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WV: Three Deaths, Four Injuries Reported so far During Hunting Season

November 24, 2009

Three Deaths, Four Injuries Reported so far During Hunting Season

All three deaths happened in the Eastern Panhandle.

CHARLESTON -- Three hunters have died so far this deer season, according to information from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. All three of those deaths were the results of heart attacks and all three happened in the Eastern Panhandle, the DNR stated Nov. 24, the second day of the annual bucks-only gun season.

According to a DNR news release, Curtis Lane Walker, 73, of Berkeley Springs, died of an apparent heart attack while hunting with his granddaughter in Morgan County near Berkeley Springs Nov. 23. The incident occurred at about 11:38 a.m., according to investigating Conservation Officer Cpl. Kenneth Winter.

The second fatality of the day was Charles Wilkinson, 67, of Cumberland, Md., who died of an apparent heart attack while deer hunting in the Germany Valley-North Mountain area of Pendleton County. He died at about 12:30 p.m. Nov. 23.

Wilkinson had been dragging behind a four-wheeler a deer he had just killed when an unidentified hunter found him sitting unresponsive on the ATV, according to DNR Cpl. Greg Chambers. Wilkinson came to and drove a few yards before collapsing again. The other hunter was unable to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to the report.

Moorefield resident Randall Whetzel, 45, also died of an apparent heart attack while deer hunting in the Dumpling Run-Smith Fork District of Hardy County Nov. 23. He was found at about 6 p.m., according to the news release.

Whetzle had left his home before 6 a.m. to hunt deer, according to investigating Conservation Officer Cpl. Glen Coork. After he did not return, a family member found Whetzle dead in his vehicle with the door open and one leg out of the vehicle.

The DNR reported three injuries that happened on opening day too. Anthony David, 48, of Elk Garden, suffered a self-inflicted gunshot injury while hunting in the Shady Side Lane area of Elk Garden in Mineral County, according to the DNR news release.

The incident occurred about 5 p.m. David told investigating Conservation Officer Sgt. R.A. Clark Jr. that he was attempting to shoot a deer when he slipped and fell backward. The gun discharged while he was falling, sending a bullet through the top of his left ankle and exiting out the bottom of the left foot. He was taken to local hospital and was listed in stable condition, the news release states.

Carl Runions, 51, of Moorefield, was injured when he fell approximately 15 feet from a metal ladder tree stand, according to the news release. He was hunting deer in Hardy County at the South Branch Wildlife Management Area. The incident occurred at 6:50 a.m., according to investigating Conservation Officer Mike Lindale. Runions was taken to a local hospital and was reported in stable condition.

Michael Ross, 31, of Mt. Nebo, broke his right ankle when he fell while climbing down out of a tree stand, Nov. 23, according to the news release. He was deer hunting in the Lower Anglins Creed Road area of Mt. Nebo in Nicholas County. According to investigating conservation officer Cpl. Curt Tonkin, Ross is a convicted felon and was in possession of a .410 single shot shotgun.

There was no word on pending charges.

One injury was reported from the second day of the season, Nov. 24, according to the DNR.

Christopher Michael Olszewski, 25, of Baltimore, Md., broke two bones in his lower right leg when he fell out of a tree stand while deer hunting on private property in Morgan County. The incident happened at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, according to WVDNR Sgt. Thomas Stuckey. Mr. Olszewski was taken to Winchester, MD, VA Hospital for treatment .

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