One hunter in the Town of Marcy was shot Thanksgiving morning. Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol says this is how he believes the incident went down.
"A deer had come through in between them. One of the gentlemen discharged the firearm to strike the deer. In an attempt to strike the deer, and in doing so obviously struck the individual who happened to be his brother-in-law, who was in the hunting party with him. Grazed the side of his head."
Darwin Cooley of Carthage shot his brother in law Travis Dam of Whitesboro. Travis Dam was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and then transferred to SUNY Medical Center where his injuries are being considered non-life threatening.
"The injury could have been much more severe. Should the bullet have moved just a fraction in any direction, so obviously the gentleman is lucky to be alive today."
While most people might think of this kind of thing as an accident, Investigator Fran D’Angelo from the Department of Environmental Conservation says they don’t consider them accidents at all. He says all hunting related shootings are considered incidents, because they can be prevented. He tells us some of the biggest mistakes hunters make and how to avoid making them.
"Of course identify your target. Make sure you know what you’re shooting at. Identify your background. Don’t assume just because you shoot at a target you’re going to hit it, and don’t assume it’s going to stop once it hits your target. Another big thing is if you come across an obstacle, whether it’s a fence or climbing a tree stand up or down, make sure you unload your firearm."
Those are only a few of the many things that can go wrong, so law enforcement says all hunters should consider taking a safety course, or at the very least brush up on the basics.