One fatality and three injuries have been reported to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources during the first two weeks of the current four-week-long spring turkey hunting season, according to Lt. Col. William Daniel of the DNR Law Enforcement Section. The 2001 spring gobbler season began April 23 and continues through May 19.
On Saturday, May 5, 18-year old Derek J. Shomo of Route 1, Philippi died from a rifle gunshot to the head while he was hunting on private property near Route 38 in Barbour County. Investigating Conservation Officer Gary Straughan reports that Shomo was shot by a 14-year old who was hunting in the same area using a high-powered rifle with a scope. The shooter apparently saw movement that he thought to be made by a turkey, and after hearing calls, shot his firearm. State Police Trooper R.W. Bolyard is handling possible prosecution.
On Monday, April 23, 39-year old Aaron J. Atkinson of Canasota, New York, shot himself in the left foot with a shotgun while turkey hunting on the Stonecoal Wildlife Management Area in Upshur County, according to Conservation Officer Douglas A. Benson. He was treated at a local hospital.
Also on April 23, 23-year old William J. Shumate of Clarksburg, West Virginia, shot himself in the right leg with a shotgun while hunting on private property near Wallace in Harrison County, according to Conservation Officer Douglas Whyte. Shumate removed nine pellets from his leg by himself before going for medical treatment.
On Monday, April 30, 40-year old James M. Phillips of Wileyville, West Virginia, injured himself in the upper right neck, right shoulder, right hand and lower right calf with a shotgun while hunting on his own property in Wetzel County. Conservation Officers Tom Spence and Mike Johnston report that after Phillips had set his gun against a tree, it slid down the hill behind him, caught on a root and went off. He was treated at a local hospital.