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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2006

11-year-old Lafayette boy injured in hunting accident

By Scott Marshall
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

An 11-year-old boy lost his left eye Sunday afternoon when another boy accidentally shot him on a state-organized junior pheasant hunt north of Sacramento, his family and authorities said.

Dreyson LeDoux, a fifth-grader at Springhill Elementary School in Lafayette, is in stable condition in the intensive care unit at UC Davis Medical Center, his family said. Doctors are hoping he does not lose sight in his right eye as scar tissue begins to develop, said his grandmother, Lonaye Ballard.

"He had 12 hours of surgery (Sunday night), repairing all the different things, trying to remove the lead," Ballard said.

"His body's been through a lot," she said. "Every prayer, we can use it. Anybody, anywhere, please."

She said the LeDoux family has comforted the boy who shot Dreyson.

Dreyson, whose sister Lonaye, 8, is a third-grader at Springhill Elementary, passed a hunter-safety course at age 9 and hunts nearly every weekend with his grandfather Bill Ballard. He already has shown his resiliency.

"The doctors came in and told him, his left eye is gone, he'll never see out of it again," said family friend Karen Krieger of Walnut Creek. "He told the doctors, 'that's OK, I'm right handed.' "

The shooting occurred at 2:45 p.m. in the Nelson Slough Unit in the Feather River Wildlife Area in Sutter County, said Steve Martarano, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.

The state Department of Fish and Game, which has organized the junior hunts for several years, requires one hunting-licensed adult to chaperone every two boys, Martarano said. All first-time hunters must complete a safety course.

The Sunday afternoon hunt had a total of 44 people, including the required number of adults hunters. Dreyson was standing between two other boys when a hunting dog flushed out a pheasant rooster, Martarano said.

Dreyson and another of the three boys, standing 20 to 30 feet apart, both fired their .20-gauge shotguns. As the bird fell, the second boy fired a second shot, which struck Dreyson in the face, also seriously injuring his left hand. His grandfather, who felt the blast pass him by, began first aid before Dreyson was flown to UC Davis.

An average of 20 hunting accidents occur in California yearly with two fatalities, Martarano said.

"Our youth tend to be our safest hunters," because they don't take safety for granted, said Fish and Game Capt. Roy Griffith, the statewide hunter-education administrator.

DREYSON LEDOUX FUND

Friends of the family of 11-year-old Dreyson LeDoux have established an account to help pay for his medical bills. Contributions are being accepted at the Concord branch of Metro 1 Credit Union, P.O. Box 3008 Concord, CA 94522-3008, 925-682-6650 or 800-435-4040. The account number is 358306.

Reach Scott Marshall at 925-945-4782 or smarshall2@cctimes.com

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