Boy accidentally shoots older brother while hunting in Summit County, police say
Cache County man in stable condition after gunshot to the thighs
A 12-year-old boy accidentally shot his older brother in the legs on Wednesday while they were elk hunting in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Andrew Wright said the siblings were hunting in Henry’s Fork around 9:49 a.m. when they spotted an elk and the boy fired his rifle, striking his 20-year-old brother in the upper thighs. Utah’s general rifle bull elk season began Oct. 7 and ended Thursday.
“They were both going to shoot when they came up with their rifles,” he said. “The 12-year-old had his rifle pointed at his brother and he fired, hitting the brother. It went through both of his legs.”
The victim, who was alert and talking to medical personnel, was transported in a helicopter in stable condition to a hospital in Weber County a little after 11 a.m., Wright said.
Utah allows anyone who is at least 12 years old to hunt big game animals, such as deer, elk and moose. There is no minimum age requirement for hunting other small game, including ducks and pheasants. But, anyone born after Dec. 31, 1965, has to either complete the state’s hunter education course or be involved with the trial hunter program to legally hunt.
Mark Hadley, public information officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said most states in the country, including Utah, have removed the age requirements to allow parents to determine whether their child is mature enough to hunt. He added, “Young kids have to be able to pass the same program that adults do.”
However, children under the age of 16 have to be accompanied by someone 21 or older. Utah also requires people who are hunting big game animals during a rifle hunt to wear 400 square inches of hunter orange on the back, chest and head, Hadley said. It is unclear if the siblings were wearing orange.
With several major hunting seasons currently underway, including the water fowl and game hunts, and the upcoming general rifle buck deer hunt, which starts Saturday, Oct. 21, and ends Sunday, Oct. 29, Hadley strongly encouraged everyone to brush up on firearm safety. The opening weekend of the general rifle buck deer hunt typically attracts 50,000 hunters statewide, he said.
Hadley offered the following tips:
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
- Never point at anything not intended to be shot
- Keep the safety on until the gun is lined up on the target and the shooter is ready to fire.
“If people would follow those three things, there would be virtually no people injured in hunting accidents,” Hadley said. “Those things are all taught in our education programs, and the folks who are experienced in hunting, they will drill those into the young minds of those they are taking with them. They will take the time to teach someone how to properly handle a firearm.”
The shooting remains under investigation. Hadley said as long as the siblings had someone at least 21 years old with them, the younger boy would not likely face any violations.
For more hunting safety tips, go to this website.