Crime courts - web only

A ranch hand at True Ranches in northern Albany County is facing a felony for hitting a turkey hunter in the head with a shovel after the hunter allegedly came onto the ranch property.

Forty-four-year-old Scott Dunlap was charged with aggravated assault and battery for the April 24 incident.

According to the victim, he and his friend had spent two days turkey hunting near Laramie Peak in late April.

When the hunters headed back to town, they spotted turkeys off of Cottonwood Park Road and killed one with a shotgun only after “determining they were on BLM land,” according to an affidavit.

When one hunter went to grab the turkey, he was confronted by Dunlap upon returning to his truck.

Dunlap reportedly was holding the shovel in “port of arms” position and  “yelled at him for trespassing.”

After an “extremely short exchange,” Dunlap hit the hunter in the left temple with a shovel. The attack knocked the hunter unconscious, left a gash almost two inches long “cut to the bone” above his left eye and a “large amount of swelling.”

The hunter told detective Derek Colling that when he regained consciousness,” he saw the man briskly walk back to his truck and threw the shovel into the back of his truck and leave the area.”

“The victim said the man never asked him to put his gun down nor gave him any directions before hitting him with the shovel,” Colling’s affidavit states.

The victim’s friend said that the attack mimicked a baseball swing and the victim’s gun was “pointed straight up and was not pointed anywhere near Dunlap.”

The hunter later received eight stitches at Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

When Dunlap was identified as the main suspect, the ranch hand confirmed to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office much of the events as the hunter had attested to. Dunlap confirmed he argued the hunters were on True Ranches property while the two men argued they were on BLM land.

“When asked if he was provoked or threatened by the victim, Dunlap said that the victim had plenty of opportunities to put his gun down and he didn’t do it,” Colling’s affidavit states.

The affidavit’s description of the hunters’ route indicates that the hunters would have needed to cross the ranch’s property to access the BLM land.

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