Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > December 2004



'Hunting' murder, accidents tragic

By Steve Tucker

A few of weeks ago, a multiple shooting involving hunters in Wisconsin was on the front page of most newspapers across the USA. A man was trespassing on private property on opening day of Deer Season. When he was confronted about the trespassing, he opened fire on a party of eight -- killing six and wounding two others.

Make no mistake about it, this wasn't an accident, nor was it about hunting.

This was more of a sign of the times we are in (where a human life is worth less than the opportunity to harvest a deer).

Some hunting accidents are truly accidents. And that's more what this article is about.

One of my friend's brothers took his family, his dad, 9-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter into the mountains for a week of Big Game hunting and some great relationship building. It didn't end up working out that way, though.

His 12-year-old daughter had shot a nice buck and as the whole family gathered around to "high five" each other and tell her what a great shot she had made, she started to remove a live round out of the chamber and the rifle went off, striking her grandfather in the stomach. Everyone was in shock as they watched with disbelief. Once they got over the initial shock, they quickly got him to his feet and helped him back to the truck. They called ahead via cell phone to have an ambulance waiting for them to take him to the local hospital. After some extensive surgery, he was listed in stable condition. He lost some of his small intestine and spleen, but, thankfully, did fully recover.

Now the 12-year-old had passed a hunter's safety course to get her license. She had just killed an Antelope the week before. It wasn't like she was new to hunting. Things do just sometimes "happen."

This had to be a traumatic experience for not only the grandfather, but also for the rest of the family. Any high-powered rifle leaves a lot bigger hole where it comes out than where it goes in, but this didn't stop them from getting him the help he needed. The rest of the family is now going through some counseling, but it was really hard on the daughter and son. Will this stop them from hunting? I hope not. It wasn't the sport that caused this accident, it was just not thinking and the lack of paying attention.

I remember one time while duck hunting with four guys early in the morning. We were walking in pairs, two in front and two in back, down a levee when all of a sudden a shotgun blast went off and dirt flew everywhere. I had no idea what had happened.

As I turned around, I could see that my brother-in-law's face was as white as a ghost -- yes, his gun had discharged, and it was only by God's grace that shot didn't spray everyone.

He had been hunting for at least 20 years, as well as being seasoned on the art of gun safety. It was an accident. I think sometimes we get so used to handling guns, we just simply take it for granted that this could to anyone, anytime and anywhere.

You can never be too careful.

Steve Tucker is The Sun-Star's outdoors columnist. You can reach him at [email protected] or leave a message at 384-2221.

Posted on 12/11/04 00:30:00

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