HUNTING ACCIDENTS
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MD: Maryland man accidentally shoots friend while turkey hunting

From WashingtonPost.com

January 20, 2018

A Maryland man suffered minor injuries when his friend mistakenly shot him while the two were hunting wild turkey in woods on the Eastern Shore, officials said.

The two men — Dennis Yoder, 66, and James Gilbert, 67, headed to an area near Whaleyville, Md. — population 124 — near the Maryland and Delaware border Jan. 20. They were hunting for wild turkey on land they lease at the Chesapeake Forest Lands, an area of more than 58,000 acres that was once used to make timber.

Typically, the pair would go their separate way in the woods but stay in contact using their cellphones, said Candy Thomson, a spokeswoman with the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Yoder forgot his phone.

As he was hunting, Yoder said he heard turkey gobbling sounds and saw movement through the woods. He also saw some white and red, similar to the markings of wild turkeys.

So he fired his 12-gauge shotgun.

Then he heard, “I’m hit. I’m hit.”

He had mistakenly shot his friend, police said.

The two were less than 50 yards apart when the shooting happened, officials said. But there were several small trees and bushes and a slightly uphill area between them.

Gilbert, from East New Market, Md., suffered several pellet wounds to his face, knees and a finger.

Yoder, of Parkton, Md., drove Gilbert to a hospital, police said. The pellets fell out of most parts of his body, except his finger, police said.

Thomson said the incident is not uncommon, especially in turkey hunting season. Typically, she said turkey hunters are “almost completely camouflaged, and they’re making gobbling sounds [to attract the birds],” so a human can be mistaken for a turkey.

“Identifying the target is the number one safety rule,” Thomson said.

The incident is being reviewed by the Worcester County State’s Attorney Office, police said, to determine whether there was any negligence involved.

Attempts to reach the hunters were unsuccessful. Officials said it wasn’t clear if the men shot any turkeys.

Thomson said there’s “no indication of this being an alcohol-related accident.”


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