A close call for a local family, out for an Easter hike in Lodi, has authorities reminding gun owners to be mindful of where they are firing weapons.
Heather and her husband took their three children to the Lodi Marsh segment of the Ice Age Trail on Sunday (April 4).
(Editor’s Note: Heather chose not to share her last name due to privacy concerns.)
Heather says about 1.5 miles into the trek, they heard several gunshots in the area. “We thought it was most likely someone on private property doing some target practice or something,” said Heather.
The gunfire soon became too close for comfort. “We heard a bullet hit a branch above us and we could hear the whistling sound of the bullet as it was going through the air.”
A pair of hikers just ahead of them on the trail also witnessed the gunfire. “The other hikers turned to us and asked us if we had also heard the same thing that they did, because we all kind of were just shocked.”
Heather said two or three more shots then followed, “hitting the branches and trees above our head.” Frightened, she and her husband told their children to run, as the other hikers took cover behind some trees.
“Just running and not knowing whether the person knew that there were people nearby or not worried that a bullet would be lower and hit one of us, it was truly terrifying.”
They got to a safe spot around a ridge and called 911. Dane County Deputies were dispatched to canvass the area.
Officials with the sheriff’s office say they “didn’t find anyone or anything” and believe it may have been someone turkey hunting or doing target practice.
Heather hoped that this was just a mistake and “that some information or education could be provided about their proximity, making sure that their gunfire doesn’t leave their property.”
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said this serves as a reminder for landowners or hunters to be mindful of their surrounding before pulling the trigger. They also encourage people to wear brightly colored clothing when out in wooded areas, especially during hunting seasons.
“I don’t want anyone to get hurt obviously and it was way too close for comfort with our experiences and we’re just very thankful that we’re okay,” said Heather.