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VA: A deadly season for area hunters

A deadly season for area hunters

January 28, 2011

It has been a deadly season for the areaís deer hunters. Two were killed during the fall deer season in Central Virginia, the most in the last five years, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The fatalities happened in Nelson and Louisa counties. In Nelson, a 10-year-old boy shot his 7-year-old brother in the back when the younger child stepped in front of him as he fired at a deer. The boys were accompanied by an adult, and no charges were filed in the case, said Game and Inland Fisheries spokeswoman Julia Dixon.

In the Louisa case, a juvenile shot a hunter who was in the same hunting party, according to officials. The victim had left his stand and was behind a deer when both the juvenile and the adult supervising the juvenile fired at the deer, Dixon said. The deer was killed, but one shotgun pellet traveled 290 feet to strike the victim, who was wearing hunter orange but not visible to the juvenile and adult who shot, according to Dixon.

It is very easy for hunters, even those wearing orange, to be invisible over such distances in the woods, particularly in thick brush.

There were also five nonfatal accidents, involving a variety of mishaps. In Albemarle County, a hunter toting a muzzleloader stumbled, discharging his firearm. The bullet missed him, but he suffered a powder burn to the lower leg, Dixon said.

In Buckingham County, a hunter stood up in an icy tree stand and slipped, Dixon said. He wasnít wearing a safety harness, which hunting safety officials stress, and fell to the ground, injuring his back.

In the same county, a hunter was struck by a shotgun pellet while a party was hunting deer using hounds. A hunter shot at a deer as it ran between two hunters, and one pellet hit the victim, sending the victim to the hospital.

In Nelson, a hunter shot another hunter from the same party when the victim came down from his tree stand and walked into the area the shooter was in. The victim was hit in the upper leg but not killed, Dixon said.

And in Orange County, an unknown shooter struck a hunter in the thumb with a single pellet of buckshot, she said. That incident remains under investigation.

...

Game officials donít keep track of how many hunters suffer other injuries, such as heart attacks, in the woods. Accident statistics generally focus on tree stand safety and firearm safety. The statistics include everything from sprained ankles to fatalities.

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