PA: Hundreds of PA hunting accidents
November 26, 2009
Fundamentals the Bedrock of Hunting Safety
During the predawn hours of May 15, Shirley Grenoble hiked into the woods
near Raystown Lake, in Huntingdon County, on a late spring turkey hunt.
Despite the anticipation and thrill of the hunt, she forced herself to take
each step quietly, carefully, so she didn't startle her quarry.
A few hours later, Grenoble was again forcing herself to take one step
after another-except this time it was for survival. Her face, neck, head,
back, legs and arms were filled with small lead BBs. She blindly and
unsuccessfully used one camouflage hunting glove to wipe her face, and
especially her eyelids that had been pasted shut by streams of warm, sticky
"I just kept walking, forcing myself to take one step after another,
knowing that if I didn't, I'd probably faint," said Grenoble as she recalled
with vivid detail her ordeal from 20 years ago.
She had been the victim of a hunting accident-one that could have been
avoided if two 40-year-old brothers had taken a few extra moments to
properly identify their target. "They heard turkey calls and decided to
sneak towards the noise to see what was going on. That was mistake No. 1,"
Grenoble said. "Then they saw something moving, a flash of color, whatever.
They put these clues together and it verified at that moment in their mind
that they were looking at a gobbler."
Series of unfortunate events Grenoble, a lifelong nature enthusiast, avid
hunter and outdoor writer from Altoona, was no stranger to the concept of
hunting accidents. Less than three weeks before her fateful hunt near
Raystown Lake, Grenoble was hunting with her son, Mark, and his wife in
"We were coming down out of the woods as quietly as we could and walked
into an open green field. Someone shot, and Mark fell right at my feet,"
Grenoble said. "They (the landowner and a friend) heard turkey calls on top
of the hill, heard something coming down towards them and couldn't see very
well from a thick, brushy gully. They saw movement and wound up shooting my
son in the face.
"Mark was taken by helicopter to the hospital and BBs were removed. The
doctor said that four BBs were lodged in lethal places-one missed a vital
spot by the width of a thumbnail."
Grenoble returned to Pennsylvania after she knew her son was safely on
the road to recovery. Spring gobbler season was winding down, and so she
headed out one more time before the end of the 1989 spring season.
Following a gas pipeline through the woods above Raystown Lake, Grenoble
stopped every so often to do some calling, but never got a response.
Around 9 a.m., she decided to change location again and bent down several
times to pick up her belongings, including a waist pack, small pillow and
her shotgun. Just then, a shot rang out and Grenoble was hit in the face by
hundreds of small BBs.
"It knocked me down, just like in the movies. I knew immediately what had
happened and curled up into a ball on the ground," Grenoble remembered.
"There were two brothers, each with 12-gauge semi-automatics, and they fired
six shots at me-at least three hit me.
"I looked up and saw the two men standing on the gas line. They were in
shock. Blood was running down my face, out my mouth and nose, across my
Safer than you'd think
Despite the gruesome circumstances of Grenoble's ordeal, hunting in
Pennsylvania is relatively safe from a statistical standpoint.
In 1980, there were more than 200 reported hunting-related shooting
accidents in the state, but the numbers have been consistently declining
Last year, just 35 incidents were reported, according to the Pennsylvania
Game Commission's Hunting-Related Shooting Incident report for 2008. Of the
35 incidents, 40 percent were self-inflicted injuries. According to the
study, most of the incidents occurred on a clear day in a wooded setting
during daylight hours.
Out of the 35 incidents reported, three (8.6 percent) were fatalities-all
of which happened during the 2008 deer season.
The closest fatality last fall occurred in Snyder County along Old Colony
Road, near the Middlecreek Antique Machinery Association grounds, when
Kreamer resident Blain Spickler was accidentally shot in the abdomen when an
unidentified man was attempting to unload his .243-caliber Winchester rifle.
Return to Hunting Accident Index
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