GA: Hunting accidents call attention to safety
November 14, 2009
Hunting accidents call attention to safety
Thomaston’s Anthony Wilson was driving the rental company’s delivery van
on the northwest outskirts of Warm Springs when a bullet came through the
passenger side window.
It missed his co-worker and hit him in the upper chest.
“He died on the operating table,” said Fred Coggins, who handled
Thursday’s funeral of the 27-year-old Aaron’s worker.
Investigators haven’t yet pinpointed where the bullet came from along a
stretch of Whitehouse Parkway.
The shot rang out just after lunchtime one week ago today.
Meriwether Vindicator publisher Johnny Kuykendall said in happened about
1 p.m. between Leverette Hill Road and Pine Knoll Drive.
There were deer stands off the road, said Meriwether Sheriff Steve
“It looks like a hunting accident,” Whitlock said. “There was a power
line right where the bullet hit the vehicle. We found three deer stands
there but haven’t been able to determine whether anyone was hunting on that
property. We’re looking for a needle in a haystack right now.”
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is assisting in the
investigation, Whitlock said.
If Wilson was hit by a hunter’s bullet, it would mark the second fatal
hunting accident in Georgia this fall.
A week before hunting season began, 11-year-old John Wayne Corcoran of
Dawsonville accidentally shot himself in the head Oct. 9 while hunting with
his grandfather on a DNR specialty hunt at the Dawson Forest Wildlife
This firearms deer season got off to a tragic start in Crawford County
where two hunting accidents happened a week apart. Both victims survived.
“A lot of times it doesn’t work that way when you’re dealing with a
high-powered rifle,” said Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker.
The very first day of deer season, 30-year-old Kevin Knighton of Byron
was shot in the abdomen while hunting in Crawford County.
Gregory Wade, 46, accidentally shot him at a hunting spot off Ga. 128
west of Roberta.
Wade was taking a rifle from his pickup when it fired. The bullet passed
through the passenger door and hit Knighton, who was standing outside the
“He had a loaded weapon,” Walker said. “If it hadn’t have been loaded it
wouldn’t have happened.”
One week later, a Miami man accidentally shot himself in the leg while
hunting off Dixon Road.
Jose Antonio Ortega, 58, was coming down from a deer stand when the rifle
discharged and hit him in the right calf.
The sheriff said both accidents could have been avoided if the hunters
had taken proper safety precautions.
“A lot of them don’t load their weapons until they get to the stand and
unload it before coming down,” Walker said. “It’s best to disarm it so
there’s no chance it will discharge.”
If the weapon is loaded it can fire if the hunter accidentally drops it
or catches the trigger on a tree limb.
Georgia is considered a top destination in the country for non-resident
hunters, according to the DNR.
State law requires hunters born after Jan. 1, 1961, to complete a hunter
education course before getting a season license.
There are no requirements for one-day passes or three-day passes for
hunters from outside Georgia.
During the last firearms deer season, nearly 289,000 licensed hunters
harvested over 320,000 deer in Georgia. While those bullets hit their
targets many others do not.
Hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange above
the waist to hunt legally during firearm season.
“Ultimately, each hunter is responsible for keeping themselves and others
safe while pursuing deer this hunting season,” Lt. Judd Smith said in a news
release from the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division. “This includes
respecting all firearms and being absolutely certain of their target.”
The DNR suggests following the “Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety” to
One: Control the direction of the firearm’s muzzle. Keep the safety on
and fingers off the trigger at all times until ready to shoot.
Two: Identify the target and what is beyond it before shooting. Know the
identifying features of the animal being hunted and be absolutely certain
that what you are aiming at is that game.
Three: Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
Four: Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions and only
use the proper size ammunition in the firearm.
Five: Always unload a firearm when it is not in use, leave the actions
open, and carry empty firearms in a case to and from shooting areas.
Six: Never aim a weapon at anything that you do not intend to shoot.
Avoid all horseplay with a firearm.
Seven: Never climb a tree or fence, or jump a ditch or log with a loaded
firearm. Never pull a gun or rifle towards you by the muzzle.
Eight: Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or at water. Make
sure backstops are adequate during target practice.
Nine: Store firearms and ammunition separately and beyond the reach of
children and irresponsible adults.
Ten: Avoid all alcoholic beverages and drugs before and during shooting.
These safety tips are covered in all DNR hunter safety courses and should
be reviewed each season.
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