For a Hazel Green couple, opening day of the 2011 gun-deer season will be one they won't soon forget.
On Nov. 19, the Grant County Sheriff's Department received a call from the Robert and Nellie Meyers residence about a gunshot through their house on Scrabble Creek Drive in the Village of Hazel Green.
The Meyers' recalled hearing an odd noise about 10:30 a.m. that morning but didn't know what it was until they returned home from a trip to Cuba City. Nellie said they heard the crash, which she compared to a sonic boom, but she didn't investigate. "We thought it was the city workers because their buildings are down below where we live," Nellie said. "I was talking to my daughter on the phone when I noticed the hole and thought it was from the guy who had been there to replace a light. We went out to do some errands and noticed some dirt on the floor before we left, and I thought it was odd because I had just swept there. It wasn't until we came home we saw the hole in the outside of our house." Nellie said it was her husband, Bob, who noticed the hole in the closet door. The bullet was later found on the floor of their closet room amid several brooms and cleaning supplies.
A Grant County deputy went to investigate and discovered the east side of their home had been shot by what appeared to be a rifle round. The bullet then entered through the east wall of their home, went through an interior wall, through a closet door before becoming lodged in a southern interior wall. The deputy determined the bullet came from north of the home and most likely came from a hunter shooting in an open field on the northeast side of the village. The deputy wasn't able to locate any hunters who may have been in the area at the time of the rifle shot.
The Meyers' decided to call the sheriff's department to report the incident due to it's odd nature. "We have lived here for 13 years and we have a lot of deer around here," Nellie said. "It's nothing to look outside and see deer in our side yard. We never thought something like this would happen."
Nellie said village president, Dave Jegerlehner lives across from them and they were surprised to hear it didn't hit his home first. "My main concern is for the safety of residents here in the community," Nellie said. "Where we live there is a lot of foot traffic and kids out playing and riding their bikes. It wasn't until later when I talked to my daughters did I realize we could have been hit by the stray bullet." Nellie said she could have been in the laundry area working or coming home or greeting guests when the bullet hit.
The Meyers' have contacted their insurance company and contractor to see about repairing the damage to their home.
In an unrelated incident, on Oct. 15 at approximately 5:40 p.m. the Hazel Green Police Department received a call from a local residence about some property damage. The officer learned that a stray rifle bullet went through the kitchen window and landed on the floor at a residence located on Percival Street just north of 26th Street. The officer determined the bullet went through the south kitchen window and landed on the floor. The bullet itself had minimal mushrooming effect, which the resident and the officer discussed and believed the incident was not intentionally directed to him. The bullet is believed to have been from a high trajectory shot from a mile or more away originating from the south.
Hazel Green Police Chief, Eric Lyons said in both cases it appears to be random and there is no information indicating any foul play. "However, this appears to be more carelessness and recklessness on the shooter's behalf," Lyons said. "Gun owners need to be aware of their surroundings and the angle they are shooting their rifles."
Anyone having any information on these two cases can contact the Hazel Green Police Department or the Grant County Sheriffs Department.