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SD: Hunter killed in accident

Golf tournament puts focus on hunter safety

The sports of golf and hunting will collide at the First Annual Lanny O’Neal Open next week.

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O’Neal, who shared a passion for both outdoor sports, died as the result of a Nov. 9, 2008 hunting accident.

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(Ted) Miller, hunting in a party of three, including O’Neal, had just switched fields “to go after some white-tailed deer,” he remembers. “When we got to the field, Mark and Lanny were getting out to put the sneak on the deer. I already had my tag filled, so I stayed in the truck to watch the deer through the binoculars.”

It was then that a bullet – still loaded in the chamber of Mark’s gun – fired and struck O’Neal.
“Lanny looked at me and said, ‘I’ve been shot,’ ” Miller remembers. “That’s when everything changed.”

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Ron Kolbeck, a certified HuntSAFE instructor, will be at the golf course that day to promote hunter safety. He’ll have literature available that offers some eye-opening facts related to hunting incidents.

“In the last 11 years, there have been 40 incidents in or around a vehicle,” Kolbeck informed. “The majority are self-inflicted, so that’s an easy one to eliminate by unloading firearms before getting into a vehicle.”

In 2008, Kolbeck said 4,114 hunting accidents were reported in South Dakota alone. “That’s 40 percent of all sixth graders in the state,” he informed.

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