Local News

Experts: Carelessness Often Cause Of Hunting Accidents

Posted November 14, 2003 2:01 a.m. EST

— This is the deadliest time of year for hunters in North Carolina and experts said carelessness is often the cause of fatal accidents.

Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the

shooting death of Daniel Sheets

, a Lee County 14-year-old, was a hunting accident.

The thrill of the hunt can sometimes cloud a hunter's judgment.

According to a report from the

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

, there have been 41 hunting accidents this year, four of them fatal. Most were caused by hunters between the ages of 10 and 19.

Veteran hunters said mistakes can easily turn fatal. The reasons range from running with a loaded weapon to careless handling of a firearm and mistaking someone for a deer.

Hunter Ed Hancock said mistaking someone for a deer is a mistake that should never happen.

"Always know your target. You can't call that bullet back. Once you do [it] it's done. You can be as sorry as you want to be, but you can't take that mistake away," he said.

Poor visibility is often the culprit. Investigators said Sheets was wearing camouflage when he went hunting with friends Tuesday.

Orange clothes are the simple solution.

"Some other hunter may think you're a deer [if] you're wearing camoflauge. It's the wrong time of year to be walking around in the woods wearing camoflauge uniforms," Peterson said.

By law, deer hunters are required to wear blaze orange when using firearms. They also have to take safety classes before they can get a license in North Carolina.


Rick Armstrong