A hunter in America has reportedly been shot dead by another hunter who had mistaken him for a deer.
38-year-old local business owner Justin Beutel from Sandford, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene in Antrim County, after hunting during the opening day of Michigan’s firearm deer season.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources [DNR] was called to the scene at around 1pm on Thursday, November 15, accompanied by the Michigan State Police and Antrim County Sheriff’s Deputies. First aid was reportedly administered, but Justin remained unresponsive.
The incident is said to have taken place on private land in Northern Michigan, but it has not been stated who the land belongs to. It has been confirmed Justin had been wearing a hunter’s orange hat at the time the incident occurred.
The other hunter in question has not been identified, but investigators of the case have confirmed he is a 45-year-old man from Gaylord. The men had reportedly not been hunting together, and it is thought they were not known to each other.
According to the preliminary investigation, Justin’s death had been the result of a tragic accident, with the other hunter mistaking him for a deer.
District law supervisor with the DNR, Lt. James Gorno, has made the following statement:
Preliminary investigation reveals that Mr. Beutel was deer hunting on private property and was apparently shot by another subject hunting nearby.
Local business owner killed while deer hunting in northern Michigan. Justin Beutel of Sanford was shot on opening day of firearms season. Authorities say it appears he was shot by another hunter. @nbc25fox66 pic.twitter.com/TL5xohgwz7
— Sarah Jaeger (@SarahJaegerTV) November 16, 2018
Reported to have had a strong interest in bikes, Justin is said to have ran a motorcycle repair shop in Midland.
As reported by NBC, Justin’s wife Whitney, has described her late husband as being a very hard worker whose hobbies included motorcycles, hunting and fishing.
James Reinke owner of Auto Perfection – a business situated next door to Justin’s motorcycle repair shop – reportedly said:
I just can’t believe it, Just a nice guy. He loved bikes and was really good at what he did.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources have released a video which shows DNR Law Enforcement’s conservation officer Danielle Zubek advising Michigan residents on how to keep safe during the firearm deer season.
According to Zubek:
It’s important for hunters to wear orange. You never know who else is going to be in the woods with you.
And it’s purely for visibility of other hunters […]
Trespassing is really important to understand. If somebody has their trespassing signs up, it’s important for the hunter to know to stay off of there for hunting, and for tracking deer.
As you’re tracking a deer, and it goes on to a posted property, you need to get permission from that land owner to enter that property after the deer.
Good luck to all of Michigan's hunters getting out for firearm deer season. Here is a quick hunter safety reminder to help keep folks safe while out enjoying the season. #hunting Additional safety messages – www.michigan.gov/huntereducation
Posted by Michigan Department of Natural Resources on Thursday, 15 November 2018
Investigations into this case are reportedly still ongoing.
Our thoughts are with the family of Justin Beutel at this difficult time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.