Saturday marked the first day of regular deer hunting season in Western New York, also known as "shotgun season," and Jamie Billquist had a heartfelt message for hunters – a warning born from his own tragic loss.
"Before you pull that trigger, just make sure you know what's out there," Billquist said in a Facebook Live video he posted Friday night. "Don't just randomly shoot and make sure of your surroundings. Be careful. Make sure there's no other hunters or anything around there."
Billquist has lived almost a year now with the dreadful consequences of what can happen when someone isn't careful.
On Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving 2017, Billquist's wife, Rosemary, was walking their two dogs behind their home in Sherman when a neighbor mistook her for a deer and opened fire. An investigation would show he fired that fatal shot at 5:24 p.m., 40 minutes after sunset, which is illegal under New York State law. In October, Thomas B. Jadlowski, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and hunting after sunset.
Billquist isn't against hunting, he said in his video which had been viewed more than 7,300 times by 12:30 p.m. Saturday and shared more than 200 times.
"Nothing against hunting," he said, wearing a hat that read "Live Life." " I just want to make sure everybody knows to follow the laws and just be careful.... I just want everybody to be safe and I just don't want to have another tragedy like we had last year."
Billquist has kept his wife's memory alive through benefits and fundraisers for causes dear to her heart. He posts photos of her and positive messages every day on Facebook.
On Saturday, he posted another video, this one much more lighthearted. The video showed Billquist and his friend, Matt Ehrman, dressed head to toe in turkey costumes just after they delivered 50 free turkey dinners for Love Inc. in Jamestown and the Jamestown Free Methodist Church. They handed out turkeys in one bag and a second filled with corn, beans, mashed potatoes and homemade cookies that another friend baked for the occasion.
"We love Rosie. We did a good thing today and we feel really good," Billquist said smiling on the video as he drove with his friend. "It was a good day and we're in these turkey outfits. Who would have ever thought?"