Fatal Elk Hunting Accident

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Todd Halfast, age 38, from Flagstaff was killed during an elk hunting accident Friday morning, Nov. 15, in Game Management Unit 9 near U.S. Forest Service Road 328 approximately 21 miles west of Tusayan.

This is the first fatal hunting accident in Arizona since 1998. The Coconino County Sheriff's Department is currently investigating the fatal hunting accident. The Arizona Game and Fish Department participated in the investigation.

According to official reports, four individuals, who were all members of the same family, were out in the hunt area Friday morning and encountered a herd of elk. Upon trying to pursue the elk, the hunters lost track of each other. Shots were taken as the elk were running. Later in the day, after being separated, the members of the hunting party returned to their camp and discovered one person had not yet returned. They initiated a search. They found the victim later that day.

Game and Fish reports that the state's previous fatal hunting accident in 1998 was also during a rifle elk hunt. Arizona also had a hunting fatality in 1995.

Don Winslow, conservation education program manager with Game and Fish said, "Hunting accidents, especially fatalities, are rare. It is a safe activity. Just like any other recreational activity, injuries and fatalities can occur."

Through hunter education courses, brochures and other media, Game and Fish promotes safe and ethical hunting. Target identification is one of many topics discussed during the classes. "Hunters should always know their target and what is beyond," Winslow said.

Hunter education students are instructed to clearly identify what they are shooting at and to be aware of their surroundings. It is recommended that people out hunting or accompanying hunters wear hunter orange.