Arizona hunter shot and killed

Life-altering mistake for young hunter

By Toni Todd

An Arizona hunter was shot and killed in Saguache County last week while hunting in the Old Agency area. Saguache County sheriff Dan Warwick reported that David Barter, 42, from the Phoenix area, was shot by another member of his hunting party, a juvenile.

“A 17-year-old female was shooting at some elk from about 150 yards out,” said Warwick. “While she was shooting, a member of the party 400 yards out was hit in the shoulder.” The bullet, he said, entered the side of the man’s shoulder and made its way through the man’s lung. The bullet was recovered from within the man’s body.

“It really comes down to basic shooting rules,” added Warwick. “Target, and beyond, with emphasis on beyond. If there could be something or someone out beyond the area where you’re aiming who could get hurt, don’t take that shot.”

Warwick said Barter was married with children. “This tragic accident affects the victim’s family and friends, and will have great impact on the suspect, her family and friends for many years to come,” he said.

The incident is still under investigation, with charges pending. Warwick said the young hunter could face charges of careless hunting, shooting from across a public road, criminally negligent homicide, and possibly prohibited use of a weapon. “I would anticipate she would be prosecuted as a juvenile,” said Warwick, “but that decision is really up to the district attorney and the courts.”

Gunnison County sheriff’s deputies and Gunnison medical personnel were called to help. They met Saguache County personnel at the 15-mile-marker on Highway 114. Colorado Parks and Wildlife also responded to the call. Medical assistance was rendered by officers and by Gunnison medics, but they could not save Barter.

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