I'm glad to see that almost everyone here shared my thoughts regarding this "accident". Working alone all the time, sometimes I question my own perspective.
I was also rather irritated that the hunter immediately dismissed his own actions. He excused them because of the distance. And actually, another officer that came to assist me that day also dismissed his actions. That day the officer said to me, "Well, you don't have anything- he was outside 200 yards." My immediate thoughts were, "But wait...that doesn't seem right".
We teach not to shoot at deer (or anything) that is running up a hill or standing at the top of a hill. Why? Because you don't know what may be coming up the other side. We teach to look beyond your target. Either the hunter didn't pay any attention to what was beyond his target, or he just didn't think his 12 ga. Remington 870 would shoot a slug that far. Well, guess what...a word to the wise- if you lob a slug at an angle, it goes a hell of a long ways.
I told the hunter that he was lucky he didn't kill someone in the process of discovering how far a slug will travel. At that distance it still packed enough punch to go through the siding and shower wall of one house, and the window and drywall of the next house.
And, lastly...if you haven't hit the deer in the first four shots, what are the chances you are going to hit it with a Hail Mary fifth shot? I'd say the chances are slim.
So, I made an appointment with the county attorney. After describing the incident to him, and letting him research "case law" he decided that he didn't feel comfortable prosecuting a "reckless" charge. Careless? Stupid? Yes. But "Reckless", no. Unfortunately sometimes the law works against us. Because of the definition of "reckless" he didn't think he could get a conviction. But my opinion is...isn't it worth a try?
Another word to the wise...it is pretty easy to blame law enforcement sometimes. Why didn't the cop arrest the guy? Why didn't the game warden charge him with this or that? Sometimes it is out of our hands. My county attorneys office is a never-ending source of frustration for me. If I moved one county east or west, they would prosecute, but not here. The county attorney only wants to take time with cases he is sure to win. I guess I realize they are busy with big deal things like murder and rape, but it would still be nice to have fish and game stuff taken seriously for once.
So, if your house is on the edge of town, I guess I would take the sarcastic "advice" of one of the commenters and outfit it a blaze orange vest.