ROCKLAND — Texas authorities say the shooting death of a Connecticut state trooper during a wild boar hunt near the Mexican border over the weekend was an accident and that the Maine man who shot him is unlikely to be charged.
Alvin Chase Sr., 74, shot family friend Stephen Davis, 50, of Hebron, Connecticut, as Davis was trying to flush boar out of thick brush at dusk Saturday. Davis, who was wearing a black shirt, was on his hands and knees as he ducked under a fence when he was struck by a single round, police said.
The Maverick County Sheriff’s Office initially gave an incorrect age for the shooter Tuesday, and only identified him as Alvin Chase of Warren, Maine. Both Alvin Chase Sr. and Alvin Chase Jr. were on the hunting excursion to Cinco Ranch along the Rio Grande, but the younger Chase was back at the campsite at the time of his friend’s death, sheriffs investigator Robert Sifuentes said Wednesday.
“After I spoke with the medical examiner, we agreed it was accidental,” Sifuentes said. “They decided to go stalking. Mr. Davis flanked around trying to spook what he thought were hogs.”
The bullet entered near Davis’ left armpit and exited through the upper part of his sternum, which appeared consistent with witness descriptions of how the shooting occurred, Sifuentes said. He said it was unlikely the elder Chase would face charges in the case.
When contacted Wednesday at his home in Warren, Alvin Chase Sr. declined to speak about the accident.
The Chase family is well-known around Warren and Rockland, having owned and run Eastern Tire and Auto Services on Park Street in Rockland for three generations dating to 1946. Alvin Chase Sr. took over in the mid-1970s, according to the company’s website, and now Alvin Chase Jr. and his brother, Aaron, run the business.
Reached at his business, Alvin Chase Jr. also declined to comment.
WILD BOAR ATTRACT HUNTERS
Alvin Chase Jr. is involved in the Georges River Land Trust and served as the group’s board president until 2014, according to the company’s website. His business has held fundraisers for the charitable group in the past, according to neighboring business owners.
Davis was a 27-year veteran of the Connecticut force, having worked as a DARE officer and as a trainer of new recruits, the Hartford Courant reported.
The Cinco Ranch is not a hunting preserve, said Steve Lightfoot, news manager for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Cattle ranchers guide for the deer, boar and turkey that inhabit the region, Lightfoot said, similar to the work that Maine Registered Guides do across the state’s woods and waters.
The manager of Cinco Ranch, Jeff Karns, didn’t return calls for comment.
In Texas, like many states in the South, feral pigs are considered a nuisance animal and are hunted year-round to manage the growing populations, Lightfoot said.
Wild pigs are plentiful in the South compared with the Northeast and they are popular game for hunters from New England, he said.
“They are frequently hunted, especially by lots of folks who are non-residents and have never seen a wild hog,” he said.
Rogue wild pigs sometimes found outside hunting preserves in New Hampshire are hunted there, but only with permission, even though state wildlife officials want them contained, said Jane Vachon of the New Hampshire Fish and Game agency.
“You don’t want them in Maine. They cause tremendous damage to the environment,” Vachon said. “We try to make people aware of them and ask that they report them if they see them, because we want to contain their presence. They devastate native habitat and water supplies.”
WILD PIGS FOUND IN 39 STATES
States seek to control feral pig populations for many reasons.
Wild boar have the greatest reproductive potential of any large mammal in the world, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game. They carry disease, destroy crops and can cause the decline of many plant and animal species.
Wild boar, which come in many colors and generally weigh 100 to 200 pounds, are not native to the United States, yet exist in 39 states, Vachon said.
Despite its destructive tendencies, the wild boar is an elusive animal that is difficult to hunt, usually being most active at night.
They can be dangerous or aggressive if people move too close, provoke them or venture near a sow with young, said Ross Gatcomb, wildlife specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Augusta.
“During an attack, feral swine will lunge or charge utilizing their tusks. This predominantly causes lacerations to your legs or feet due to their height,” he said.