Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2005

Man killed in hunting accident by a boy, 12, after being mistaken for a deer

Man killed in hunting accident by a boy, 12, after being mistaken for a deer

By Jessica Guenzel

Friday, December 30, 2005


A Thomasville man was killed while hunting Wednesday when he was mistaken for a deer and a shot with a rifle by a 12-year-old boy, officials said.

Douglas Wayne Murdock, 28, of 2 Landon Lane was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Capt. Chris Huebner, the hunting and boating safety coordinator with the N.C. Wilderness Commission, Murdock was hunting just before 10 a.m. in a shooting lane off Garren Town Road in Randolph County when the shooting happened.

Apparently, the boy and his grandfather, also on a hunting trip, were riding a four-wheeler through the area when the grandfather spotted Murdock and, mistaking him for a deer, told his grandson to shoot at it.

Murdock, who was wearing a blaze-orange vest and abiding by all hunting regulations, was shot once in the upper chest with a scope rifle, Huebner said.

"He basically was just sitting there in a shooting lane, minding his own business when he got shot," Huebner said. "The worst part is that with a scope rifle (the boy) should have been able to tell that it's not an animal. Definitely, with a blaze-orange vest, he should have been able to tell.

"When we teach hunter safety, we teach them that you don't shoot anything unless you can positively identify it. If you can't positively identify it, you are to treat it as if it is a human." Huebner said that Murdock had attended a hunting- safety course. But he said that neither the boy nor his grandfather had received such training. The shot was fired from 100 to 200 feet away.

The boy's name is not being released, pending a decision by the Randolph County district attorney on whether to press charges.

Under state law, any children under 16 can hunt under the supervision of a properly licensed adult, but they must have a certificate showing that they have completed a hunting-safety course.

• Jessica Guenzel can be reached in Lexington at (336) 248-2074 or at [email protected] 

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