Tahlequah Daily Press

December 5, 2013

Shooter of hunter still unidentified

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators continue to seek leads in the shooting of a Coweta hunter last Friday near Welling.

Undersheriff Jason Chennault on Wednesday said investigators had received no new leads after publicly asking for information that would help identify who shot 27-year-old John Mason on Nov. 29.

Mason was hunting with his father on South 540 Road and was leaving the area at around 5:45 when two shots were fired. One struck him in the upper right arm. He was taken to a Tahlequah hospital and later flown to Tulsa, where he has been through several surgeries.

Friends later searched the area and discovered two .30-06 shell casings, which have been sent off for analysis.

Witnesses reported seeing a newer-model, bright-red, four-door Dodge truck in the area before and after the shooting. Investigators hope to speak to the driver of that truck, and anyone else who was in the truck, about the shooting.

“We talked to a guy [Tuesday] who was hunting in the Wauhillau camp area around the same time and drives a red Dodge pickup, but he wasn’t in the area of the shooting,” Chennault said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Chennault or Investigator James Brown at (918) 456-2583.

Two entities have put forward a total reward of $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot Mason. The state’s wildlife department donated $500 through Operation Game Thief, and the Oklahoma State Game Wardens Associated donated another $500.

Callers can provide information anonymously by calling Operation Game Thief at (800) 522-8039 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Game Ward Brady May at (918) 431-2552; or Game Warden Tony Clark at (918) 431-2562.

Callers should explain they want to remain anonymous and report information under Operation Game Thief. Information garnered through that method will be passed along to sheriff’s investigators.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com