Jake's Outdoors » Blog Archive » Another WV Hunting Accident Tragedy…

Another WV Hunting Accident Tragedy…

May 1st, 2008

I heard this on the news a day or so ago, but had not written about it because I am tired of writing about negative things that have to do with hunting.  But, it is a pretty big story, so I thought I would share it with you.

A 16 year old boy was shot while turkey hunting near the town of St. Albans, WV.  Evidently he was hunting with a bow and arrow, and was shot in the head by another hunter who was hunting with a 12 gauge shot gun.  The second man is 19 years old.  You can read a bit more about it in this article from the Charleston Gazette.

This type of story is so discouraging to me.  Here was a young hunter, who evidently was not doing anything wrong, who was shot by someone who was very careless in his hunting methods/ethics.  I was talking about this story with a friend of mine last night, and he said that he couldn’t understand how this could happen.  Rule number one in hunting is:  Identify your target!  If you absolutely know what you are shooting at, then you cannot make a mistake such as this one.  It is a simple rule, and needs to be hammered into the heads of our new, young hunters.  There is no game animal out there worth the life of another person.  That means, if there is any doubt, you have to pass the shot.  I realize that it is often the case that people will get excited, and shoot in their excitement.  That is no excuse for this kind of mistake!

Another huge issue I have with this story is that the shooter simply left this 16 year old in the woods.  He ran away.  How can you be so inhumane as to leave another person, either wounded or dead, in the woods about a mile from the nearest road?  I don’t know the full situation, but there had to be some possibility that the young boy was still alive when he was left behind.  There is no excuse for this type of behavior…and this isn’t about hunting!  It is about common human decency.

I realize that any activity that includes loaded firearms has the potential for being dangerous.  Every state has programs to teach people how to hunt safely.  But, for some reason it just doesn’t seem to be sinking in!  There have been several fatal turkey hunting accidents (carelessness?) this year already.  I don’t know what the solution is, but I am sure that something will be done to try and  bring down the rate of these shootings.  But, as I once heard someone else say, “You can legislate stupidity.”

It appears that charges will be filed against the 19 year old who did the shooting in this case.  That is a good thing.  I think he should be punished severely.  I know some will say, “But it was only an accident.”  That may be true, but it was an accident that never should have happened.  He had full control over what was happening, and he pulled the trigger on another person.  The 16 year old’s family now has lost a son, and he won’t be brought back.  What this story doesn’t mention is that the “family member” who found the body was the 16 year old boy’s little brother.  Imagine that for a minute!  This man needs to be prosecuted for at least manslaughter, and reckless endangerment, and he needs to spend time in prison for this.  Such severe punishment might make the next person think more before shooting.

Folks, if you are going to take on the responsibility of hunting, then you need to learn to do it safely.  Don’t shoot unless you are 100% sure of the target, and what lies behind it.  I can’t imagine pulling the trigger only to find that I had just shot someone.  Don’t put yourself in that position.  I am far more concerned about the idiots out there that shoot first and ask questions later!

SIDE NOTE:  I saw that Arthur has requested a post about “Why I Hunt”, and I am going to do that because it is such a good idea.  I just want to take at least a couple of days to organize my thoughts before getting to it.  I do look forward to the other posts on the subject!  BTW, I love the new graphics Arthur has put up on his site!

7 Responses to “Another WV Hunting Accident Tragedy…”

  1. First of all, what an awful story. My heart goes out to the family that has lost a son. I’m with you though, I’m completely sick of these stories.

    As to the fact that the 19 year old ran away once he realized what he’d done, I hope they throw the book at him. Being careless and injuring someone else is bad enough, but abandoning the injured person is something else again. That’s cowardice, pure and simple.

  2. What a tragic story. I too cannot understand shooting at something before you DEFINITELY know what it is. It is a basic rule of firearm and hunting safety and it is a shame that someone lost their life because of such carelessness.

    Thanks for the link and I’m looking forward to your post about why you hunt? What graphics were you speaking of by the way? Thanks for the compliment though.

  3. Kris – Ol’ Eagle Eyes doesn’t hunt these days, but, I clearly want to relate here what a “sad, sad” story this is. Trigger happy shooters can sometimes be downright blind in their quest to shoot something. It matters less what it is at times. I read or hear these kinds of stories every season. I guarantee you the shooter will have this memory as long as he is on this earth. Sadly, the victim’s family will have just memories left also.

  4. The first thing I ever learned was “identify your target” it is sad that this accident happened and I’m so sorry for the family who lost a son. The 19 year old needs a few life lessons – including taking responsibility for your actions.

  5. Good post/tragic story. I think more people make the mistake of not being sure what lies behind the target than anything else. When I took Hunter Education, instructor John Elgin emphasized that you must have a backstop. Even with a shotgun or bow, I never shoot unless I know what I’m going to hit if I miss the animal I’m aiming at.

  6. Sad situation. One accident is to many but hunting is still a very safe sport. Follow the rules and we’ll all be safe.

  7. I think guy that the guy who did that should be locked up for the rest of his life… that 16 year old boy was my BEST FRIEND and like a lil bro 2 me…but i had 2 miss my friends funeral i didnt no he was killed until 2 days before i came home on leave from Mountaineer Challenge Academy…I hope they punish him and give him what he diserves….but people need to know what they are shooting at if not then they should pay for what they did….

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