Ohio assesses week of deer hunting season
By Brad Bauer, The Marietta Times
December 05, 2006
Hunting mishaps during Ohio’s week-long deer-gun season left one
person dead and six others injured, including a 13-year-old
Washington County boy who shot himself Sunday.
Ohio Division of Wildlife spokeswoman Susan Matthews said the
Palmer Township boy was hunting with friends and family near his
home when he accidentally shot himself in the foot.
“He went to cross a fence and as he pulled his 20-gauge shotgun
across it snagged and fired and a slug struck him in the foot,”
The boy’s name was not released however, Washington County
Sheriff Larry Mincks said the child’s father, Alvin Smith, of Palmer
Square, was pulled over by deputies as he was racing the boy to the
“That’s how we learned of the incident,” Mincks said. “But we are
not investigating it.”
The Division of Wildlife is handling the investigation.
The Smith family could not be reached for comment on Monday. The
boy’s condition is unknown.
Matthews said Sunday’s incident — and nearly all other hunting
incidents — could be prevented with proper attention to safety.
“Any time you cross a fence or an obstacle you always want to
unload your firearm,” Matthews said.
The state’s deer-gun season opened Monday and closed Sunday
evening. It will reopen Dec. 16 and 17.
Warm and wet weather are being blamed for a decline in harvest
totals so far this year. Ohio hunters took 111,682 deer last week,
down from 116,855 a year ago.
Washington County hunters killed 3,743 deer, up three from 2005.
An estimated 400,000 hunters participate in the statewide
deer-gun season. Ohio’s deer population was believed to be 600,000
prior to the start of the fall hunting season.
Most of the week’s hunting incidents occurred during the first
two days of the season, including the only fatal injury, Matthews
said. Four of the seven incidents involved self-inflicted shootings.
Billy Prince, 20, of Mansfield, was shot in the abdomen by his
53-year-old uncle who mistook him for a deer during the season’s
opening day. The Richland County incident took place before daylight
and outside legal hunting hours.
• Nov. 27: A Knox County man was struck in the arm by a stray
• Nov. 27: A Morrow County hunter shot himself in the thigh as he
attempted to climb down from a tree.
• Nov. 28: A Henry County man was shot in the leg by another
hunter when a deer ran between the two men.
• Nov. 28: An Ashtabula County hunter was shot in the leg by
another hunter when a deer ran between the two men.
• Nov. 28: A Medina County hunter shot himself in the foot while
attempting to remove a loaded firearm from a vehicle.
• Sunday: A Richland County hunter shot himself in the foot after
lowering his gun after deciding not to shoot at a deer.