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PA: Man killed in Windham Township when mistaken for a turkey

May 2, 2010

Man killed in Windham Township when mistaken for a turkey

WINDHAM TOWNSHIP - A 67-year-old Windham Township man was killed in a hunting accident Saturday in Windham Township, the county coroner said. The 67-year-old man was killed by a shot fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, Bradford County Coroner Thomas Carman said.

The shot was fired when the 67-year-old man "was mistaken for a turkey," the coroner said.

The shot was fired by a 77-year-old man who was also hunting, according to the coroner and Wildlife Conservation Officer Joseph Wenzel.

The two men were not hunting together, the coroner said.

"It was an accidental shooting," the coroner said. "The cause of death was a gunshot wound."

Saturday was the first day of spring gobbler season.

The accident occurred at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday in a wooded area "up on a mountainous terrain ... within a couple of miles of Route 187," Carman said.

Carman declined to identify the man who was killed because his relatives are still being notified of his death. He also declined to identify at this time the 77-year-old man.

The shooting occurred on private property owned by the 77-year-old man, the coroner said. The 77-year-old man's address is Rome RR2, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The coroner said he pronounced the 67-year-old man dead at the scene at 11:38 a.m. Saturday.

The two men were 80 feet apart when the shot was fired, the coroner said.

The 77-year-old man "was using a call and he heard something was approaching, I guess from the rear. He looked over his shoulder and said he observed a red movement and turned and fired a shot," said a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. "The victim was wearing a red shirt under an open camouflage jacket," the Game Commission spokesman said. "I don't know if it was totally open or just several buttons, but enough, I am sure, to display the red shirt.

"There are two things the Game Commission stresses," the Game Commission spokesman said. "Don't pull the trigger until you are sure of your target, that it is the game you are pursuing," which in this case was a gobbler, the Game Commissioner spokesman said.

"And do not use (wear) red or blue colors for turkey hunting, because gobblers do have those colors on their head," the Game Commission spokesman said.

"There was some orange on a vest on (the 67-year-old man's) back," the coroner said. "There was no orange on his front."

The 67-year-old man was hit by shotgun pellets on the front of his body, the coroner said.

The victim received "basically a chest wound," the Game Commission spokesman said.

Carman declined to say at this time if the 67-year-old man and the 77-year-old man knew each other.

The 67-year-old man was hunting with an adult male friend, who was not injured, Carman said.

The shooting was investigated by the state police, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Bradford County Coroner's Office, Carman said.

The investigation has been completed, he said.

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