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48-year-old hunter accidentally shot in leg in rural Grant County

November 7, 2011

By Kate Mather, OregonLive.com

A 48-year-old Mt. Vernon man suffered non-life-threatening injuries after he was accidentally shot in the leg today while hunting elk in eastern Oregon.

William Cearns was riding an all-terrain vehicle with his son and a friend in rural Grant County nearFox when the ATV lost traction on a snow-covered road, said Master Sergeant Gordon Larson of the Oregon State Police.

The younger men, identified as 28-year-old Richard Cearns and 24-year-old Jared Earnest, both of Redmond, planned to walk up the hill so William Cearns could keep driving, Larson said. As Earnest got off the ATV, his rifle discharged, striking the vehicle and hitting the elder Cearns in the lower leg.

Richard Cearns and Earnest carried the 48-year-old several miles to a staging area, where they met responding officers and administered first aid, said Sgt. Dan Swift, a spokesman for Oregon State Police.

State police are continuing their investigation into the incident and were assisted by Grant County Undersheriff Todd McKinley.

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