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Man shot in foot during Blue Sprig squirrel hunt

September 13, 2011

By Patricio G. Balona, News-JournalOnwline.com

An Orange City teen was shot twice in the foot while out hunting squirrels at Blue Spring State Park, Volusia County sheriff's investigators said.

But the three men who were at the park at 1:52 a.m. Saturday were most likely poaching, said Joy Hill, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"Hunting anywhere at Blue Spring State Park would be poaching," Hill said.
"It is illegal."

According to a sheriff's report, Joshua Francher, 18, was found bleeding from the top of his left foot at 2100 French Ave.

Francher, another teen, Nicholas Metrowsky, 17, and Benjamin Davidson, 24, both of DeLand, were out early Saturday morning about a half mile into the woods on French Avenue when the shooting accident occurred, deputies said.

The three men told deputies they were hunting squirrels, a report states.

According to a wildlife commission officer's report, one .22-caliber rifle and two 12-gauge shotguns were found with the men. The men said that while they were going through thick underbrush, as Francher tried to step over a palm frond, he kicked the rifle Metrowsky was holding and the gun fired.

"At this point we don't know if the gun malfunctioned, a branch was in the trigger guard or whether the shooter had his finger on the trigger," Hill said.

Metrowksy told deputies that while going through some heavy brush, Francher kicked the side of the .22-caliber rifle, causing it to fire twice into the top of Francher's left foot. Metrowsky and Davidson quickly tied a tourniquet on Francher's ankle to slow the bleeding and called 9-1-1, the report shows.

Francher was airlifted to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, authorities said. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Charges are pending, Hill said.

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