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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2007

NY: Teen accidentally shot in arm while hunting in Putnam

By JONATHAN BANDLER
THE JOURNAL NEWS

October 22, 2007

PATTERSON - Seventeen-year-old Eamonn Hanley was camouflaged, sitting at the base of a tree in the Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area, hoping the turkeys he and his dad were hunting yesterday morning couldn't spot him.

Unfortunately, a third hunter, Manuel Pereira, didn't see him, either - and birdshot from Pereira's gun missed the pheasant he was aiming for and struck the Kent teenager in the left arm.

"It burned, it hurt, like someone punched me. It didn't feel like a bullet," Hanley said later, after he was treated at Danbury Hospital.

The accidental shooting occurred shortly after 8 a.m. about 120 yards from the Stage Coach Road entrance to the park. Pereira, armed with a shotgun, and his brother and a nephew, using bows, were hunting pheasants. Their dog flushed one and Pereira fired.

He missed and then fired again, as the pheasant escaped, said Lt. Deming Lindsley of the state Department of Environmental Conservation police.

"They were very, very small, not much bigger than the point of a pen," Lindsley said of the pellets that struck Hanley. "(Pereira) was shooting at the pheasant and never saw the boy on the other side."

Bob Hanley said he heard his son scream and saw his son's arm bleeding when he removed his shirt. The father called 911 and the Putnam County Sheriff's Office responded.

Once it was determined the shooting was accidental, the investigation was turned over to the DEC police.

Pereira, 53, of New Milford, Conn., and the others in his party were licensed to hunt and were using proper equipment, so summonses were not issued, Lindsley said.

Pereira will face a DEC hearing in a few months to determine whether the shooting was negligent. If it was, his hunting license could be revoked for up to 10 years.

The teenager, a sling over his bandaged arm, was back at his Kent home within a few hours. He is a senior at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School and plays varsity soccer for the Gaels. He said the doctor told him to rest the arm for at least a week, so he will miss his final two games.

The seven pellets will remain in his arm because doctors did not want to run the risk of damaging muscles by removing them.

The teenager bow-hunted last year for the first time after taking the required state hunting-safety course. Yesterday was his first time out this season, and he said getting shot would not keep him from returning.

"You go out there, you know there's a risk," Eamonn Hanley said.

His mother, Louise, said she was not too worried about him continuing.

She said she knows that her son is generally safe and that he and her husband take the necessary precautions, like sitting low to the ground with their backs against a tree.

"Fortunately, it was in his arm and not his chest," she said.

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