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Mass. man shot, killed while videotaping dad hunting

November 16, 2011
LISBON — A friend of the Brunelle family said a Marlborough, Mass., man was only hoping to videotape his father getting his first deer in years when the 31-year-old was fatally shot in the neck during opening day of the state's regular firearms deer season.

Kenneth Brunelle, who was with a group of hunters off Mt. Eustis Road in Lisbon, but not hunting himself, was shot around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, and pronounced dead at the scene, according to a New Hampshire Fish and Game press release.

Late last week, law enforcement officials identified 48-year-old Lisbon resident Wade Holmes as the man who discharged the single gunshot from a high-velocity rifle. Fish and Game and the New Hampshire State Police were still investigating as of Monday, and no charges had been pressed.

Lisbon resident Bob York has been hunting with the Brunelles for almost two decades and was very familiar with the area of last week's incident. York said the hunting party was larger than Fish and Game said — according to the press release, Brunnelle was hunting with only his father and brother — and that everyone had talked the night before about how there would be a number of other hunters in the area, which is very popular the first day of the season.

York would have been with the men that morning had he not had to deliver papers for Salmon Press, which owns The Littleton Courier.

York said he and Brunelle's father, Craig, who is from Hudson, Mass., have been hunting buddies for 15 to 20 years, but Craig had been sick for the past few years and hadn't been able to hunt. Kenneth Brunelle, who has two young children of his own, just wanted to videotape his father for family memories.

"It should never have happened, that's how I look at it," said York. "You don't shoot at anything until you know what it is any hunter will tell you the same thing."

The incident was the first hunting-related fatality in two years — the fifth in 15 years. According to the press release, hunter safety, including mandatory hunter education and increased use of blaze-orange clothing, has helped to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities. New Hampshire had an average of 21.4 hunting-related incidents per year in the 1960s compared to 3.36 incidents per year since 2000.

The 2009 death occurred on the opening day of muzzleloader season when a hunter's muzzleloader discharged while he was in his treestand.

Nearly 100 miles south in Pittsfield, a 65-year-old man of the same town was injured around 4 p.m. last Wednesday while out with five other hunters. According to Fish and Game, Daniel Mullen was struck in the buttocks by a bullet believed to be fired by one of the other hunters in his party.

The injury was nonlife-threatening and Mullen was able to walk out of the woods before being transported by ambulance to Concord Hospital.

All of the hunters in the party were wearing blaze orange and were experienced hunters, according to the press release.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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