NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt

Posted by: Mike Willand
Monday, March 23, 2015

More than a decade has passed since one of the most infamous opening days to Wisconsin’s gun season. On that day, November 21st, 2004, an alleged racially motivated altercation between an all-white hunting party and a single Hmong man lead to the deaths of six people, landing the shooter, Chai Soua Vang, in prison for the rest of his life.

The complete recount of those events are now available in a new book entitled, “Tree Stand Murders”. The book was written by first time author David Whitehurst, a long time hunter who was nearby when the incident occurred. “When I heard those sirens go by that day and saw the ambulances speeding, I knew instantly this was a major event that should be recorded for history”, replied the now 77 year old Whitehurst during a recent interview with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “Over the months after that, what I did was talk to as many people as I know in the area and asked who was going to write a book, and no one was. I checked with my friends who are writers, and all of them said the same thing: It should be a book, but I'm busy on another project right now. So I gathered information, starting with 1,600 pages of police reports I obtained before the trial.”

Whitehurst attended the trial of Vang in 2005, taking notes and speaking with nearly everyone involved. The hardest part of the story for Whitehurst to reconstruct was the incident itself. “I talked with (survivor) Lauren Hesebeck. He didn't want to talk for a long time, and finally I said, "I've written the incident. Can you just read it and see if I'm on track?" He said I was. I then spoke with Steve Crotteau, whose brother was killed, and his son Carter, who discovered the bodies. The library of Rice Lake was very generous to allow us to use a private room for these discussions. They all said the same thing: You're on track; you've got it. That was encouraging, so I kept going.”

wisconsin deer hunter vang

Vang (pictured above) is currently serving several life terms after a tragic Wisconsin deer hunt left six other hunters dead in 2004.

The book is not one-sided either. Whitehurst was careful to examine the history and lives of the Hmong people, including Vang’s parents, to give the reader an accurate background of the problems faced by Hmong-Americans not just in the state of Wisconsin.

Speaking on the Vietnam War, Whitehurst explains, “What the Hmong people did during the war was fantastic. It was horrible what they went through and especially when the U.S. pulled out and the communists moved in. They were merciless, especially to those who were part of the CIA's "Secret War." It was quite a victory when Chai Vang's father and mother got him (Vang) out. The Hmong people did a tremendous effort toward the cause of freedom. It didn't work in the end -- and that's, of course, why they came here -- but in terms of the effort, I give them very high marks.”

Vang is currently serving six charges of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted homicide in an unknown location outside the state of Wisconsin.  He was sentenced to life in prison for each murder conviction.

David Whitehurst’s 174-page book, “Tree Stand Murders”, is available at several Rice Lake area bookstores or online at Amazon or OutlookPress.Com.


5 Comments on "NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt"

Re: NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt

When will we see this book in our stores in Kansas City, Missouri ??? Don't order things off the internet

Posted by Tina & Jodie on 3/24/2015 12:33:00 PM

Re: NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt

Honestly i my self is Hmong and ive been hunting for 9 years and everytime i head out into the woods to hunt, the one thing that scares me the most is HMONG people, second is white people third is hunting on Native American grounds. Reason being why im scared of my own kind in the woods is because the older generation age from 40 have never taken hunter saftey and dont no the rules so they go do dumb stuff. Thats why white people hate my kind when ever we go hunt. Its because the older generation dont no how to respect other hunters when there already hunting on a public land. Like when a hmong hunter goes squirrel hunting on public land and they notice that a white bow hunter is there already hunting. They say oh well who cares lets go in and end up shooting the place to s*** and it makes not onle the white but my own race mad also. Im the young generation so i respect my fellow bow hunters. I know how it feels like to get shot at in the tree by other hmong people squirrel hunting. A

Posted by vue on 3/24/2015 3:15:24 PM

Re: NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt

I followed this case just as close as the author did. I felt that this book Was written poorly and negatively with one sided in mind only. This case is a case of race only because towards the end of the trial, the men who Chai Vang alledgy shot at them had a twist to their story. They admitted that they did shot at Chai first and that's when everything start. To my understanding, the court ruled it off and it was never taken into consideration. Just because the author mention about Chai's family and a little bit of the Hmong history doesn't not mean "The book is not one sided". There are many other case just as similar to this one and what they all have in common is a "Hmong Hunter" and a "White Hunter". The worst kind of hunter are the one who hunts for other hunter.

Posted by Cassandra on 3/24/2015 10:57:25 PM

Re: NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt

MIKE WILLAND should be ashamed to even mention this on this website. He should also mention CHA VANG, the HMONG hunter who got murder and the killer didn't even get life for intentionally killing CHA.

Posted by Mike on 3/25/2015 7:56:47 PM

Re: NEW Book Recounts Tragic Wisconsin Deer Hunt

Mike, the above post is about a book release and nothing more. Neither I, nor are representatives to any party described in the tragic events which took place in 2004 outside Rice Lake. Nor are we representatives for the author of the book, "tree stand murders". If a book is written on the vang trial we would be happy to place it on our news feed alongside other book release notifications like the one above.

Posted by Mike Willand on 3/29/2015 8:10:24 AM

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