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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting

AL: Hunting safety always important

December 10, 2009

Fortunately, as of Dec. 7, there had been no firearms-related hunting fatalities in the state. There have been four non-fatal incidents involving firearms, however.

The most recent incident happened during a duck hunting trip on Mink Creek in Jackson County.

"According to the preliminary report, the subject had his shotgun lying on some kind of shelf outside the blind and he started to pull the gun into the blind with the barrel pointed toward him and the gun discharged," Metzler said. "There was extensive damage to his upper thigh."

Although there is one deer hunting accident in Franklin County on the list, it did not occur during a traditional deer hunting outing.

"A group of four were illegally night hunting and when the firearm was pulled back into the vehicle it discharged and struck one of the subjects in the right leg," Metzler said.

Metzler said there have been two squirrel hunting accidents this season and both occurred on Nov. 4. He said the first one happened in Clarke County when the subject was walking down a fire lane on private property. He heard a shot and was struck in the leg by No. 6 shot. Nobody responded when he called for help. He used a cell phone to call for assistance. Metzler said the second incident happened in Perry County when a male and female were sitting next to a tree while squirrel hunting. When they started to get up, the male's shotgun discharged, striking the female in the chest.

During the 2008-2009 seasons, there were three firearms-related fatalities, two during deer season and one during turkey season.

Metzler said the first fatality in Coosa County on January 4 occurred when the subject broke the cardinal rule about unloading firearms when entering or exiting a stand.

"The subject had shot a deer and while he was descending the stand there was an accidental discharge and he shot himself," Metzler said. "I don't know that they ever recovered a deer. Witnesses said they heard two shots about 30 seconds apart."

The second fatality occurred in Baldwin County on Jan. 22 when a 24-year-old shot his stepfather. A Baldwin County grand jury handed down a criminally negligent homicide indictment against the shooter in October. According to Baldwin County Sheriff's Department reports, neither hunter was wearing the required hunter orange and the shot occurred about 5:30 p.m. According to U.S. Naval Observatory information, sunset occurred at 5:18 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2009. Alabama's hunting regulation dealing with shooting hours for deer states hunting is allowed "during daylight hours only." It does not specify official sunset as the cutoff point.

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The final fatality occurred during turkey season when a hunter suffered a fatal gunshot wound while crossing a fence.

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