Two days into Mississippi's gun season for deer hunters, a man was killed and two others hospitalized Sunday in two shootings.
Doug Childs, 32, of Maben was killed Sunday morning while hunting in western Oktibbeha County.
Oktibbeha County Sheriff Dolph Bryan said Childs was accidentally shot in the chest just after 7 a.m. off Hawkins Road, near the Choctaw County line.
Bryan said the shooting was under investigation and would not offer details about what happened.
In the second case, a 41-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl were hit by stray shotgun pellets around 1 p.m. in Harrison County, Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said.
Brisolara said the two were shot while horseback riding on public land managed by the U.S. Forestry Service. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
"During hunting season, we try to discourage people from horseback riding and riding ATVs on forestry land because that land is also open to hunters," Brisolara said.
The hunter told authorities he was firing at a deer, Brisolara said.
Both shootings have been turned over to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, which investigates all hunting-related fatalities and shootings.
Maj. Lane Ball said the department is expected to release more information about the shootings today.
He said the accidents should be a reminder that it is necessary to practice gun safety at all times.
"When hunting, you have to positively identify what it is you're shooting before you pull that trigger," Ball said. "Know what you're shooting, and know what is in front of and on the other side of your target."
Cliff Cargill, a National Rifle Association instructor, said a large number of hunting accidents are caused when guns go off while a hunter is climbing up or down a deer stand or by hunters hitting something behind their intended target.
Ball also urged hunters to unload their guns when they get home and store bullets in a separate location from their weapons.
He said another important safety tip is to wear orange hunting gear while in the woods.
To comment on this story, call Nicklaus Lovelady at (601) 961-7239.
Now, Big Foot is no longer a wildlife management area, so there were hunters all over the place. We saw them *parked on the road* and were making plenty of noise as well as wearing our orange vests. We really peed them off! They flipped us off and drove really fast up and down the road. About half way through our ride, we hear two shotgun blasts, not too far away. We had probably gone about 5-10 minutes farther down the trail when I saw a young girl riding and leading two horses coming our way. She spotted us and yelled 'turn around, turn around, they just shot us!' Of course, we had to catch up with her and find out what was going on. She and two others she was riding with...a mother and her 11 year old daughter...had just been shot by a hunter! One of the horses she was leading had been shot too. She had called 911, and shortly, there was an abundance of highway patrol, fire trucks and ambulances on scene. They went on to the injured people and we escorted the girl and her two horses back to the trailers. I loaded the injured mare up and took her to the vet. The mare had tow pellets in her head...one in her cheek that lodged against her tooth and another that went about midway into her face. The vet decided to leave both.
The mother had two through and through shots to her leg and the daughter has a pellet that went through her lung and lodged in a muscle in her back. She was being taken to Oschner's in New Orleans because the pellet was close to her heart.
To say the least, this was a harrowing ride I hope never to repeat.
Just want everyone to be safe. This is scary. I don't want to give up riding till the end of deer season, but I won't be riding a deer colored horse or be caught w/o my orange on. I won't be riding in a known hunting area during hunts, but all hunting is not "legal".