Deer hunting season is now underway in many parts of Massachusetts, which means that if hunters are not careful, injuries and subsequent personal injury lawsuits could result. One person was already shot in the leg this week, just one day after the season opened on Monday.
The accidental shooting happened in the woods of Dighton, Massachusetts, which is about an hour south of Boston. Apparently, a group of hunters were in tree stands Tuesday afternoon when one of the hunters spotted a deer and fired his rifle.
The hunter missed the deer and the bullet ended up ricocheting off of a rock and hit a fellow hunter in the ankle after piercing through his deer stand. The shooting victim was reportedly a 70-year-old retired police officer.
The owner of the farm where the incident took place described it as a “freak accident.” Reportedly, no alcohol use or foul play is suspected. The injured hunter is expected to fully recover.
Massachusetts state officials cautioned park visitors this week to wear blaze orange or brightly colored clothing when visiting state forests and parks, where deer hunting is often permitted.
However, the Department of Conservation and Recreation does not allow hunting on Sundays, within 500 feet of a building, parking or camping area or within 150 feet of a paved roadway. If hunters ignore these orders and someone is injured, they could face criminal and civil liability.
Deer hunting season with shotguns runs from the Monday after Thanksgiving until the third Saturday in December. Hopefully, there won’t be any more incidents like the one that occurred in Dighton this season, or worse.
Source: NECN.com, “Mass. shooting described as freak accident during hunting outing,” Nov. 29, 2011. Other source: Wicked Local Essex, “State cautions park visitors: It’s hunting season in Massachusetts,” Nov. 29, 2011.