DANSVILLE — Although investigators stress the importance of hunting safety there are still accidents that happen.
For the first time a local investigator has teamed together with two others to shed some light on this problem in an CSI fashion true-crime novel depicting real life incidents when hunting went very wrong.
Van Durme is currently doing book signings across the state for this true-crime novel he wrote with his partners.
This bestseller, Blood On The Leaves, by Michael Van Durme, Rod Slings, and Keith Byers is getting early praise from people all over the world. The book hit stands on Sept. 1, and is already highly recommended.
Van Durme was at the Wayland Public Library Tuesday, at 7 p.m. to talk about his book, and will be in Albion and Watkins Glen over the weekend. On Oct. 24 he will be in Rochester. On Nov. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Van Durme will be at the Dansville Public Library to talk about the book, and they will be available for purchase there as well.
Capt. Van Durme, retired New York State Environmental Conservation Officer, has been an avid hunter and outdoorsman his entire life, and devoted 35 years to investigating hunter related accidents. Although he has retired he still trains others on how to investigate hunting crimes, and has written manuals on the subject.
Van Durme invented a device after several years of research to help prevent accidental shootings. The Measurement of Visibility Device was created in 1999 for this purpose, and is still strongly used today by investigators across the country.
“I have been shot twice on the job,” he said. “The first chapter of the book talks about the first time I was shot, and the 25th chapter talks about the second time I was shot. Each time I was shot the person I arrested made a complaint about me. This 30 chapter book is about true story hunting incidents of cases I and my partners have worked on.”
Van Durme have been shot twice by hunters. First in 1987 by a frog hunter with a .22 rifle and then in 1996 by a deer hunter with a 12 ga. shotgun.
“In both cases, I saw the person before they shot me and was able to immediately arrest the shooter and appropriate criminal charges were filed,” he said. “After my second shooting injury, it was made clear to me that being able to establish and document the ability of a shooter to see, or not to see, their victim is critical while at the same time difficult to quantify.”
“This documentation has been vital in being able to proceed in both criminal and civil trials. As a result of both my own injuries and through the development of the MVD, investigating, analyzing and teaching others about Hunting Related Shooting Incidents (HRSIs) has become my passion,” Van Durme continued.
Van Durme decided after all of his experience it was up to him to train other officers.
“I became the lead instructor,” he said. “I have trained over 1,000 officers across 18 states. This is a special form of investigation, like the ones who investigate plane crashes.”
The book itself took two years to complete, but in this case the publisher requested these experts write the book, and even offered them money and a contract before a single page was written.
“This kind of book has never been written before,” Van Durme said. “The publisher was very excited to have this book out there for people to read.”
There is a science to investigating hunting crimes.
“This concept is about 20 years old and we have been there from the very beginning,” Van Durme said. “All of the investigation done in New York has been done on what I wrote. Rod Slings started this in 1993, and Keith and I joined him in 1996. We have been working together ever since.”
There is one chapter dedicated to not being able to tell the story, because of the emotional pain it causes the investigator.
“Rod writes one chapter about two children who were friends, and it ended tragically in a hunting accident, and how it is too hard to tell the story,” Van Durme said. “It is hard to see an autopsy of a child.”
The book is available for $18 (with tax) at Dogwood Trading Company, Hyperion Arms and Ammo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.
“The biggest reason we wrote this book is too making hunting safe all the time,” Van Durme said. “If there are no more stories to tell, and no one ever has to go through this again … that would be perfect.”
Van Durme is very happy when his book is well respected, and hunters are sharing this information with other hunters.
“That is the most important part about it,” he said. “I want people to be safe out there.”
For more information on the authors, training, and the book you can visit the website at www.huntsrc.com or go to the Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants Facebook page.