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Couch v. Lyon

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

November 5, 2013

MICHAEL L. COUCH, Plaintiff,
v.
CRAIG LYON, d/b/a RCA HUNTING SERVICE, and DALE BOHN, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ROBERTO A. LANGE, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Michael Couch ("Couch") filed a Complaint, Doc. 1, against Defendants Craig Lyon ("Lyon"), doing business as RCA Hunting Service ("RCA Hunting"), and Dale Bohn ("Bohn") for injuries Couch suffered when shot by Bohn on a guided pheasant hunt led by Lyon. Lyon filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, Doc. 15, which Couch opposes, Doc. 19. For the reasons stated below, Lyon's motion is granted.

II. FACTS

Lyon operates RCA Hunting to provide guided hunts primarily for pheasant and deer around Gregory, South Dakota. Doc. 17 at ¶¶ 1-2; Doc. 20 at ¶ 1. Couch is a retired police captain with extensive firearms training as well as an experienced hunter who at the time of the injury was a resident of Missouri and now resides in Florida. Doc. 17 at ¶¶ 4-6, 13; Doc. 20 at ¶ 1; Doc. 16-3 at 1.

In September of 2009, Couch joined Lyon and RCA Hunting for a guided deer hunt. Doc. 17 at ¶ 3; Doc. 20 at ¶ 1. On September 16, 2009, prior to embarking on the deer hunt, Couch signed a Waiver and Release Agreement (lithe Agreement"). Doc. 17 at ¶¶ 9, 11; Doc 20 at ¶ 1. The full text of the Agreement stated as follows:

In consideration for my being permitted to participate in the activities of Craig Lyon, DBA RCA Hunting, I agree to the following Waiver and Release:
I acknowledge that hunting and/or target shooting has inherent risks, hazards, and dangers for anyone, that cannot be eliminated, particularly in a wilderness environment. I UNDERSTAND THAT THESE RISKS, HAZARDS, AND DANGERS INCLUDE WITHOUT LIMITATION:
1. The risk of handling firearms and being near others that have firearms in their possession;
2. The risk of injury from ammunition and shot from other guns;
3. Walking in rugged country, including encounters with wildlife, animals and insects;
4. Inclement weather conditions;
5. The risk of injury from riding on an all terrain vehicle (ATV) or any vehicle ...

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