Retired Corry police officer dies in 'horrible' hunting accident

Brian Whipkey
Pennsylvania Outdoor Columnist

A retired Corry police officer died Saturday in what’s being described by the Pennsylvania Game Commission as a “terrible accident” while he and another man were hunting for black bears in Warren County.

Jason Amory, Pennsylvania Game Commission information and education supervisor, reported that Gary R. Hunt, 64, of Corry, was hunting during the rifle black bear season with his adult nephew when the incident occurred around noon in State Game Lands 197 in Columbus Township.

Gary Hunt is pictured in this February 2020 photo shortly before he retired as a lieutenant for the Corry Police Department in Erie County. He died Saturday at the age of 64 in a hunting accident.

The Pennsylvania State Police said the Game Commission is handling the investigation.

According to a Game Commission hunting-related shooting incident report, Hunt's nephew was “crossing a creek with the victim behind him when (he) tripped or slipped and the firearm discharged behind him into (Gary Hunt.)”

A hunter was killed Saturday in State Game Lands 197 in Columbus Township, Warren County.

Amory said the preliminary investigation revealed “It was just a horrible accident.” He said the .270 rifle is being tested to see if there was a malfunction.

“But at this time we don’t believe any charges will be filed. It’s just heart-wrenching,” Amory said, noting that Hunt was a retired officer from the Corry Police Department. “He was a good man from everyone’s account.”

Corry Police corporals Jordon Kitchen and Brett Sproveri said Hunt served the community of about 6,500 for more than 25 years. He retired as a lieutenant in February 2020.

“Gary was a great guy. When it comes to police work, he was community-oriented,” Kitchen said Monday morning. “He always wanted others to do well. He was very compassionate and well liked.”

“He was a great co-worker," Sproveri said. "I’ve known him for probably 20 years. He enjoyed being a police officer.” 

The two corporals said they are working on how to best honor him when the funeral services are scheduled.

Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA Today Network sites in Pennsylvania.