Nick Verdoes had big plans to be a lifelong waterfowler - and he
was making good on them.
The 19-year-old from Redwood Falls, Minn., was a budding guide
who impressed his family, friends and colleagues with a dedication
to finding the birds, not so much for him to shoot, but for others.
On Dec. 17, while crouched on the edge of a field, goose hunting
with friends, a nearby companion's shotgun discharged and Verdoes
was mortally wounded.
He would have turned 20 the next day. His funeral was Thursday.
Verdoes was in a party of six friends, ages 19 to 25, hunting on
a Saturday morning on private land near Danube. They were targeting
Canada geese flying between a field and a gravel pit with a patch of
open water, Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable said.
The outing was among friends, not a guided hunt with clients,
Hable and Rittenour said.
They were using a stand of trees as concealment, and after 9:30
a.m., members had shifted positions. The shift put Verdoes in the
line of a shotgun that had been placed on the ground, according to a
person with knowledge of the situation, who provided more details
than Hable but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the matter.
As a flock of geese approached, the hunter next to Verdoes
reached for the gun - a modern semi- automatic shotgun - and
"something bumped it and it went off," the person said. "The trigger
was never pulled. The shell was never ejected."
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