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PA: man shot while hunting

October 23, 2009

Lebanon County man shot while hunting at Blue Marsh Lake Recreation Area, officials say

A 28-year old Lebanon County man was shot accidentally in the stomach while hunting Friday morning at the Blue Marsh Lake Recreation Area in Lower Heidelberg Township, officials said.

Seth Spangler of Richland was shot once with a muzzleloader rifle about 9:30, state Game Commission spokeswoman Cheryl Trewella said. He is in critical condition at Reading Hospital, officials said.

Spangler was with his father and others when he was wounded on state game lands off Sterner's Hill Road, west of Highland Road, officials said.

"He was in a hunting party of at least three people and they were driving deer through some very thick brush and one member of the party fired at a deer and struck Spangler," Trewella said.

She said all hunting-related shootings are investigated to determine if there was negligence or reckless behavior involved.

Trewella said Spangler was not shot by his father but by another hunter in their party.

She would not identify the others in the hunting party. The father's name was not available.

"The person who shot him has been identified; we're just not releasing that information at this point in the investigation," Trewella said.

Spangler was rescued from the woods and flown to Reading Hospital. Information about his medical condition was not immediately available.

According to initial reports:

Spangler's father was with him when he was shot and called 9-1-1 from his cell phone.

When rescue personnel gathered near the area, they asked the father to fire his weapon once into the air to help them pinpoint their location.

The father met rangers on a hiking trail and led them to his son. Emergency medical personnel were driven there on an all-terrain vehicle and began treating Spangler.

Spring Township police Sgt. Bill Van Etten said he heard the 9-1-1 dispatch of the shooting and contacted the Game Commission to offer a four-wheel drive vehicle the department had obtained jointly with Western Berks Ambulance through a federal grant.

The Western Berks Fire Department had a couple of four-wheelers at the scene to help search for the hunters along with state police and their helicopter, Van Etten said.

"EMS chose our vehicle to bring him out," Van Etten said.

He said it took about 15 minutes to reach Spangler's party. Medical personnel treated him for about 10 more minutes and it took another 10 minutes to get him to a waiting helicopter, he said.

Trewella said muzzleloader deer hunting season runs from Oct. 17 to today. Only antler-less deer can be shot during that season, she said.

Firearm deer season doesn't begin until Nov. 30, she said.

Volunteers from area fire companies assisted.

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