OUTDOORS

Albion man recovering from gunshot to chest in latest of 3 hunting accidents in western Pa.

Brian Whipkey
Pennsylvania Outdoor Columnist

At least three hunters in western Pennsylvania have been shot in hunting related accidents within two weeks. Two of the three incidents were fatalities.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported that an Albion, Erie County, man suffered a "life threatening" injury Wednesday when he was accidentally shot in the chest by a fellow deer hunter in Crawford County. He underwent surgery and was recovering in Hamot Medical Center in Erie on Thursday morning, the PGC said.

A doe walks near a trail camera on Nov. 11 in Somerset County. The Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds hunter to be safe while hunting after three hunters in one week were accidentially shot in western Pennsylvania.

Jason Amory, Pennsylvania Game Commission information and education supervisor, identified the hunter as Lawrence S. Pavolko, 58. He was shot in the chest by another hunter with a .30-06 rifle during a deer hunting drive in Cussewago Township.

The PGC explained through a news release that five individuals were hunting on private property. Three of the hunters were driving deer, while the other two hunters were posted at a stationary location. During the drive, a deer was spotted by the farthest driver, who shot. Moments later, Pavolko saw a deer and took a shot.

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The PGC reported that the middle driver, a 28-year-old man, "presumably saw the same deer and shot." Just after the shot, yelling was heard. It was found that the bullet had struck Pavolko in the upper chest.

Amory said all four hunters rendered aid until emergency services crews arrived. Pavolko was transported by a medical helicopter to UPMC Hamot in Erie.

On Thursday morning, Amory said, “Mr. Pavolko had a life threatening gunshot wound to the torso. However, he went through surgery and his prognosis is good.”

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On Saturday in Cambria County, William Tripp of Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, died in a shooting accident in Jackson Township. He was 72.

Joseph Hribar, chief deputy coroner for Cambria County, said Thursday that Tripp was hunting with family members along a gas line off of Buckhorn Road. A family member, a juvenile, fired a .243 caliber rifle at a deer. The bullet traveled about 300 yards before striking Tripp in the head, Hribar said. The coroner’s office pronounced him dead at the scene. The Game Commission also investigated the incident, which has been labeled as an accidental shooting.

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“It was definitely a terrible accident that happened,” Hribar said. “Always be mindful of the chance of your bullet traveling further than expected. Always be safe.”

As previously reported, a retired Corry police officer died Nov. 20 in what has been described by the Pennsylvania Game Commission as a “terrible accident” while he and another man were hunting for black bears in Warren County.

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.

Another hunter shooting:Retired Corry police officer dies in 'horrible' hunting accident

Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA Today Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at bwhipkey@gannett.com and sign up for our weekly Outdoors Newsletter email on your website's homepage under your login name.