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GA: Children are victims as fatal shootings rise

Augusta Chronicle

Children are victims as fatal shootings rise
By Rob Pavey | Outdoors Editor Sunday,
January 20, 2008

Hunting accidents spiked in Georgia during the 2007-08 season, and four of the five fatal incidents involved children or teenagers.

"This has been an unusual year," said Wildlife Resources Division Capt. James Bell, who is the coordinator of the state's Hunter Safety Program. "We've never had that many kids in accidents in the last 10 years."

The season's five casualties included an 8-year-old boy killed by a shotgun blast; a 12-year-old boy who shot and killed his father; a 14-year-old killed while squirrel hunting; and another 14-year-old shot and killed by his brother, who mistook him for a deer.

...

- Nov. 23: Zachary Gibson, 14, was shot and killed while squirrel hunting in Harris County with 15-year-old Jon Riley and another friend. "On the way home they were just shooting at brush in the woods. The shooter (Riley) was asking the friend a question and pulled the trigger, accidentally shooting the victim (Gibson)." The firearm was a .22-caliber rifle.

- Oct. 19: An 8-year-old boy, Casey Price, died after shooting himself in the chest with a .410 gauge shotgun. The Wayne County child "was on a golf cart hunting birds with a 410 shotgun; victim was alone when incident occurred."

- Nov. 4: Jake Burkett, 14, was shot in the back and killed by his 18-year-old brother, Justin Burkett, while hunting in Coffee County. The official cause: "Mistook brother for game."

- Dec. 28: John Peacock, 39, was shot and killed while hog hunting in Dodge County with his 12-year-old son, who was placed alone in a tree stand. "Father was coming back to stand to get son; son mistook him for game and shot his father."

- July 12: While letting his beagles run rabbits, and carrying a shotgun only "to shoot snakes," 82-year-old Earl Davenport of Chattooga County tripped while crossing a barbed wire gate. "His foot became entangled in the barb wire causing him to fall. As he fell the gun discharged." The chest wound was fatal.

...

In South Carolina, where hunters are required to wear orange only on wildlife management areas, three fatalities were reported during 2007, according to Lt. Jim Wagers of the Department of Natural Resources.

Two fatal shootings occurred during deer hunts (Dec. 31 in Union County and Nov. 23 in Williamsburg County). Neither victim was wearing orange.

A Union County man also died in a tree stand fall.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com .

GEORGIA HUNTING FATALITIES

2007-08 5

2006-07 1

2005-06 4

2004-05 4

2003-04 1

2002-03 4

2001-02 10 .

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