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Georgia Conservation Ranger Shot by Hunter

November 27, 2008

Savannah, GA - A Conservation Corporal with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division was shot while on active patrol in Chatham County. In what appears to be a case of mistaking a person for game, a deer hunter shot Cpl. Curtis Wright of Savannah. The incident currently is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and DNR and no charges have been filed at this time.

“I am pleased to report that Cpl. Wright is in stable condition and that it appears he will recover fully from this serious injury,” says Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Terry West.

Cpl. Wright was on active patrol near Hwy. 21 and Port Wentworth investigating a waterfowl complaint at approximately 5:45 p.m. The area, a railroad right-of-way, is private property. He was shot in the abdomen by a bullet from a 7 mm magnum firearm. The bullet exited out of his back. Wright was able to maintain a level of calm and managed to call 911 and render some of his own first aid. The hunter came to Wright’s assistance and helped get him out of the woods to emergency personnel. Wright was taken to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah where he was surgically treated and declared in stable condition. The bullet did not damage any vital organs. He is scheduled for surgery today to further clean the wound and make sure there is no further tissue damage.

The hunter has cooperated fully with his detainment and questioning by DNR and GBI personnel. The Critical Incident Response Team and GBI are reconstructing the incident and plan on questioning Cpl. Wright later today.

Cpl. Wright, 56 years old, has worked for the Division for more than 26 years, most of that time in Chatham County. The last incident in which a conservation ranger was injured by shooting was in March of 2001 when Cpl. Leon Tucker was injured on the opening day of turkey hunting season.

“I believe the message that this incident can send to hunters is to always positively identify your target – you cannot take back that bullet once it is fired,” says West. “So far this year, there has been one other incident where a person was shot when they were mistaken for game. While neither of these incidents have been fatal, they were preventable.”

 
 
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