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FL: Hunter mistaken for deer shot with arrow

September 30, 2010

Hunter mistaken for deer shot with arrow

Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:20 a.m. Last Modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:20 a.m. A hunter is expected to survive after being shot in the back with an arrow. Investigators said the hunter's friend shot the arrow from a bow after mistaking the hunter for a deer.

"This is a good time to remind hunters no matter what they are hunting with to make sure they know what they are aiming at," said Karen Parker, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The incident occurred around sunset Wednesday in Jennings State Forest, a popular North Florida hunting site east of U.S. 301 and north of Camp Blanding in Clay County.

The hunter, John Whigham, 22, of Fleming Island, was taken to Shands Jacksonville. Parker said Whigham's injury was not considered life-threatening.

Whigham said he was returning to a hunting stand when his friend, Randy Pritchard, 40, of Middleburg, shot him in the back.

Pritchard told investigators the shooting was accidental and happened when he mistook Whigham for a deer.

FWC investigators were continuing their investigation Thursday morning. The shooting has been preliminarily identified as an accident, and no charges had been filed.

Parker said archery season began two weeks ago on private lands and a week ago on public hunting grounds.

"We had hoped this archery season would be accident-free," Parker said.

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