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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2005

Deer hunter shot by 13-year-old

November 14, 2005

A New York Mills, Minn., hunter was fatally shot Saturday by a 13-year-old member of his hunting party, the third shooting death this month during Minnesota's deer hunting season.

John Edward Nelson, 36, was shot about an hour before dawn as he walked toward his hunting stand about 10 miles north of New York Mills, said Otter Tail County Sheriff Brian Schlueter.

"He wasn't even supposed to be there. Everybody thought he was working," Schlueter said. He declined to identify the young hunter who fired the shot because the incident is being investigated.

Two other Minnesota hunters have died from gunshot wounds. Shelley Denece Burgess, 48, of Evansville, Minn., was fatally wounded Nov. 5 while hunting in Grant County. Jeffrey Dean Ford, 40, of Pequot Lakes, died Tuesday after he was shot while hunting in Crow Wing County.

In each case, the hunter who died apparently was shot by another member of the hunting party.

The number of deer hunters who die in accidental shootings has dropped sharply over the years. There were no shooting deaths during last year's deer season, one in 2003 and two each in 2002 and 2001.

After the first two deaths last week, state wildlife authorities reminded hunters to follow basic safety procedures -- properly identify targets, take extra care when aiming at game on the move and be cautious while loading and unloading guns.

WARREN WOLFE

Copyright 2005 Star Tribune. All rights reserved

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