DUBOIS, CLEARFIELD COUNTY---A local man and his nine-year-old son were injured after another hunter shot at them Saturday morning, then fled the scene.
The accident happened in DuBois on the property of the Old Towne Beagle Club, and the hunter who shot at Orlander Prosper and his son is still at large.
DuBois and Sandy Township Police, as well as the Game Commission, are investigating the incident.
Even though he says he always takes every safety precaution, Prosper says he might not be taking his son hunting again for a while.
Prosper says he took his son hunting on the Beagle Club property, where he is a member, on the first day of spring gobbler season.
They moved up an unfamiliar hill, and found themselves in a situation that has never happened in their many hunting trips together.
"I looked at the base of the tree right directly under the posted sign. There was a man in full camouflage pointing a shotgun right at me" Prosper said, "I immediately turned my back, grabbed my son by the arm, was pulling him to get me between him and the hunter, and I started stepping back towards the direction we had just come from, and the man shot me in the back."
Prosper was hit with 25 pellets, some that are still imbedded in the back of his skull and neck. His son was struck with a pellet just above his right eye, that was able to be removed.
The shooter fled the scene, and Prosper says he's not sure if it was intentional, or just the mistake of a careless hunter.
"The Game Commission has interviewed some witnesses," Prosper said, "They have also collected evidence from the scene, and they're still in the process of having some of that stuff analyzed."
Brian Stoddard is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and said this accident could have been avoided.
"Main thing is identify your target," Stoddard said, "Don't crack under peer pressure if your buddy's getting birds and you're not getting anything. Just have fun, stay calm, be aware of your surroundings, things like that."
Stoddard and the National Wild Turkey Federation also say it's a good idea to wear bright orange clothing, even though it's not required during spring gobbler season. Never wear red, white, or blue, as those are common colors found in turkeys.
They also say never run with a loaded gun, and if you want to identify yourself, call out in a loud, clear voice, but never wave your arms to alert others to your presence.
And the biggest rule of all is to always identify your target before even lifting your gun to shoot.
Spring gobbler season runs through Memorial Day. For more information and safety tips, go to the National Wild Turkey Federation's web site.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting accident Saturday morning is asked to call the Game Commission at (717)787-4250.