Hunter victim of accidental shooting
By By JOHN WALLACE – Special to The Standard
A hunting trip in the Conecuh National Forest near the small rural community of Wing in Covington County turned out to be tragic for one group of hunters from Brewton on Saturday.
Von Howard, a federal law enforcement officer with the USDA Forest Service, was the first on the scene and found James Carter, 40, of Brewton with a gunshot wound to the abdomen which he received from a juvenile relative. The shooting was believed to have been an accident. The injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
Howard was addressing another group of hunters in the national forest about the dangers of road hunting when he was contacted about the accident near the intersection of Forest Service Road 305 (also known as Cross Country Road) and Forest Service Road 328.
Howard said he managed to calm down Carter and applied an ice pack to the gunshot wound in the victim's abdomen in hopes of stabilizing his condition.
He then got members of the hunting party to talk with the victim while he made radio contact with emergency personnel, including the Covington County Sheriff's Office and paramedics. A state conservation officer and state manager also assisted Howard.
The accident occurred along the roadside after a deer had crossed the road between the victim and the juvenile, Howard said.
Howard said the juvenile shot the victim with a shotgun loaded with buck shot, but Carter was conscious when he arrived on the scene.
Carter was transported via ambulance to the Blue Lake Grocery on Highway 137 near mile marker nine where the state highway was closed down by law enforcement officers, including Alabama State Troopers and Covington County Sheriff's Deputies. The Wing VFD also assisted in preparing and securing a landing zone for a LifeFlight helicopter.
The road was closed for approximately 30 minutes as the helicopter landed and Carter was transported from an ambulance to the helicopter. The LifeFlight then took off to transport Carter to a West Florida hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
Howard said roadside hunting has become a major problem in the Conecuh National Forest. He said one contributing factor is the number of out-of-town hunters, many of which are not familiar with hunting in South Alabama.
He also said private land owners seem to be less permissible in allowing dog hunters to use their land and that has caused an increase in roadside hunting.