One of the most important things you are taught in a South Dakota HuntSAFE class is that you are certain that your target is the legal game animal you intend to shoot. This guy forgot about that rule.

A Vermillion man has been charged in Clay County with reckless discharge of a firearm and trespassing while hunting after mistaking a family dog for a coyote and killing it.

According to the Clay County Sheriff's office, Dietrich Mehlhaf was hunting outside Wakonda around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday when the incident occurred.

Authorities said Mehlhaf shot at what he thought was a coyote from the right-of-way onto private property. Mehlhaf only discovered that he had shot the family's dog, a German shepherd, once he went on to the family's property to retrieve the animal.

The homeowner discovered the animal after hearing several gunshots. Mehlhaf had left the area prior to the resident's arrival. The Sheriff's office said a neighbor witnessed Mehlhaf on the family's property and spoke with him after he had identified the animal.

Shooting at the coyote from the road is actually legal, even if he had been in a parked vehicle. But he still would have needed permission to hunt and retrieve the coyote, which he apparently did not.

Most amazingly, how did this guy mistake a German Shepherd for a coyote? They don't look remotely similar, with the exception of them both being canines.

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