A 9-year-old boy died after he accidentally shot himself in the head while pheasant hunting in Lancaster County, Nebraska.
Gunnar Holte was out hunting with his father, Mathew Holte, at Branched Oak Lake, the Omaha World-Herald reported. That’s about 18 miles northwest of Lincoln. The accident occurred when the boy reloaded his shotgun at about 7:40 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25.
Pheasant Hunting Gone Wrong
The pair had been hunting pheasants before the season opened for adults. In Nebraska, Saturday and Sunday are set aside for minors to hunt pheasants, quail or partridge in 19 areas across the state. They are required to bring an adult.
Gunnar had already shot at a bird. Then he went to reload his shotgun. As he was loading the gun, it discharged, hitting him in the head.
Matthew heard another shot go off, turned around and saw his son had fallen, according to KOLN.
An off-duty Lincoln police officer who was in the area hunting with his son heard Matthew’s screams, the Lincoln Journal-Star reported. He ran to Matthew’s side to help.
The officer tried CPR as Matthew called 911. Malcolm Fire and Lincoln Fire & Rescue both showed up. They brought Gunnar to a medical center in Lincoln.
Unfortunately, Gunnar died at the hospital.
‘A Very Tragic Accident’
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tom Brookhouser said they feel for Gunnar’s family.
“It’s just a very tragic incident,” he said. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family.”
Nebraska Game & Parks is helping the sheriff’s office with the ongoing investigation, the Journal-Star reported.
Officials encouraged everyone going out to hunt birds to brush up on hunting safety. While hunting, you should treat every gun as if it’s loaded. You should always keep the gun on safety and your fingers off the trigger. And never point a gun at something you don’t want to shoot.
Gunnar’s family has launched a GoFundMe page to pay for his funeral expenses. It has already surpassed its $35,000 goal.