Willful & Accidental Killings with Bows and Arrows


While it is true that accidents with bows and arrows are less common than other forms of hunting, they do happen -- see below. Most go unreported, as people remove errant arrows from their yards, homes, garages, etc., without notifying the authorities. There are also deliberate killings with bows and arrows. It's the prosecutions of these crimes that are rare.

In New Jersey, children as young as 10 can obtain a free hunting license, courtesy of taxpayers, upon completion of a hunter safety course. According to the International Hunter Education Association, there were 445 hunting accidents in 2004. At least 103 accidents involved children. Of those, at least 20 were fatal.

The Families Afield** lobby claims that hunting is far safer than other recreational activities, even cheerleading. Clearly, injuries sustained while hunting can be far more severe. Cheerleading is seldom fatal; nor does it involve razor-tipped projectiles designed to inflict maximum damage and gaping wounds. One remarkable fact gleaned from the list of hunting accidents is the large number of incidents in which parents killed their children or children killed a parent or other relative. Unlike the sprained ankles and twisted knees that come from cheerleading, these are devastating traumas that ruin the lives of the survivors and destroy families.

According to a mother opposed to 10-year olds being allowed to hunt in New Jersey: "When my sons were 10, they could not even aim into the toilet, so why would anyone put a firearm or other dangerous weapon in their hands at that age?" [It is a fact.] Young children lack the mental and emotional maturity to take part in an activity that requires split-second life and death decisions—the same reasons why most states require a person to be 17 years-of-age to drive and 21 years-of-age to drink.

**Families Afield is a lobbying group dedicated to lowering the minimum hunting age across the country and exempting children from hunter safety courses. It describes age minimums and required safety courses as "barriers" to children wishing to hunt.

October 6, 2015: Michigan Cat Survives Being Shot with Target Crossbow.

A Michigan cat was stable and a $1,000 reward was posted for information leading to whoever shot it with a crossbow arrow, authorities said Tuesday.

The cat was found Monday morning cowering under the deck of a home in Kalamo Township, near Lansing, the Eaton County Sheriff's Department said. It had been shot with a crossbow, and the arrow — known as a bolt, which had a tip for target shooting — was stuck in its midsection.

See full article here.

April, 2015: A DOE NAMED GRACE

The Animal Protection League of New Jersey received a call from a Manalapan resident about a deer with an arrow in her. APLNJ staff member, Janine Motta went to the location and saw the deer, who, incredibly, appeared to be in good health despite the arrow in her face. It is affecting her ability to eat normally though and residents have given her raised platforms with food.

UPDATE: SHARK activist Stuart Chaifetz and APLNJ kept the pressure up, but Grace was pregnant, which delayed the arrow removal. On September 1, 2015, the NJ-DFW removed the part of the arrow that was protruding.  A veterinarian recommended leaving the arrowhead in place since the wound had healed around it. See full press release here.


New Jersey hunter indicted for killing pet dog with bow and arrow in front of owner

KINGSTON -- A New Jersey hunter was indicted Thursday for killing a pet dog with a bow and arrow while the owner looked on, the Ulster County District Attorney's Office says.

David Moors, 39, of Beachwood was indicted by an Ulster County grand jury for killing the dog on Oct. 27 last year, while hunting off 207 Weed Road in Pine Bush, his sister's property.

Moors is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, and hunting deer with bait, a violation. Moors was hunting deer when he shot and killed the dog in front of the dog's owner, the district attorney's office says.

Jade the cat shot with arrow in Howell, SPCA searching for suspect (Nov. 21, 2013 5:04 PM)

HOWELL — A tabby cat named Jade was found shot with an arrow this weekend but survived after emergency surgery, and animal cruelty investigators are asking for the public’s help to identify the attacker. 

“It is incredible that the cat lived,” said Victor “Buddy” Amato, chief humane law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “The Lakewood animal hospital did an outrageous job of saving that cat.”

Amato said the cat, which was found Saturday by a resident who lives at Winding Brook Mobile Home Park, had been micro-chipped in October.

Amato said he didn’t want to release too many details about the case because it is still under investigation.

Amato said the cat was taken to the animal hospital in Lakewood where it underwent emergency surgery to remove the arrow. He said the arrow entered the side of the feline and just missed hitting vital organs.

Amato asks anyone with informaion to contact him at 732-312-7153.

Stephanie Loder: 732-456-2159; sloder@njpressmedia.com


Arrow removed from deer's head in Rockaway N.J.; prognosis 'excellent' (November 10, 2013)



ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP — On Saturday afternoon, representatives from Fish and Wildlife watched and waited in Susan Darrah's backyard in the township for the third day in a row, to see if the deer with an arrow embedded in its face would return to eat.

The waiting paid off.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., Darrah said the deer, along with four or five other deer, came to her backyard to eat the corn, apples and pears left out for the animals.

A representative from Fish and Wildlife, who arrived at the home at approximately 3 p.m., was ready and shot a tranquilizer dart, hitting the deer, as Darrah watched from her window.

Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, said biologists were able to tranquilize the 5-month old male deer and remove an arrow that had pierced completely through the
animal’s head. He said after the deer was anesthetized, the biologists were able to unscrew the arrow head from the shaft and pull it out.

Darrah went outside as two technicians began treating the deer. She said they applied cream, dressed the wound and checked the condition of the animal.

The biologists who did the procedure say the prognosis for survival is excellent. The arrow had entered the left side of the deer’s head, traveled through the nasal cavity and exited out the right side without any
damage to any major arteries or organs, according to Ragonese.

Upon examination, the biologists noted the puncture wounds were not infected and were already starting to heal, Ragonese said. Preventative antibiotics were applied and the wounds were expected to heal
naturally with licking from the mother doe.

Darrah said she and the DEP representatives stayed with the deer as the effects of the tranquilizer wore off and watched as the animal got up on wobbly legs, walked on its own to the pasture in the back of her
yard and laid down. She said the animal was resting comfortably Saturday night.

"I'm so excited! I'm so happy," she exclaimed. According to the representative from Fish and Wildlife, the animal will be "just fine,” Darrah reported.


Deer returns to Rockaway Twp. backyard after arrow removed (November 15, 2013)


Five days after a hunter's arrow was removed from the face of a young 5-month-old male deer, the animal was spotted again in the Rockaway Twp. NJ backyard of Susan Darrah, the woman who helped him. She reported the wounds were healing. VIDEO BY EVA ABREU 11/14/13


Recent discussions about the dangers of bow hunting:

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the town staff members rejected a proposed bow hunt for deer: "If an arrow strikes a tree and ricochets, it is a projectile that could cause death or serious injury," said police Lt. Kevin Gunter.

See full story here:

If link disappears, click here.

Recent accidents involving arrows:

November 11, 2011 - Ohio: Dog shot with arrow recovering with owners

Hershey was discovered on Nov. 6 in Valley City, about 15 miles from the home he had run away from 17 days earlier. The 15-year-old German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix had an arrow poked through both sides of his chest. The local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the arrow was probably in place for at least two days. The arrow was removed at a veterinary hospital in Akron.

December 15, 2010 - 23-year-old arrested for shooting hunting arrow into Brockport, NY home.

23-year-old man arrested for shooting hunting arrow into Brockport home
Posted at: 12/15/2010 4:23 PM

Brockport Police have arrested a 23-year-old man for shooting a hunting arrow into a house in the village of Brockport. The arrow just missed Erica Russell's daughter. Over the weekend when News 10NBC first reported the story, Russell said she saw the man who fired it but he ran off.

Today, police arrested Philip Niccloy of LeRoy for reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. They didn't say how he was caught, but they say he was not targeting the family.  Niccloy was ticketed and released. He is due in Sweden Town Court On December 27.

For more Rochester, N.Y. news go to our website www.whec.com.

April 28, 2010: Goose pierced by hunting arrow lands in veterinarian's yard in Toms River.

Raptor Trust worker Kristi Ward releases a Canada goose into a stream in Millington, N.J. The goose was released back into the wild April 19 after rehabilitation from an arrow wound. (Mel Evans / AP)

September 2, 2009 - Dog Shot By Bow And Arrow - Connecticut News Story


September 2, 2009 - Cat limps home with 13-Inch Arrow Through Head






March 25 2009 - Another Archer Loses an Arrow

Photo: Michael Appleton for The New York Times


March 16 2009 - Yonkers Woman Shot by Errant Arrow on Riverdale Street


November 21 2008 - Family pets can also be harmed.

Photo: Ben Scheetz/Hunterdon County Democrat


December 25, 2009

Minn. man found dead in apparent hunting accident
Associated Press
AUSTIN, Minn. - Minnesota deputies say an Austin man has died in an apparent hunting accident.

KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa, says authorities found the body of 44-year-old Bernard Olson on Thursday evening.
Fillmore County deputies were investigating a report of a missing person when they found Olson's parked vehicle.

They followed tracks in the snow to his body. An initial investigation suggests Olson might have fallen on an arrow, injuring himself too severely to make it back to his vehicle. Fillmore County is in the southeast corner of the state.

November 11, 2009

Pet dog shot by bowhunter on Geauga park land
By John Horton, The Plain Dealer
Montville Township -- An archer permitted to hunt deer on Geauga Park District property killed a dog being exercised in Observatory Park on Tuesday afternoon.

The hunter -- whose name has not been released by park officials -- launched an arrow into the side of a 9-year-old black Labrador retriever named Steel, according to the dog's owner. The trained bird dog lived with Robert Phillips at a Clay Street home adjacent to the 1,200-acre park in eastern Geauga County.

Phillips, 62, said he was outside working with Steel when the hunter shot the dog at close range. He said he heard Steel "scream" from about 100 yards away. The dog had been running back and forth across the park district's property line.

The hunter told rangers that he shot Steel after the dog moved toward him in "an aggressive manner," park spokeswoman Cindy Ford said.
Phillips said that account is believable only if the hunter "has arrows that go around in circles" given the location of the dog's wound.
Observatory Park is one of six properties that the park district opened to hunters this season as part of a wildlife management plan. This is the fourth year with allowed hunting on county parkland, and the third involving deer. Last year, hunters harvested 150 deer from park properties; 36 came from the woods of Observatory Park.

The park district selects licensed hunters by lottery and requires them to pass a proficiency test and attend a safety meeting, Ford said. Hunters are required to stay at least 200 feet away from roads and neighboring properties.

Ford said that the incident took place "well within park boundaries," but Phillips described the location as "8 inches" onto park property.
The hunter phoned park rangers to report what he did, while Phillips dialed 9-1-1 and told dispatchers that "someone just shot my dog with a bow and arrow and killed it." The shooting remains under review by rangers. Deer hunting has been suspended at Observatory Park while the investigation takes place.

Other Geauga parkland open for hunting at some point during the state's bow, shotgun or muzzleloader seasons includes the Ellerin Property and Frohring Meadows in Bainbridge Township; the Rookery and Bass Lake Preserve in Munson Township; and Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve in Burton and Newbury townships.

October, 2009

Fairfield Man Dies in Hunting Accident

By Andy Waterman

WAYNE COUNTY- Illinois State Police are investigating the death of a Fairfield man killed in a hunting accident Thursday night. It was around 6:45 on Thursday evening when 20 yr. Old Aaron Long and his 16 yr. Old friend were hunting turkeys here down this path at Sam Dale Lake in rural Wayne County, but just minutes later, the 16 year old friend made a fatal mistake.

Wayne County Sheriff Jim Hinkle says, "He believed he was shooting at a turkey, and after shooting he quickly realized that he had shot his friend." Hinkle says the 20 year old didn't live long after the shot.

The arrow pierced Long in the left side of his back near his heart. Shortly after the accident his friend found a group of hunters and they called 9-1-1.

The sheriff says because it was an accident- It's unlikely the young man will be charged, "It's just an extreme tragedy and this young man and the families of everybody involved is something they got to live with for the rest of their lives."

Sheriff Hinkle adds that a hunting accident like this hasn't occurred in Wayne County in several years, but he recommends that no matter how old you are or how long you've been hunting, that you should take a hunters safety course to prevent accidents like this from happening.


April 24 2009 - Man shot with arrow.

Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth County, Kan. - An Independence, Mo., man had to go the hospital to have an arrow removed from his leg following a hunting accident Tuesday in Leavenworth County, according to a report from the sheriff’s office.

The arrow completely pierced through the upper right thigh of Daniel G. Jennings, 33.

March 5, 2009
Md. teen fined for firing arrow into home
Associated Press
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Maryland Natural Resources Police say a Germantown teen has pleaded guilty to a hunting violation after a Montgomery County man found a hunting arrow in his sofa.

The arrow was discovered at the home on Spring Meadows Drive in Germantown in September and investigators determined that it had flown through a window.

Police say 18-year-old Paul Howell Jr. was charged in January and pleaded guilty last week in Montgomery County District Court to violating a county weapons ordinance.

Howell was fined $100 and placed on three years probation. He was also ordered to pay $620 restitution to the homeowner and $300 to the Wildlife Conservation Enforcement Fund. Howell's hunting privileges are suspended until July 2010.

Posted: 1:44 PM Nov 18, 2008

Student Killed in Bow & Arrow Accident
Reporter: Phil Weber
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A student at Portsmouth High School has died in an accident involving a bow and arrow. According to Portsmouth Police, 17-year-old Storm Bratchett was killed after he was hit with an arrow from a hunting bow at his friend's house Tuesday morning.

Investigators tell WSAZ.com that Bratchett's friend was showing him his new bow and loaded it with a practice arrow. During this time, police say the bow somehow went off, and the arrow hit Bratchett in the chest.

Bratchett's friend then pulled the arrow out and notified a relative, who drove Bratchett to the hospital, according to police. Bratchett died during surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Family and friends are currently gathering at Christ Community Church in Portsmouth. Police are still investigating the incident.
[ Copyright 2009 – WSAZ.com. All Rights Reserved. ]


Bow Hunting Accident

October 13, 2007
Brian and Tyler Flynn were bow hunting near their camp in Huntington during the evening of Saturday October 13th, 2007. Brian Flynn was hunting out of a ground blind when he heard a noise behind him so he exited the blind and saw what he thought was a bear. Brian Flynn shot an arrow at the bear which turned out to be Tyler Flynn sitting on a rock a short distance away from him. At the time of this incident Tyler Flynn was wearing a black fleece jacket.

The arrow struck Tyler Flynn in the upper back on his left side. The arrow lodged in his shoulder blade. Brian Flynn brought Tyler Flynn to the General Store in Huntington where he called 911 and met with rescue personnel. Tyler Flynn was transported to Fletcher Allen in Burlington where the arrow was surgically removed without incident. Tyler Flynn was expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday October 16th, 2007.

A joint investigation was conducted between Vermont State Police and Vermont State Game Wardens. The investigation is continuing and at this time appears to be accidental. This incident will be sent for review by the Chittenden County State's Attorney when completed.

Bow-Hunting Accident Kills Man Near Lake of the Ozarks
KYTV - Springfield, MO,USA - 26 Sep 2004
CAMDENTON, Mo. -- A man from Independence died in a bow-hunting accident in Camden County on Saturday. The Camden County Sheriff's Department says 52-year-old Ammon Cerda died near Laurie about 7 p.m.

The sheriff's department and the Missouri Department of Conservation are still investigating the accident and haven't released other details about it.


Boy Impaled By Arrow While Hunting With Father
Florida Boy Impaled In The Neck By Arrow, But Survives

POSTED: 4:57 pm EDT July 29, 2004
WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. -- A 7-year-old boy fell on an arrow and was impaled in the neck, narrowly missing his jugular vein, officials said.

The father of the boy, whose name was not released, drove him 30 miles to a fire station for help. The boy was hospitalized in stable condition after Thursday's accident and was expected to survive, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said.

The boy fell while holding the arrow and playing in his backyard in rural Central Florida, his father told paramedics. After piercing his neck near the jugular vein, the arrow nearly passed all the way through to the boy's spine, said Lt. Dave Hover of the Brevard County Fire Rescue's Station where the boy went for emergency treatment.

Firefighters cut about 6 inches off the arrow so he could be flown to an Orlando hospital.

Boy, 17, Charged With Manslaughter In Hunting Bow Death
POSTED: 10:35 p.m. EST November 17, 2003
ALBION, N.Y. -- A 17-year-old boy was charged Monday with manslaughter in the death of a 16-year-old friend who was shot in the head with an arrow. The Orleans County Sheriff's Office on Monday charged Jeremy D. Hucknall of Barre with one count of second-degree manslaughter in the Nov. 9 death of Christopher McClary of Albion, 30 miles west of Rochester.

McClary, Hucknall and two other friends were shooting arrows from a hunting bow in a field. McClary ducked behind a junked car but then stood up just as Hucknall fired an arrow toward the car, police said.

The arrow hit McClary, who was rushed to a nearby hospital and then airlifted to Buffalo. He was pronounced dead about seven hours later. Hucknall appeared in Barre Town Court Monday afternoon and was released without bail to the custody of his father. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 20.

October 28, 2003

Bow hunting accident claims life of Mountain City man
By Lesley Jenkins
star staff
A bow hunting accident claimed the life of a Mountain City man Saturday evening. Michael Todd Stout, 43, 920 A. Davis Lane, died from massive blood loss after an arrow accidentally pierced the calf area of his leg, according to the Johnson County Sheriff's Department.

JCSD Deputy Johnny Roberts responded to Davis Lane after a neighbor called reporting the accident at approximately 5:30 p.m. Roberts found Stout in the front seat of his vehicle not far from his home.

"It is determined that the victim was walking with (the) bow in his left hand with (the) arrow in (the) bow and had apparently tripped, jabbing the arrow into his left leg," Roberts' report states. Roberts determined Stout removed the arrow from his leg before walking nearly one mile down the mountain to his vehicle, where he constructed a tourniquet for the wound then drove approximately a half mile before passing out from blood loss. Because Stout was driving a manual vehicle, his car came to a stop, according to the police report.

Roberts stated Stout possibly remained in his vehicle between one to four hours before a neighbor found him. He was transported to the Johnson County Health Center where he died due to massive blood loss, according to Johnson County Coroner Willie Debord.

Foul play is not suspected in the case.

Stout is survived by his wife, Lisa Henson Stout, and two daughters, Jessica and Rebekah.


School, neighbors mourn loss of Perry Hall pupil

Boy, 10, killed by crossbow called 'good-hearted'
By Laura Barnhardt
Sun Staff
Originally published October 28, 2003
As state officials continued their investigation yesterday into the death of a Perry Hall fifth-grader killed by a crossbow in a weekend hunting accident, friends and neighbors remembered the boy's love of animals and the outdoors.

"It's awful. I'm going to miss seeing him and his little smile," said Susan Collins, a neighbor on Joppa Pond Road whose 6-year-old and 4-year-old sons played with Tyler Stephen Mattison. "He liked playing video games. He was good with the little kids -- giving them piggyback rides. He was kind and good-hearted."

EMTs aid a child with arrow in eye - Wednesday, October 22, 2003
WILMINGTON- A 9-year old Andover boy was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital late last week after being shot in the eye with an arrow. Deputy Police Chief Bob Spencer said Wilmington dispatchers received a 911 transfer call on Saturday from Massachusetts State Police. Mark Coneeny, the boy's father, told dispatchers his son had an arrow sticking out of his eye and he was rushing him to a Boston hospital.

Dispatchers told the father to pull into the Interstate 93 south breakdown lane and wait for an ambulance. Officer John Tully responded with the ambulance to I-93 and met the Coneeny's black Lexus at the Route 129 exit. There he spoke with Bret Coneeny who told him a friend accidentally shot him with an arrow. "I do not know what type of arrow it was," Spencer said.

However, he is concerned by the accident. While the accident happened in Andover, there are no rules or regulations governing who can buy archery equipment. Wilmington is no longer the rural community it once was and Spencer said he wonders how careful a child will be with a bow and arrow. Wilmington does not allow hunting in any form within the town boundaries, but it does not mean people do not hunt here, he said.

Bowhunter shoots teen who scared deer
Associated Press - Oct. 29, 2002
MOUNT VERNON, Ill. - A New Athens man was hunting deer with a bow and arrow when he says he accidentally shot a teenager in the chest who had scared away his prey, according to authorities.

Steven Kemp, 17, of Dix, was upgraded from critical to stable condition Tuesday at Good Samaritan Hospital in this southern Illinois city, hospital spokeswoman Kathy Atchison said.

Kemp was riding his recreational, all-terrain vehicle with friends near North Miller Lake Saturday afternoon when Donald Foutch Jr., who was hunting deer in the area, complained and tried to get the group to stop, according to police reports and court papers.

Police say Foutch, 41, complained the teens had scared away a deer he had been watching from his hunting stand. An argument ensued, and Foutch partially drew back his quick-release bow as if he were going to shoot his arrow at Kemp, witnesses said.

Foutch told police he then slipped, "and the bow just went off," according to court papers. He was standing about three feet away from the teenager
at the time.

The arrow pierced Kemp's lung, narrowly missed his heart and extended through the back of his shoulder, witnesses said. Doctors later said they used more than 20 units of blood treating the teen.

Foutch, who administered first aid to Kemp, was charged with aggravated battery and possession of drug equipment. Police said they found a marijuana pipe with what appeared to be residue of the drug in his car nearby.

Foutch remained at Jefferson County Jail Tuesday on $60,000 bond. His arraignment was scheduled for Nov. 21.


Father accidentally shoots son with arrow while deer hunting.
Associated Press
October 29, 2000
NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. -- A Kosciusko County man was killed Sunday on a hunting trip when his father mistook him for a deer and shot him with an arrow. Frederick C. Searfoss, 28, of Syracuse was pronounced dead early Sunday morning at the scene of the accident in an area near North Webster, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Wayne.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources reported that Searfoss was bow hunting with his father, Jerry Searfoss, and a friend, Daryl Gans. While Frederick Searfoss was on his way to a tree stand he was mistaken for a deer by his father, who later told conservation officers he thought the sound his son was making was a deer walking.

Jerry Searfoss fired his bow and said he thought he saw a buck take the arrow, but then Frederick Searfoss called out to the other hunters that he had been hit. Jerry Searfoss and Gans located Frederick Searfoss, and while one of the men attempted to control the bleeding, the other hunter sought help.

Emergency crews dispatched a Lifeline helicopter, but Searfoss died before he could be transported. DNR officials said the incident is considered an accidental shooting and is no longer under investigation.

Hunters are not required to wear orange during bow hunting season.