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DEER HUNTING: Start of 9-Day Gun Season Deadly


Associated Press

Posted on Tue, Nov. 25, 2003

Two hunters were fatally shot and eight others suffered mostly minor wounds in accidents during the first two days of deer hunting in Wisconsin, a pace slightly ahead of a year ago, authorities said Monday.

State wildlife managers also reported hunters registered 122,080 deer following the opening weekend of the tradition-steeped season, up slightly from a year ago when 120,660 deer were registered.

William Mundt, 33, of West Bend was fatally shot late Sunday by another hunter in southwest Sheboygan County, sheriff's officials said.

Mundt was shot in the abdomen with a shotgun by a 41-year-old hunter from another party but both men knew each other, said Tim Lawhern, the state Department of Natural Resources' hunter safety administrator.

Sheboygan County Sheriff's Capt. Dave Adams said the accident happened after hunting hours when a hunter mistook a pair of eyes as those belonging to a deer. Mundt was not wearing blaze orange clothing, Adams said. The incident remained under investigation.

In the second fatality in Grant County, Gerald Bierman, 67, of Janesville, died Sunday after he was shot in the hip while hunting with relatives near Lancaster, sheriff's deputies said.

Lawhern said Bierman was shot by a hunting companion who fired five or six rounds at a running deer while both men participated in a deer drive.

A year ago, there were two fatalities and 17 other accidental shootings during the nine-day season, Lawhern said.

Historically, half of the shooting accidents occur during the first two days of hunting, he said.

Nearly 645,000 hunters bought licenses to participate in the 2003 season. The DNR estimates 1.4 million whitetail deer roam the fields and woods about 100,000 more than a year ago.

The DNR hopes 280,000 to 300,000 deer are killed during the season. The slight increase in registrations for the opening weekend was attributed to less-than-ideal hunting conditions, including 1.7 inches of rain in the Madison area Saturday night and into Sunday, the DNR said.

The number of licenses sold rebounded 4.2 percent from a year ago, the first hunting season after chronic wasting disease was discovered in wild deer near Mount Horeb. The always fatal brain disease had never before been found east of the Mississippi River.

Hunting continues through Sunday.

According to Lawhern, the eight other shooting accidents investigated over the weekend were:

In Crawford County, a 48-year-old man shot himself in the foot when his gun slipped while he was entering a tree stand. The gun fired three times.

In Waupaca County, a 45-year-old man shot himself in the hand when his muzzleloader fell from a tree stand

In Vilas County, a 15-year-old girl shot herself in the hand when her rifle fell from a tree stand.

In Dunn County, a 50-year-old man who was a blocker on a deer drive was shot in the wrist when a companion fired five times at a deer running between them.

In Sawyer County, a 29-year-old man shot himself in the foot when he tripped while carrying his gun.

In Shawano County, a 25-year-old man suffered facial wounds when a companion shot at a deer and a shotgun slug ricocheted off a rock.

In Adams County, a 36-year-old man was grazed in the chest when the gun of one of three hunters in a deer stand went off. The bullet also went through another hunter's clothes.

In Grant County, a 50-year-old man was grazed in the hand. The shooter was unknown.

Hunters can avoid most accidents by proper gun handling, positively identifying their targets and not shooting at running deer, Lawhern said.

"It would help if you knew what people were thinking when they did these things," Lawhern said. "This is pretty much predictable, as past numbers indicate."

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