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Man Critically Injured in Hunting Shooting

The Associated Press

12/3/2003, 10:33 a.m. ET

GIRARD, Pa. (AP) A man was critically injured when a fellow hunter accidentally shot him in the leg and the bullet exited through his back, a wildlife conservation officer said.

Gerald D. Weaver, 37, of Lake City, was hunting Tuesday with three friends in a dense wooded area of Girard Township, near Erie, when a deer ran through the group, said Michael Wojtecki of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

A hunter, whom officials would not identify, shot at the deer, missed and hit Weaver, who was later taken to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Wojtecki said.

The hunters were wearing blaze orange, but they were standing in heavy brush that was difficult to see through, Wojtecki said.

"He wasn't mistaken for game," Wojtecki said. "You've got to be sure what's behind your target. Sometimes hunters see the deer and forget to look beyond it."

So far this year, one person died and at least six hunters have been injured in accidental shootings. Taylor Cavallaro, 14, of Southbury, Conn., was fatally shot while walking with family members Monday in Cameron County, about 110 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The teen died when a gun his 20-year-old brother was carrying accidentally discharged.

One person died in 15 hunting-related shooting accidents during last year's hunting season, the Game Commission said.

Since the opening day of the firearms deer season, several hunters across the state have died of natural causes.

One hunter was found dead of natural causes in Fulton County on Tuesday night, police said. State police at the Fulton barracks said Ronald Tarner, 60, of Fort Loudon, Pa., was reported missing at 7:55 p.m. after he did not return from hunting.

Three hunters collapsed and died in the woods in the Poconos on the first day of the deer hunting season.

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