Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2006

Wildlife official tells how hunter shot local man

By Brad Bauer, [email protected] 

A hunter failing to identify his target before shooting is being blamed for a Washington County man being shot in the face early Wednesday morning as he walked into a patch of woods to hunt turkey with his 12-year-old daughter.

Ohio Division of Wildlife officials said Matthew Law, 40, of 55 Lake Lane, Vincent, was shot by Joseph Haley, 58, of Alexandria, from a distance of about 40 yards.

Law was transported from Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg via medical helicopter to Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. His condition was not released by hospital officials Wednesday evening. Investigators said lead shot pellets fired from Haley’s 12-gauge shotgun hit the man in the face and chest.

“It is my understanding he may lose sight in one of his eyes,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is handling the investigation with the sheriff’s office assisting.

The incident took place on a piece of property near Ohio 555 and Washington County 3.

Jim Marshall, local district manager of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, said Haley was hunting on land adjacent to property owned by Law when the daybreak shooting occurred.

“It appears (Haley) shot across onto the victim’s property,” Marshall said. “At this point in the investigation, we believe the suspect shot at sounds and movement.”

Marshall said Law was unarmed and walking next to his daughter, who was carrying a shotgun.

Ohio’s statewide wild turkey season opened Monday and runs through May 21. Wednesday’s shooting was the only accident reported to date in the hunting season.

Wildlife officials expect more than 90,000 people to participate in the four-week turkey hunting season. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon daily.

Susan Matthews, spokeswoman for the division of wildlife, said hunters are encouraged, but not required, to wear blaze orange when turkey hunting.

“It is not required, but is always suggested. Especially on the way in or out (of the woods),” Matthews said. “Also, hunters should not wear colors that might be seen on a gobbler. Those colors would be white, red or black.”

Matthews said the most important thing for any hunter or target shooter is to always identify a target and what is behind it before ever squeezing the trigger.

“As far as this incident goes, that seems to be the main problem,” Matthews said.

The investigation into the shooting remains under investigation and charges have yet to be filed.


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