It started out looking like a normal hunting accident, but was it something more?
A five-day academy that drew 51 wildlife officers from 15 different states had an interesting purpose: how to determine between a hunting accident and foul play.
According to Springfield News-Leader, the objective of the Hunting Incident Investigation Academy held at Andy Dalton Shooting Range was for officers to analyze different "hunting accident" scenes that they may come across. Often when a hunting accident occurs they are the first to arrive and this academy is meant to help teach them how to preserve evidence that they may come across.
The academy used to go by Hunting "Accident" Investigation Academy, but has since adopted the name "Incident" Academy, since not all fatalities related to hunting are necessarily accidental.
Training with the Incident Academy helps wildlife officials implement better rules and laws back in their home state. For example, one of the officers in attendance was from Missouri, where hunting accidents were on the rise. They have now implemented a hunting law allowing nothing larger than #4 pellets.
They also offer training at the Incident Academy for dealing with media members as they arrive on the scene. This helps them learn how to deal with a reporter that may be continually trying to get more information until they have a full report or press statement ready.
Much of the training reflects the modern world we live in, with more sophisticated crime solving capabilities and news spreading mechanisms. Ultimately, the purpose of the Academy is to keep hunters safe, and to get to the bottom of any incidents as efficiently and effectively as possible.
What do you think of the Incident Academy? Do you find it valuable? Do you think your state's wildlife officers should attend? Let us know in the comments.