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Hunter Wounded in Head

Washington Observer Reporter, PA

BY JOHN RICHARDS, Staff writer

Charges may be filed against hunter who wounded companion

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Following a hunting accident, Donald Lee Ducarme Sr. is fortunate to be alive.

The 44-year-old Monongahela resident was hunting Saturday in East Finley Township when he was shot in the head by one of his two companions on the trip.

According to Mel Schakey, information and education supervisor with the state Game Commission's Southwest Regional Office, Ducarme was driving along Valley View Road shortly before 1 p.m. when one of the men he was with spotted some deer in a nearby field.

"A passenger got out, leaned across the top of the vehicle and took a shot," Schakey said.

The bullet went through the roof of the vehicle, entered Ducarme's scalp and followed along the top of his skull before exiting his head.

"He's a very lucky person," said Schakey.

A helicopter flew Ducarme, who was conscious and talking, to UPMC-Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh, where he was listed in good condition Monday.

Ducarme's older sister, Rosemarie Ducarme, also of Monongahela, said only that her brother will need to undergo some rehabilitation.

According to state hunting regulations, it is illegal to have a loaded firearm in a vehicle, hunt from a vehicle, shoot at wildlife on a road or shoot across a road, unless the line of fire is high enough to avoid danger to anyone on the road. It also is illegal to leave a vehicle and shoot at wildlife until the shooter is at least 25 yards from the road.

"There are a number of things our officers are looking at," Schakey said.

"A variety of things went wrong here."

The Game Commission most likely will file charges with District Justice Jay Dutton against the shooter, whose name was not released by the state agency.

Schakey said he expects conservation officer Frank Leichtenberger to complete his investigation by the end of the week.

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