It’s the time of year again when hunters will take to the woods and swamps of beautiful southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Hunting is a major Tidewater pastime and an exciting outlet for sportsmen that plays a vital role in culling herds of appropriate sizes.
A recent incident in Sussex County, however, pointed out the risks associated with hunting and serves as a basis for considering some of the legal implications. Hunting, of course, is a highly regulated activity.
Along with other agencies, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries now polices hunters through a variety of licenses and permits and oversees this outdoor sport with a substantial compliment of law enforcement officers. Game and Inland Fishery officers are generally fully armed officers with arrest power. They do an excellent job in seeing to it that hunters toe the line.
But they cannot be everywhere. The incident is Sussex County was a major example of how hunting can go terribly wrong. According to officers, a 61-year old Prince George County man was struck in the head with shotgun pellets on Monday, December 30, while hunting with a local hunt club. It appears that one hunter fired at a moving deer but struck the victim instead, despite the fact that he was wearing the required blaze orange vest.
Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. While no legal remedy can bring the victim back, surprisingly, legal action may be appropriate. In a case this office handled several years ago, the victim’s family was able to access a homeowner’s insurance policy to cover the damages in a hunting accident. Unbeknownst to many people, homeowners’ insurance policies may cover a wide range of claims, such as: defamation, slip and fall incidents, domestic accidents and (sometimes) hunting injuries. In order to minimize the risk of injury, hunters are urged to comply with all Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regulations, to obey the instructions of law enforcement, and to wear blaze orange at all times. In the event of an incident, injury victims should also consider consulting with a legal counsel like The Jeff Brooke Team. In appropriate cases, we may be able to “hunt down” substantial compensation.