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GA: Non-hunter shot in Oxendine hunting party

January 19, 2010

Man shot in Oxendine hunting party

A man hunting with Republican gubernatorial hopeful John Oxendine was "sprayed" in the leg during an organized quail hunt in Dade County on Sunday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

Oxendine, the sitting state insurance commissioner, was hunting with his children at a quail hunting preserve when someone accidentally fired their shotgun and an unnamed adult "was wounded superficially," Oxendine campaign spokesman David Crim said. Oxendine was not the shooter or the person wounded, Crim said.

"This was not a Dick Cheney situation," Crim said, referring to a 2006 hunting accident in which the former vice president shot someone in his hunting party in the face.

Oxendine sent a message to followers on Twitter the same day as the shooting: "Hunting in North Georgia with my boys today and tomorrow. Hoping the weather improves, but a great time of being together."

Asked about a shooting incident involving Oxendine, Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Robin Hill said late Tuesday that an incident report would be filed on Wednesday, but she could not say if it involved Oxendine.

Hill said DNR continues to investigate the incident, although her information said the shooting took place in adjacent Walker County. Walker County officials said an accidental shooting involving Oxendine's party occurred in Dade County.

Crim said neither Oxendine nor his sons had hunting licenses, but they were hunting on a licensed quail preserve and did not need them. Oxendine has previously been licensed but did not get a license this year, Crim said.

According to the DNR Web site, however, "resident hunters age 16 years and older are required to have a hunting license, except when hunting on land owned by them or their immediate family, blood or dependent relationship, residing in the same household."

Crim said Oxendine was hunting on land owned by a partnership that includes Delos "Dee" Yancey III, a Rome insurance executive.

Last May, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that State Mutual Life Insurance and Admiral Life Insurance Company of America, both headed by Yancey, funneled $120,000 through a series of political action committees to Oxendine's campaign in 2008. Oxendine denied any knowledge of the donations and returned the money. The State Ethics Commission is investigating.

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