Update: We spoke with a cousin of the victim’s for more on his life and times.
A man shot and killed while grouse hunting in northeastern Okanogan County has been identified as Michael R. Carrigan, 52, of Hoquiam.
He appears to have died from a gunshot wound to the chest Monday night near the junction of Cow Camp Road and Pontiac Ridge Road southeast of the tiny burg of Chesaw.
Sheriff Frank Rogers said Carrigan was shot after shooting at a grouse in a tree. The death is being investigated as a homicide.
George R. Stover, 65, also of the Grays Harbor County town, told officers that he believes the shot that killed his hunting partner came from something like a .22 caliber, according to Rogers.
Two nearby residents are described as persons of interest, Rogers says, and their shack and other buildings were searched yesterday under a warrant. The sheriff says that officers have had contacts in the past with the pair, and says one is being cooperative, the other not so much.
The duo are described as a father and son by the Wenatchee World, which also reports that weapons and ammunition were seized. The paper also says the son was arrested on an unrelated warrant.
In a phone call this morning, Rogers detailed more about the events that led to Carrigan’s death.
He said that according to Stover, Stover and Carrigan own a hunting cabin in the area and on Labor Day evening decided to go drive around for grouse. The evening is when grouse come out of the woods to peck for gravel along roads, which helps them digest the leaves and other foods they eat during the day.
Rogers said that Carrigan saw a grouse in a tree and got out of the vehicle, shot, missed, shot again and missed again.
KHQ reports that he shot at the bird from a field, not along the road, which would have been illegal.
“At that time, (Stover) hears a shot,” he says.
Carrigan fell and Stover heard another shot, Rogers says.
He described the wound as to Carrigan’s back.
At that point, Stover drove away from the scene to call for help.
County deputies, WDFW law enforcement and the Border Patrol all responded to the scene. Carrigan was pronounced dead, and his widow was reached last night with the bad news. An autopsy will be performed today.
Rogers says the incident occurred within 100 yards of the persons of interests’ abode, but “everything indicates Carrigan did not shoot towards the house.”
The area, not far south of the Buckhorn Mine, is a mix of Okanogan National Forest and private lands.
“It’s a waste,” Rogers said. “It’s sad. Eventually we’ll get to the bottom of this.”