Hunting deaths rare, but can happen

By G. Sam Piatt - PDT Columnist

My heart, thoughts, prayers and sympathy go out to family and friends of Nicholas Ford, who was shot to death by a bullet fired by his hunting companion on Thanksgiving morning.

Ford, 39, and Christopher Stone, 43, were deer hunting when Stone fired his rifle into an overgrown field surrounded by woods. Ford was standing in the woods, and in the line of fire. The bullet struck him in the back. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The shooting took place in Breckinridge County. The Kentucky State Police, which is investigating, have called it an accidental shooting, according to a dispatcher in the Elizabethtown Post.

My sympathy also goes out to Stone, who now must spend the rest of his life trying not to pull that trigger.

Both men were no doubt looking forward to enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

Sometimes it’s impossible to know what or who is in the background when you fire at your quarry. The terrain where the accident happened is somewhat hilly, though the hills are not near as high as the ones we have here.

Police did not say what caliber rifle Stone was using. A bullet fired from a 30-06, one of the most popular guns for deer hunting, can travel a mile or more, and be effective up to half-a-mile, until it strikes something to stop it.

Deaths caused by hunting accidents are rare, but they can happen. Check the background. Check the background.


Last Sunday was the last for Kentucky’s 16-day gun season for deer. Ohio’s seven-day season opened Monday and will run through tomorrow.

Reporting results showed Kentucky hunters thinning the herd by 121,821 whitetails statewide. Fifty-seven percent were male.

Locally, the results of four northeastern counties showed Lewis 1,074 with 61 percent male; Carter 998 with 56 percent male; Greenup 801 with 59 percent male; and Boyd 540 with 57 percent male.


The hunting season on ducks and geese are open as of Thanksgiving Day in both Kentucky and Ohio.

The outlook for the upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons looks as promising as any seasons in recent memory, Kentucky wildlife officials report.

“It is shaping up to be a phenomenal year,” John Brunjes, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, told Lee McClellan, writer for Kentucky Afield magazine.

“We are still at all-time highs for duck numbers with as many breeding ducks as we’ve ever had. It’s been that way for a couple of years now.”

Brunjes said biologists conducted duck population counts earlier this month along the Mississippi River in Illinois. They produced four times the normal number of birds counted. “Usually for the second week of November in Illinois, they see about 200,000 birds,” he said. “They counted 800,000 birds along the Mississippi River last week and those birds are heading our way.”

He said waterfowl of all stripes are migrating through Kentucky right now. “We are seeing white-fronted geese and even tundra swans in southeast Kentucky,” Brunjes said. “It is very rare. We have a ton of snow geese showing up in weird places this year. The birds are moving well this year.”

The duck, coot, and merganser seasons, as well as Canada, white-fronted and snow geese all opened Thanksgiving Day.


In my younger days, I hunted waterfowl as far away as the goose pits in Western Kentucky, but mostly stuck to the local river bottoms along the Ohio River.

I hunted them while lying flat of my back in the stubble of a harvested cornfield, calling then in for a flyover of the decoys. I hunted them from a boat drifting the river as well as from blinds along the shoreline.

I may well be the guy who perfected using a rod and reel as a retriever, since I never owned a good dog to handle that part of the hunt.

If I managed to shoot a duck or goose from the shore that plopped down in the river, I would tie on a large surface lure with three treble hooks attached, cast out, snag and retrieve the rascals, and take them home for supper.

By G. Sam Piatt

PDT Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at or (606) 932-3619.