Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?

Young goose hunter dies in freak accident

December 24, 2011

By Dave Orrick, TwinCities.com

Nick Verdoes had big plans to be a lifelong waterfowler - and he was making good on them.

The 19-year-old from Redwood Falls, Minn., was a budding guide who impressed his family, friends and colleagues with a dedication to finding the birds, not so much for him to shoot, but for others.

On Dec. 17, while crouched on the edge of a field, goose hunting with friends, a nearby companion's shotgun discharged and Verdoes was mortally wounded.

He would have turned 20 the next day. His funeral was Thursday.

Verdoes was in a party of six friends, ages 19 to 25, hunting on a Saturday morning on private land near Danube. They were targeting Canada geese flying between a field and a gravel pit with a patch of open water, Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable said.

The outing was among friends, not a guided hunt with clients, Hable and Rittenour said.

They were using a stand of trees as concealment, and after 9:30 a.m., members had shifted positions. The shift put Verdoes in the line of a shotgun that had been placed on the ground, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who provided more details than Hable but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

As a flock of geese approached, the hunter next to Verdoes reached for the gun - a modern semi- automatic shotgun - and "something bumped it and it went off," the person said. "The trigger was never pulled. The shell was never ejected."

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