Leroy Ogin found out the hard way that walking onto someone else’s property in order to get to your favorite hunting spot of the last 60-plus years may not always go according to plan. After passing through his neighbors property during deer season in 2015, Ogin got surprised by a massive paint bomb booby trap that ruined his clothes, covered his face and messed up his gun.
Though he was technically trespassing, these measures may be a little extreme, especially considering the landowner had never confronted Ogin about it. On the other hand, 99.9% of trespassers on hunting property aren’t ever really “just passing through,” so we fully understand why the owner would’ve used the trap.
Story via Deer & Deer Hunting:
An elderly deer hunter who was sprayed with paint while trespassing on a neighbor’s property on opening morning of the 2013 Pennsylvania deer season has had the charges stayed by the State. The charges will most likely be dropped in early August if he does not have further complaints filed against him. In another twist, the landowner who set the paint bomb was also ticketed in the incident — on charges of criminal mischief and criminal harassment for allegedly rigging up a trip wire that was attached to an explosive device that discharged a paint bomb on opening day of Pennsylvania’s 2013 gun-deer season.
By Daniel E. Schmidt
In an exclusive interview with Deer & Deer Hunting on Monday, Leroy Ogin, 73, said he had been hunting the property near his home in Luzerne County for the past 61 deer seasons without incident. While admitting he was technically trespassing, he said he did not intend to hunt that property; instead he was using an old logging road to gain access to a spot he has hunted for decades.
“I was 8 feet onto his property,” Ogin told D&DH. “I’ve walked that trail hundreds of times over the years. He never said I couldn’t walk there.”
Ogin’s interview with Deer & Deer Hunting was the first he had conducted with the media on the incident.
As evidenced in a YouTube video shared on Deer & Deer Hunting yesterday, Ogin is shown via a trail camera walking through the wooded area when an explosion occurs. He is stunned, and then the video shows him wiping a substance from his face, body and gun expelled from a device attached to a tree trunk. He said the substance was paint.
Ogin said the explosion came from the explosive device being wired to an automobile an air bag mechanism wired to a switch that set off the paint bomb attached to a suspended wire.
“I thought I was shot with a gun,” Ogin told D&DH. “I then realized I had paint all over me. It was a permanent-type of paint. It ruined my hunting uniform, my hat, my gun … everything. I walked back to the house — about a quarter-mile — my wife thought I was shot, too, because the paint was red.”
No Prior Warning?
Ogin said the landowner did not confront him that day or any day prior to inform him he could no longer use the logging road to access his hunting spot.
“About a week and a half later, I get a summons in the mail for trespassing,” Ogin said. “And I also find out that this video is on the YouTube. I don’t have a computer or anything like that, so I didn’t know anything about a video.”
“I was 8 feet onto his land,” Ogin continued. “He never said I couldn’t walk there — like I have done for many, many years. The only time I’ve ever talked with him was the year before when I was on the other neighbor’s land and he came up from behind me and said, ‘You’re getting pretty close (to the line) don’t you think?’ He never said a word (about staying off the logging road).”
Proceedings in Process
The ticket against the landowner, 53-year-old Michael Condoluci, is scheduled for later this year with the Luzerne County Magistrate’s Office, according to the district court office.
Ogin also told D&DH that he didn’t know the logging road was off the property line and that he would have stayed off the logging road had Condoluci asked him. He said the other landowners in the area freely allow hunting and walking access to deer hunting areas.
As for his setback during this last opening morning hunt, Ogin said it did not deter him from continuing to hunt.
“I went back out later that day,” he said. “I still had red paint all over my glasses and in my beard, but that wasn’t going to stop me.”
According to a clerk at the district court office, Ogin’s trespassing ticket was issued at 9 a.m. on Dec. 2, and Condoluci’s tickets were issued at noon that same day.
The clerk said Ogin’s ticket was placed on hold beginning Feb. 12 and lasting for six months. She said normal procedure is the ticket will be dismissed after 6 months if no other charges are brought against the party. She said the same scenario would likely hold true in the case for Condoluci. His charges were placed on hold beginning May 7, also for a period of six months.
UPDATE 5/22, 8:59 AM:
In Web replies to posts on this topic, landowner Michael Condoluci is apparently offering more insights into the incident from last December.
Yesterday, in reply to DDH.com poster Craigo, emails from Condoluci’s email address offered these comments:
“He [Ogin] never had [expletive] permission, doesn’t own the land doesn’t pay the land owners taxes, never asked for permission to hunt. He flat out refuses to leave when he was told he was trespassing, [it] sounds like your one of the guys that hunts on public land. Good place for you. Why dont you go back there and keep your [expletive] mouth shut.”
He also commented, “…It’s trespassing. He doesn’t own it. If he wants to hunt the property, let him pay the taxes; have the common decency to ask permission to hunt.”
UPDATE 5/20, 2:43 PM:
In a D&DH forum and subsequent email exchange with a man stating he was Michael Condoluci and said he did, in fact, warn Ogin previously about trespassing on his land.
On the forum, he wrote: “I’m the one who did this to this idiot. I’ve owned the land for 6 years. He’s been hunting on my land every year. I tell him every year he is trespassing, he refuses to leave and tells me he’s been hunting here his whole life. My land is posted and I even have signs trespassers will be painted, and patrolled by Sherwin Williams, maybe the jerk can’t read and if that’s the case, he shouldn’t be hunting. Don’t think I will see him next year.”
D&DH responded directly to the email address, asking Condoluci if he wanted to make further statements on this situation.
“Talk to you in 6 months after the hold period,” he replied. “Just have to say he was warned about trespassing before.”
The woman who uploaded the video onto YouTube added these comments on that site this afternoon: “This man has been warned for being on private property. He chose not to listen. There was [sic] many signs posted about the paint. Unfortunately, you cannot see in color, but his clothes were not ruined. They were old, stained and ripped. What you don’t see is another young man who actually destroys a few things in [sic] the property.”
UPDATE 5/20, 4:44 PM:
A trespasser’s son has responded to the unfolding events. Leroy Ogin Jr. contacted D&DH just now and offered these comments in a direct message on Facebook:
“I’m just [upset] because … one video can spread so fast … to top it off, there are people [who] have no idea of what happened and don’t know the true facts … saying how funny this is and he got what he deserved. I wonder if it happened to them or one of their children if they would think its funny. Then they say they deserved it. I deal with people on my in-laws land where I hunt(110 acres) and all I do is let them know they are on private property and tell them to leave. We don’t put out traps like this guy did. That’s going too far!”