A Finger Lakes hunting trip that was supposed to be a fun start to Thanksgiving ended in tragedy for Zachary Barse, 28, of Gorham, New York. His hunting partner accidentally shot and killed him while Barse was tracking a deer, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.
Kevin Hudson, 61, of Clifton Springs, New York, and an acquaintance of Barse, called 911 at approximately 11 a.m. to report that someone was shot with a hunting rifle. According to a statement from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department, Hudson was sitting in a tree stand while Barse followed the bloodtrail of a deer he shot earlier. That trail curled back in the direction of Hudson’s tree, and as Barse slowly approached the area, Hudson shot at what he thought was a deer.
Hudson jumped out of the stand and realized it had been Barse walking through the woods. He immediately called 911 and administered CPR, but the bullet struck Barse in his upper body causing lethal damage.
When emergency services arrived at the scene they attempted to resuscitate Barse, but they were unsuccessful and pronounced him dead. Authorities took the body to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy.
Barse was wearing camouflage at the time of the accident, without any blaze orange. Until this year, New York didn’t require hunters to wear blaze orange during big game firearm seasons. The rule changed when the state extended legal shooting hours to include the half hours before and after sunset. Now, either 250 square inches of blaze above the waist or a hat that is more than 50% blaze must be worn per state law.
“Most two-party hunting-related shooting incidents in New York involve a hunter victim who was not wearing fluorescent orange or pink clothing,” New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation stated in response to public comment about the rule changes, which took effect Sept. 1 of this year.
MeatEater sends its condolences to Barse’s family in the wake of this tragic accident and emphatically encourages hunters to always know their target and what is downrange before taking a shot.