have gone into the area if he would have seen a sign... PERIOD. Jerry was a smart, and very aware young man, one that I knew followed the rules.

    My boy was on Ft Bragg for a bit and ran the same trail and he explained that there are many ways that an individual can get on to the trail, meaning that you do not necessarily need to use the trail head.

    I am a hunter also and I know my personal rule is that I do not pull the trigger without having a line of sight and I also never, never jump animals to get them to run because of my fear that I'd miss. I feel for the hunter and I believe Heather understands that it was an accident and forgives him. What bothers me is that individuals would believe that Jerry would d

  • RM24 Jan 7, 2011

    Smilealways. Hunters shoot does everyday. I do not feel the huntEr is at fault and I have no idea what he was shooting. But huntErs do shoot does everyday for the meat.

  • RM24 Jan 7, 2011

    Crazyjohn brown: No I think we are basically arguing the same point. I made an ssumotion he was using a shotgun because of the type of hunting he was doing. assassuming he was. I believe the more I read and see that it was a case of accident and the hunter is not at fault. I don't think the runner is at fault. However bad place to be running on Jan 1st.

  • smilealways25 Jan 7, 2011

    @fayrunner: I can assure you that the hunter was not aiming at a deer without antlers. Hunters do not want to bring home a deer without antlers anyway. Don't make assumptions. How do you know the hunter was not aiming at a deer? Did it say in the article that he was aiming at the runner and did not see a deer at all? No, it didn't. Also, hunters know that the game warden is likely to be around, especially on the last day of deer hunting season, so they are more likely to follow the rules, like not shooting does when it is not allowed to shoot a doe.

  • smilealways25 Jan 7, 2011

    @pappy: You are correct. No matter how much experience we have on the road, there are still accidents. We all have to take tests and classes now to be able to drive, but there are still accidents. We try to prevent them, but they still happen unfortunately.

    @pine horse: I hate to hear about that. This was not a hunter who uses dogs. He had permission to be on the hunting reservation.

    @imtiredofit: The hunter does not have a low IQ. He is also not "defective" in any way. He is a good member of our society and a successful man. Don't talk about others when you do not know them. I'm tired of THAT. People ought to have to pass an IQ test to post comments if you think hunters should.

  • smilealways25 Jan 7, 2011

    The hunter is a good hearted, respectful, respected, very experienced hunter. He is a great man with a huge heart. He is heartbroken for the soldier, his wife, and his two girls. There is nothing he can do to take this back. Many of you can say such horrible things without know each detail like I know for a fact. You should be careful what you say and assume because horrible accidents happen everyday to good people like this hunter and the soldier. Don't judge people without knowing who they are first.

    @z man: You are making an absurd statement. I'm sorry you don't know all the details. The hunter is responsible for what comes out of his gun, but it was an accident. What would it help for him to spend time in jail? It will not bring the soldier back. He is already being punished enough by having to live with himself after the accident. Are you wanting the hunter's family to be punished as well by him being behind bars? I don't think it will solve anything.