CONTACT:                                 
CO Michael Eastman: (603) 744-5470
NHFG Dispatch: (603) 271-3361             
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211  or 271-5619               
Laura Ryder, Hunter Education: (603) 271-3214
November 15, 2007                    

Meredith Man Injured in Hunting-related Shooting Incident

CONCORD, N.H. -- A Meredith, N.H., man sustained a self-inflicted wound in a hunting-related shooting incident that occurred before 8 a.m. on Thursday morning  (November 15, 2007).  John A. Hurd, age 53, suffered a non-life-threatening foot injury while deer hunting with his father and nephew in an area of Ahern State Park in Laconia, northwest of the Lakes Region Prison Facility.

It appears that Hurd, while in a stationary position between two pine trees, was transitioning his shotgun from one hand to the other when the firearm discharged, causing the man to shoot himself in the foot, according to Conservation Officer Michael Eastman of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Law Enforcement.

Corrections Officers from the nearby Lakes Region Facility were the first to respond to the scene.  N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers Sgt. James Juneau, CO Michael Eastman , CO Bradley Morse and CO Glen Lucas also responded, as well as  Laconia Police and Belknap County Sheriff's Office personnel.  Hurd was transported by Laconia Fire and Rescue to the Lakes Region General Hospital.   His condition is stable.

"This unfortunate incident demonstrates how important it is to always control the muzzle of your firearm and make absolutely sure it is pointed in a safe direction," said Fish and Game CO Michael Eastman. "In addition, make sure your safety is always on until you are ready to shoot, so that the firearm is not unintentionally discharged."

The incident remains under investigation by N.H. Fish and Game; no further information is available at this time.

Overall, New Hampshire has an excellent record of hunter safety, according to Laura Ryder, N.H. Fish and Game Hunter Education Supervisor. The average number of hunting-related incidents per year in New Hampshire has gone down each decade since hunter education classes became mandatory in the 1960s.  

Ryder noted that all hunters should review the "Ten Commandments of Shooting Safety":

  •    Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.
  •    Control the direction of your firearm's muzzle.
  •    Be sure of your target and what's beyond it.
  •    Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.
  •    Unload firearms when not in use.
  •    Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.
  •    Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.
  •    Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or at water.
  •    Store firearms and ammunition separately.
  •    Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.
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