KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- The sound of golfers teeing off, cheering and maybe even a rogue golf ball are not uncommon for people living alongside a golf course. However, the sounds and sights heard and seen by residents near Pine Knolls Golf Course in Kernersville Sunday evening were anything but ordinary.
Exclusive video obtained by FOX8 shows a man, with a shotgun, opening fire on a goose while on the course. Further video shows multiple Canada geese floating dead atop a pond lining the fairway.
“There were feathers everywhere, and birds over there flopping around, and some dead ones and they were ringing their necks,” said Steve Dotson, who lives near the course and took the video.
Dotson told FOX8 that a group of men with shotguns killed many more geese than the video shows. At one point, Dotson says, the men had about four geese in hand each and estimated the total number of the geese killed to be somewhere around 20.
“They were flopping all up there along the trail, the ones that were living were trying to get to their buddies,” Dotson said.
According to Dotson, the geese grouped together as the men approached them. As more shots rang out, children living nearby began screaming and running inside.
“These guys actually had shotguns pulled out,” Dotson said. “It was bad.”
Dotson called the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and deputies arrived minutes later. Shortly afterward, Sergeant Carey Bostic with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission arrived and identified the shooter(s).
Sergeant Bostic told FOX8 that killing migratory birds -- which the Canada goose is -- out of season can be a federal offense. If the men doing the shooting had permits and permission from the owner of the course, they could have been within their legal rights to shoot the geese.
This still pertains to public golf courses, even though there are houses near where the shooting happened, as long as the men used due caution.
Sergeant Bostic says he is currently working to determine if the men have such permits. If they do not, they could be charged under federal or state law, but would only be facing a misdemeanor for taking a migratory bird during closed season.
He put extra emphasis on the fact that people cannot simply decide to do something of this sort on a whim, and there are channels of people they must go through to gain permission.
“Luckily I just happened to be here. I don’t know what would have happened if I wasn’t,” Dotson said. “They would have just killed them all I guess.”
FOX8 went to the golf course in an attempt to speak with the owner. Though he never appeared personally, he relayed a message through an employee, saying he was aware the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission was looking into the matter and had no further comment.