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OH - Hunter killed on his birthday

Hunter's death remains under investigation
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The hunter had turned 46 Sunday, when he was shot to death.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN Township police and a state agency still have work to do to piece together the shooting death of a Champion man, said a state wildlife officer.

Police identified the man who was fatally shot while hunting Sunday as David Lesh, 46, of Mahoning Avenue, Champion.

Police Lt. Don Bishop said Monday that Lesh was not wearing blaze orange colors as required by state law when he was shot in the head. He was wearing camouflage-type clothing.

Reno Reda, state wildlife officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife, said Lesh was hunting with an adult man and a male juvenile when they became separated from Lesh.

Lesh was shot after dark, Bishop explained.

State regulations for deer hunting specify that hunting can take place a half-hour before sunrise and end at sunset.

Reda said they don't know who shot Lesh.

"That's yet to be determined," Reda said.

There was one hunting fatality statewide in 2006 and one, not including the Lesh death, in 2007, according to the ODNR.

Lordstown 911 dispatch said a woman called at 7:52 p.m., saying one of the three hunters had become separated from the other two and the other two had just found the body. The woman wasn't identified.

The body was located near a set of railroad tracks that cross North River Road near Mahoning Avenue. It's unclear if he was shot at the location or had moved.

Bishop said the area is nearly across the street from where Lesh lived. Lesh celebrated his 46th birthday Sunday.

Reda said the death was a hunting accident and not a suicide, although the investigation is continuing.

"We have not pieced it together," Reda added.

The three hunters were using muzzleloaders the last day of the deer muzzleloader season when Lesh was shot.

The other two hunters, who were properly dressed for hunting by wearing orange, were released after questioning.

An autopsy was performed Monday at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

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