An unfortunate year for hunter safety in Alabama so far. This case is the fourth fatal hunting accident in January alone.
In another completely accidental but avoidable incident, an Alabama hunter is dead following a shot taken by one of his relatives at a deer that he had just downed.
Thomas Tucker, Jr., 37, was killed just after 3 p.m. Sunday in Cullman County. He was pronounced dead on the scene by first responders. Previous incidents occurred at the beginning of January, when a Birmingham man was killed on the 4th, and more recently two hunters were killed in unrelated incidents on Jan. 12, in Tallapoosa and Blount counties.
Read more about Alabama Hunting AccidentsRead: Two Alabama Hunters Killed in Separate Incidents
It took the Cullman County Sheriff’s Department quite some time to reach the location of the accident. The team had to cross a lake to get to the Smith Lake RV Resort, which was not far from where the group had been hunting.
“It was very difficult access,” Cullman County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Max Bartlett said.
When they arrived they discovered Thomas, also known as ‘TJ’, on the ground; he had been shot with a blast from a 12-gauge shotgun, or buckshot, Bartlett said. According to the family member who was hunting with Tucker at the time, another the family member saw a deer come through the woods and shot it. He fired several rounds before moving closer.
As he got close to where he believed the deer had fallen, he heard some rustling in the brush and thought the deer was moving so he fired another round. Instead, it was Tucker in the brush, Bartlett said.
“The deer was within 30 feet of the victim,” he said. “The last shot fired was the one that struck Tucker.”
Obviously everyone involved is upset, especially the family member who fired the shot – a brother by marriage.
“The man that did the shooting was related by marriage. They are all just devastated,” Bartlett said. “It is a very difficult situation for the family and our prayers go out to them. We hope they find some peace.”
We cannot stress how important it is to be aware of your target and what may be behind, near, or around it. The sad truth is that these accidents could have all been avoided had the hunters in question practiced hunting safety, but the past is the past.
We can only hope that in the future these situations disappear due to increased exposure to hunting education, responsible hunters, and programs that aim to keep hunters educated even after they’ve been out in the field for numbers of years.
Have you ever been involved in a hunting accident? What are some things you think would help seasoned hunters continue to practice hunting safety? Share your thoughts in the comments below.