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FL - Apparent hunting accident kills man

Apparent hunting accident kills man

By LISE FISHER Sun staff writer

December 28. 2005 6:01AM

A Colorado man died Monday after he was shot in what Columbia County deputies believe was a hunting-related accident.

Robert Taylor, 50, was killed as he was preparing to hunt deer with his family in a rural area in the northern half of the county, deputies reported.

A rifle was being removed from someone's vehicle when the weapon discharged and a bullet struck Taylor, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. The incident occurred at about 8 a.m. on private property off White Springs Road. Taylor was with a group of men who were preparing to go hunting.

Additional information about the shooting, such as where Taylor was shot, was not made public because the case remains under investigation, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Laurie Windham Tuesday.

But Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee said the shooting appears to have been "a terrible accident."

An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday, Windham said.

Taylor had previously lived in Lake City before moving to Colorado, Windham said. But deputies said he had been in the process of moving back to Columbia County.

Taylor owned and operated a concrete business, according to relatives.

Many hunting accidents occur during this time of year, which is the state's most popular hunting season. Called the "general gun" season, it runs from November through January.

There have been approximately six hunting-related accidents this hunting season, said Karen Parker with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

But this shooting would be the area's first hunting-related fatality of the season, Parker said.

A teenager also died in the Panhandle earlier this year after he was accidentally shot by a member of his hunting party, Parker said.

Although Tuesday's incident didn't occur while people were in the woods hunting, it indicates the need for hunters to always take precautions.

"Regardless of the years of experience or the knowledge of weapons, you must use extreme caution anytime a firearm is involved. You never let your guard down," Gootee said.

Lise Fisher can be reached at (352) 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com

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