Hunters responsible for knocking out internet service

You wouldn't think a hunter would be responsible for knocking out cable and internet service to several hundred customers. But that's exactly what happened in Ralls County Missouri over the weekend.

Authorities say a shotgun blast on the opening day of dove season caused a major headache for the Ralls County Electric Cooperative.

At 5:15 on Sunday afternoon, Lynn Hodges the chief operating officer for Ralls Technologies, got word of a service interruption.

"It's extremely frustrating, especially when folks are performing illegal activity shooting up into the fiber," Hodges said.

And the cause of the service failure wasn't due to an equipment malfunction. Hunters were shooting at doves perched on overhead fiber optic internet lines.

"Us, it's certainly, there's no sportsmanship in shooting doves off a power line. And it's certainly is going to be damaging to a couple of folks, if we do indeed find those individuals that shot these power lines, because we will be pursuing repair of the project," Hodges said.

Hodges spent some time with Missouri Conservation Agent Don Clever. Clever said it's a major violation for someone to shoot either from a road or to shoot across a roadway.

"It's a heavy fine for shooting from the roadway or across the roadway. And if you do come across something like that call the sheriff's department. They can get ahold of one of us or you can call the OGT hotline which is the number on the back of your permit or also find them in an of our publications," Clever said.

Hodges wants this to be a public safety message. He said if someone would shoot at the line and it was a high voltage electric line, they could be injured or possibly killed from the electricity that is still live in the wire.

Hodges also said this isn't the first time this has happened, it's the fourth time in two years.

Repair costs to the fiber optic line is estimated to be in the $8,000 to $10,000 range.