The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

November 25, 2009

Little trigger, big responsibility

Patience, common sense help battle hunting accidents

During the predawn hours of May 15, Shirley Grenoble hiked into the woods near Raystown Lake, in Huntingdon County, on a late spring turkey hunt. Despite the anticipation and thrill of the hunt, she forced herself to take each step quietly, carefully, so she didn't startle her quarry.

A few hours later, Grenoble was again forcing herself to take one step after another -- except this time it was for survival. Her face, neck, head, back, legs and arms were filled with small lead BBs. She blindly and unsuccessfully used one camouflage hunting glove to wipe her face, and especially her eyelids that had been pasted shut by streams of warm, sticky blood.

"I just kept walking, forcing myself to take one step after another, knowing that if I didn't, I'd probably faint," said Grenoble as she recalled with vivid detail her ordeal from 20 years ago.

She had been the victim of a hunting accident -- one that could have been avoided if two 40-year-old brothers had taken a few extra moments to properly identify their target.

"They heard turkey calls and decided to sneak towards the noise to see what was going on. That was mistake No. 1," Grenoble said. "Then they saw something moving, a flash of color, whatever. They put these clues together and it verified at that moment in their mind that they were looking at a gobbler."

Series of unfortunate events

Grenoble, a lifelong nature enthusiast, avid hunter and outdoor writer from Altoona, was no stranger to the concept of hunting accidents. Less than three weeks before her fateful hunt near Raystown Lake, Grenoble was hunting with her son, Mark, and his wife in Missouri.

"We were coming down out of the woods as quietly as we could and walked into an open green field. Someone shot, and Mark fell right at my feet," Grenoble said. "They (the landowner and a friend) heard turkey calls on top of the hill, heard something coming down towards them and couldn't see very well from a thick, brushy gully. They saw movement and wound up shooting my son in the face.

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