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Location: Wandering the World, Currently at Ft. Campbell, KY
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

A duck hunter killed Thursday night may have lost his life after his dog stepped on a shotgun in a boat on the Cumberland River, a state wildlife official said yesterday.

Lawn-care service owner Thomas A. St. Charles III, 28, of Carriage Drive, Bellevue, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after being wounded on a west Nashville river inlet.

He had gotten out of a boat late Thursday afternoon to pick up decoys at the end of the hunt, said Cape Taylor, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency law enforcement supervisor for Davidson and several other counties.

His hunting companion, Harold C. Hamm II, 28, of Bellevue Road, had remained in the boat, where St. Charles' shotgun lay on the floor.

"The dog apparently jumped back there and hit the trigger of the gun," Taylor said.

Either the safety lock had not been on or the dog knocked the safety button, depending on the type of shotgun, and released it, he said.

The shotgun fired and blew a hole through the side of the boat, striking St. Charles in the lower abdomen, Taylor said.

Detectives probe shooting

Metro police's statement yesterday stated that detectives are "working to determine" why the gun went off and that detectives said "a hunting dog may have been in the boat when the gun went off."

Hamm told detectives he had remained in the boat to bag decoys, the police press release said. Hamm said he had his back turned to his friend when the gun fired and wondered why the gun discharged, Taylor said. Then, St. Charles called out to Hamm.

"He said, 'Call 911. I've been hit,' " Taylor said, repeating information from the TWRA agent on the case.

Taylor said Hamm told authorities he thought the dog could have stepped on the gun, causing it to fire.

Hamm could not be reached last night for comment. Family members said St. Charles' beloved dog is a retriever named Sadie.

The men had started their outing earlier that day, putting the boat in the Cumberland at the Cleese's Ferry boat ramp and going downriver. The 911 call was made about 5:50 p.m. Thursday. Emergency personnel reached the men by driving on River Road to the inlet.

Hunting death is second

The men had complied with hunting regulations, except that Hamm did not have a current hunter education certification. St. Charles did have the certification.

Hunters are advised to unload firearms as soon as they are through for the day, Taylor said. Hamm's shotgun was unloaded and in a case.

Keith Milby, a Goodlettsville dog trainer, said canines should always be under control.

"That dog should have been still," Milby said. "He shouldn't be allowed to be moving — jumping around in that boat. People don't allow other people to jump around in a boat."

The incident is the second death this month in a Midstate hunting accident. The other was a deer hunter who was mistakenly shot by his brother outside White House. Neither of the men was wearing the blaze orange gear required for deer hunting.

Those injured or killed in hunting accidents are typically part of the same hunting party, Taylor said. Misidentifying a target, as happened earlier this month, or carelessness with a gun, as it appears in this case, are the usual causes, Taylor said.

redrider's picture
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Very Unfortunate Cry
The other accidental hunting death was also horrible. Shot by your own brother. However, not wearing blaze orange during rifle season is asking for trouble Shame on You!

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Location: Maryland
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

That's scary.

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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Nearly had the same thing happen to me on a November 04 duck hunt at a slough NE of Malta, Montana. Had just finished stomping out a small spot in the cattails to make a blind at waters edge when my buddies Lab became a little anxious after my buddy walked back to the truck to get another box of shells. I had placed my loaded shotgun up against the reeds when the anxious Lab knocked it my way with the muzzle landing in my gut. The dog then proceeded to try and climb up on me before I could move my gun out of the way. Looked down where her paws were and saw one on the trigger guard and one claw from that paw on the trigger. Immediatly smacked her off of me and grabbed the barrel moving the gun away from me. All I can say is thank GOD I always have used the safety on my guns. It was on safe, but I later thought, what if I had forgotten to put the gun on safe that one time. A gut shot is usually fatal.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it pays to always use that safety. In my case I'm more vigilant of where my gun is while in a duck blind.

redrider's picture
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Whew I'm Glad you use that safety also!

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Location: Wandering the World, Currently at Ft. Campbell, KY
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Thanfully your safety was on and the dog didn't hit it....

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Location: Western ans Northern Canada
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Yes,safe firearm practice does pay! On a lighter note I recall an item from the news about 10 years ago where a dog shot his master in the behind in Poland.
Apparantly the guy was shooting his shotgun at a target.At one point,he set the gun down and went up to inspect his target.As he was bending over to admire his marksmanship his dog stepped on his gun,and POW,peppered his master's behind.
I think his injuries were more moral than physical!! Big smile Big smile

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Joined: 08/27/2004
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Something is deffinetly going on in that state 2 people killed in hunting accidents thats crazy and in one month to boot. Gun safety should always be number one and tyed for number one is orange in rifle season is one of the best things the could have done.

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Location: Melvina, Wi.
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

BS--Dog had nada to do with it-- stupidity killed the hunter!!! Had same happen with ex buddy- he lived but blasmed dog for gun going off in boat( moving) when HE put loades gun on seat in hopes of jumping some ducks--also tried to sue gun company for his lack of brains & common sense.

WesternHunter's picture
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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

I think the point here (without calling anyone stupid) is that every gun handler or user needs to be vigilant and exercise caution and awareness with a firearm at all times.

One thing about blaze orange is that waterfowlers do not wear it for abvious reasons. Rifle hunters during rifle season should be extra cautious when hunting biggame near rivers, ponds, lakes, and sloughs. Glass the area real well and don't use the water as a backstop. I've scared up many deer while moving through the reeds and cattails on my way to a blind. I can see how easy it would be for a rifleman glassing for game to accidentally shoot my direction without really seeing me.

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Dog may have fired shot that killed hunter

Yea I agree but thats why we are taught not to shoot something we cannot totally one hundred percent make out and see vitals, me myself would not take a chance at shooting at something I could not plainly see walking through the weeds if I wasnt sure I wouldnt be shooting period. I also understand thier is alot of circumstances behide what you said if you are duck hunting you would be wearing full camo walking through but still someone shooting towards you is a different story. All I know is if it were me that had a shot fired close to me I would be letting off some warning shots with my 12 guage for that guy too know for sure I was there and not waiting for another shot to zoom by.

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