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OH - Several Hunting Accidents

Ohio assesses week of deer hunting season

By Brad Bauer, The Marietta Times
December 05, 2006

Hunting mishaps during Ohio’s week-long deer-gun season left one person dead and six others injured, including a 13-year-old Washington County boy who shot himself Sunday.

Ohio Division of Wildlife spokeswoman Susan Matthews said the Palmer Township boy was hunting with friends and family near his home when he accidentally shot himself in the foot.

“He went to cross a fence and as he pulled his 20-gauge shotgun across it snagged and fired and a slug struck him in the foot,” Matthews said.

The boy’s name was not released however, Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said the child’s father, Alvin Smith, of Palmer Square, was pulled over by deputies as he was racing the boy to the hospital.

“That’s how we learned of the incident,” Mincks said. “But we are not investigating it.”

The Division of Wildlife is handling the investigation.

The Smith family could not be reached for comment on Monday. The boy’s condition is unknown.

Matthews said Sunday’s incident — and nearly all other hunting incidents — could be prevented with proper attention to safety.

“Any time you cross a fence or an obstacle you always want to unload your firearm,” Matthews said.

The state’s deer-gun season opened Monday and closed Sunday evening. It will reopen Dec. 16 and 17.

Warm and wet weather are being blamed for a decline in harvest totals so far this year. Ohio hunters took 111,682 deer last week, down from 116,855 a year ago.

Washington County hunters killed 3,743 deer, up three from 2005.

An estimated 400,000 hunters participate in the statewide deer-gun season. Ohio’s deer population was believed to be 600,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting season.

Most of the week’s hunting incidents occurred during the first two days of the season, including the only fatal injury, Matthews said. Four of the seven incidents involved self-inflicted shootings.

Billy Prince, 20, of Mansfield, was shot in the abdomen by his 53-year-old uncle who mistook him for a deer during the season’s opening day. The Richland County incident took place before daylight and outside legal hunting hours.

Other incidents:

• Nov. 27: A Knox County man was struck in the arm by a stray shotgun slug.

• Nov. 27: A Morrow County hunter shot himself in the thigh as he attempted to climb down from a tree.

• Nov. 28: A Henry County man was shot in the leg by another hunter when a deer ran between the two men.

• Nov. 28: An Ashtabula County hunter was shot in the leg by another hunter when a deer ran between the two men.

• Nov. 28: A Medina County hunter shot himself in the foot while attempting to remove a loaded firearm from a vehicle.

• Sunday: A Richland County hunter shot himself in the foot after lowering his gun after deciding not to shoot at a deer.

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