By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU – Wausau police are reminding students that a springtime game popular with high school seniors could have unintended consequences.

Nerf Wars, also called Senior Shoot Out, is a game played every spring by seniors at some local high schools in which teams of four try to eliminate other players by shooting them with soft Nerf pellets.

The game seems harmless enough, but often the game catches the attention of police after teens are seen chasing one another or enter homes without permission. In April 2014, for instance, controversy erupted when a concerned resident reported seeing a group of teens get out of a vehicle and point guns at people in a second vehicle, according to police reports. The caller believed the guns were real, but when police arrived with guns drawn, officers quickly learned the students were playing with Nerf guns.

Six were originally issued disorderly conduct citations and $240 fines, a decision that initially drew sharp criticism from the community. But Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel ultimately voided those citations and students instead participated in creating a public service announcement to warn against risky behavior. Officials said the students involved were all respectful to officers and understood how residents might have mistaken their game for something much more serious.

In a Facebook post, Wausau police said: “Local law enforcement officers have already responded to a couple of incidents this week involving game participants. Please use good judgement when out and about.”