16-year-old dies in hunting accident

Published 11:58 am Sunday, December 4, 2016

A 16-year-old from Phenix died after being accidentally shot by a 17-year-old friend from Cullen during a hunting accident late Friday afternoon.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) — which declined to name the victim or shooter due to their ages — the incident took place on private property on Mt. Carmel Road in the southwestern part of Charlotte County, east of Brookneal. VDGIF officials said it was contacted about the shooting around 5:20 p.m. Friday and was still trying to determine the exact time of the incident.

According to the VDGIF, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene and his body transported to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Campbell County Volunteer Rescue Squad assisted the VDGIF.

The VDGIF said the teens “were good friends and hunting (deer) together.” The victim was standing in an agricultural field and the shooter mistook the victim for a deer and shot him. The agency indicated the distance between the two was 150-200 yards. Both were wearing orange-colored blazers and both had receiving hunter education and had the appropriate hunting licenses.

The VDGIF said the information provided Sunday morning was still preliminary, the incident is still under investigation and it may provide further updates.

In the wake of Friday’s incident, the VDGIF included three rules it considers important to keep hunters and their partners safe from injury or death.

* Treat every firearm as if loaded; never assume a firearm is unloaded. A firearm should only be loaded when you are in the field and ready to shoot.

* Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot, particularly other hunters. A “safe direction” means no one is in or remotely near the line of fire.

* Be sure of your target and aware of what is beyond it. Before every shot, identify the target. You should know exactly where the bullet will strike and feel confident you won’t injure anyone or anything beyond your target. In the case of pass-through, a bullet may carry enough energy to travel well beyond the intended target, so be absolutely sure there’s nothing beyond your target and know where everyone is if hunting in a group.