Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2005

Missing hunter found dead on Holston Mountain

Thursday, December 08, 2005

By Staff report

ELIZABETHTON - The death of a 60-year-old Carter County man near the top of Holston Mountain was a hunting accident, Sheriff John Henson said Wednesday afternoon.

Henson said William Eddie Arnold, 60, 103 Panhandle Road, had placed the butt plate of his .30-06 rifle against the ground as he was crossing a log. Henson said the safety was off.

"It had a hair trigger, and as he was crossing the log some branches brushed the trigger," Henson said.

The rifle discharged, firing a round upward into Arnold's midsection. The round traveled upward through his body, Henson said.

Arnold's body was found not far from the WCYB-TV transmission tower by friends and family around 10 p.m. Tuesday, Henson said. The Carter County Rescue Squad had searched the mountain for several hours Tuesday afternoon and evening after the family reported him missing.

The rescue squad members searched on foot and in all-terrain vehicles on the heavily wooded mountainside. A helicopter from Wings Air Rescue conducted an aerial search.

Henson said Arnold had left to go hunting on Monday evening.

Several deputies from the sheriff's department went back on the mountain Wednesday morning to continue the investigation. The search and investigation were hampered by cold weather and snow on the mountaintop.

Henson said Arnold's rifle was found under the snow.

The sheriff's department was joined by officers from the U.S. Forest Service because the area was inside the Cherokee National Forest. Gary McWherter of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency was also on the scene.

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