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MI: deer hunter dies after shooting himself

December 17, 2009

63-year-old deer hunter from Leoni Township dies after shooting himself in apparent accident

Daniel Orban had heart trouble in the past. He knew that by taking some pills any related suffering typically would pass, his mother said.

Tuesday, he called his brother from a hunting stand in Leoni Township to report some especially sharp pain. "He said, 'I think I am in trouble this time,'" said Rosemary Orban, 89, of Leoni Township.

Emergency personnel found Daniel Orban, 63, dead Tuesday morning shortly after he told a 911 dispatcher he thought he was having a heart attack.

Police believe his muzzleloader fired and hit him in the chest as he tried to get down from the stand in a swamp off S. Portage Road northwest of Wolf Lake.

First responders found Orban at the base of the stand, the gun was on the ground next to him, and heart pills were spilled in the blind, said Dave Lubahn, deputy director of the Leoni Township Public Safety Department.

An examiner performed an autopsy Tuesday night and ruled his death accidental and hunting-related, Lubahn said. The bullet that killed Orban matched those he was using to hunt, according a statement released Wednesday by Lubahn.

He may have had a heart attack and lost his balance, but what exactly happened "we will never know," Lubahn said.

"It was so sudden," Rosemary Orban said. "It was quite a shock."

There were no indications of foul play, Lubahn wrote. "It is a very unfortunate accident that occurred."

Orban was hunting on property owned by his family, Lubahn said.

Muzzleloading deer season began Dec. 4 in southern Michigan and ends Monday.

Rosemary Orban said she owns about 80 acres in the area. Her husband farmed it almost until his death several years ago, she said. Daniel Orban and his brother, Terry, always have lived on the property.

They worked on the land through high school. Both graduated from Michigan Center High School and then joined the military and served in Vietnam.

Daniel spent 3 1/2 years in the Air Force before returning home, she said.

He married, built a house near his parents and then worked for about 40 years for what is now Consumers Energy, she said.

Rosemary Orban said he always helped with the farm, helping to maintain the outbuildings and baling hay.

He had many friends and was close with his family and his brother, who also worked for Consumers.

"They are the closest of any two boys I have ever seen," his mother said. "They've never been apart for anything. . They've been good boys for me."

Daniel Orban is survived by his wife, Dianna; two adult sons, Troy and Kevin; and two grandsons.

His family will greet friends from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Nichols-Arthur Funeral Home, 820 Fifth St. in Michigan Center.

A service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

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