Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?

One killed on opening day of NH firearms deer season

November 9, 2011

From Boston.com

LISBON, N.H.—Separate shootings on opening day of New Hampshire's firearms deer season left a Massachusetts hunter dead and second hunter injured, authorities said Wednesday.

Kenneth Brunelle of Marlboro, Mass., was hunting with his father and brother when he was shot at about 8 a.m. in Lisbon, in northern New Hampshire, said Department of Fish and Game Lt. Brian Suttmeier. The 31-year-old Brunelle died at the scene, Suttmeier said.

Brunelle's death was only the fifth hunting-related fatality in the state in the last 15 years, officials said.

A second hunter, 65-year-old Dan Mullen Sr., was shot in the buttocks by a fellow hunter who was firing at a deer shortly after 4 p.m. in Pittsfield, Lt. Jim Juneau said. His injuries weren't life-threatening, and he was able to walk out of the woods, Juneau said.

Brunelle was shot by a 48-year-old New Hampshire man who was hunting alone, Suttmeier said. Authorities are interviewing him, and state police are investigating. Suttmeier wouldn't say where Brunelle was struck.

"It's imperative that hunters know what they're shooting at and what's beyond what they're shooting at," Suttmeier said.

No charges have been filed; Suttmeier said officers are still collecting evidence and plan to present their case to the Grafton County attorney, who would decide whether to press charges.

The last hunting-related death in New Hampshire happened on opening day of muzzleloader season in 2009, officials said. The hunter was killed when his muzzleloader discharged shortly after he had gotten into his tree stand.

The department said New Hampshire has a good record for hunter safety, largely attributable to mandatory hunter education and the increasing use of blaze orange clothing by hunters. The average number of hunting-related incidents per year has decreased steadily since the state instituted the hunter education requirement for first-time hunters in the 1970s.

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