Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting

PA: 14-year-old trapper shot in stomach

November 23, 2009

14-year-old in stable condition after he’s possibly mistaken for a turkey, says official. Probe goes on.

SHICKSHINNY – A 14-year-old boy, who authorities say might have been mistaken for a turkey, was shot in the stomach on Town Hill Road in Huntington Township at about 2:53 p.m. Saturday.

The boy and his father, who are from the Shickshinny area, were setting hunting trap lines to capture burrowing animals when a 44-year-old man using a rifle shot the boy possibly believing he was shooting a turkey, Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesperson Tim Conway said.

“We don’t know what happened at this time. It is very possible that, that situation did happen where he was mistaken for a turkey, but we are not sure at this time,” said Conway, explaining the shooting is still under investigation by the Game Commission, Pennsylvania State Police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s office.

The boy was airlifted to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where he underwent emergency surgery. The victim was in stable condition and “very lucky,” Conway said.

“Last I heard (Saturday) night he was awake after surgery and talking with the nurses. He was in good spirits,” Conway said.

The suspected shooter, whose name has not been released, was taken in for preliminary questioning, Conway said. The man, who lives in the area, was then released at the scene.

Additional questions of everyone involved will be conducted during the next week, as Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll confirmed her office was investigating.

Speaking in generalized terms and not specifically on this case, Conway said it is important that all hunters confirm the identity of their targets before shooting.

“When we teach them how to hunt in our basic hunter-ed classes that’s the first thing we talk about is positively identifying your target. Unfortunately, a lot of people do shoot at movement and sound. I don’t know the scenario here. I don’t have a clue,” Conway said.

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