2 deer hunters die in apparent gun accidents on opening weekend

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Two Minnesota deer hunters died of gunshot wounds in separate accidents over the weekend in the opening days of the state's gun deer season.

A 69-year-old man was found dead from a gunshot wound in Carlton County Sunday morning, according to the Northland News Center. The hunter was pronounced dead at a deer stand northwest of Moose Lake, near the Kettle River, the Carlton County Sheriff's Office said.

Sheriff's officials added that foul play is not suspected in the man's death, although they're still investigating the circumstances, according to the News Center. The man's name has not yet been released.

The second man died on opening day, Saturday, in Mahnomen County in northwestern Minnesota. Authorities say Paul Scholl, 50, of Laporte, was shot while coming out of his hunting area about 16 miles southeast of Mahnomen, the Associated Press reports. The shooting was reported about 5:30 p.m.

According to the Mahnomen County sheriff, Scholl's two brothers-in-law picked him up and met two ambulances that had responded to the scene. Scholl was pronounced dead at Mahnomen Health Center.

No other details of the incident have been released, and it remains under investigation.

The number of hunters killed by gunfire in Minnesota each year is typically very low. In 2013, one hunter died from a gun accident, and 17 others were injured, during all of the state's firearms hunting seasons, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The fatality occurred last October during duck hunting season, when two hunters stood up in a motorized boat to shoot at a duck. One hunter lost his balance and fell. His gun discharged, striking the victim in the head.

Most hunters who get hurt don't suffer gunshot wounds; instead, they fall out of tree stands. The DNR says one of every three hunters who use a tree stand will fall out of it and be seriously injured. Doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester prepare every year to respond to such accidents, KAAL TV reports.

The Mayo's Dr. Donald Jenkins tells the station that the clinic treats at least three or four hunters every year who fall.

“Most of them have fractures of their arm or leg, many of them have spine fractures," said Jenkins. "One per year will have a spinal cord injury and that is a permanent issue for them."

Mayo nurse Meghan Lamp said the injuries can be severe in part because the tree stands are located up to 20 feet off the ground.

The DNR has a list of safety tips for preventing injuries when using tree stands.

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