Two hunters both stood up at the same time in their flat-bottom boat in northern Minnesota, with one losing his balance and fatally shooting his partner over the weekend as they each took aim at the same target, authorities said Monday.
Adam E. Poole, 23, of Nevis, Minn., died late Saturday afternoon on a river connecting 3rd and 4th Crow Wing Lakes, about 15 miles east of Park Rapids, according to the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office.
“They both stood up in the boat in an effort to shoot at a duck,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Office read. “The hunting partner lost his balance, and the shotgun he was carrying discharged. Poole was struck in the head and died from his injuries.”
Authorities say they are treating Poole’s death strictly as an accident. The Sheriff’s Office has not released the name of the hunting partner who joined Poole on the outing in the 14-foot aluminum boat.
While "there is nothing in Minnesota law that would prohibit standing up in a boat," said Sheriff Cory Aukes, "flat-bottom boats are not as stable as some others, and therefore being careful while standing is very important."
The sheriff added that the two made the situation trickier because they were both standing up at the same time.
This makes "stability even more difficult as each person is fighting, in a way, the other's movements," Aukes said.
Mike Hammer, education program coordinator with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said, “Anytime you are on the water, it’s going to be unstable. The main thing is to keep in mind is zones of fire because you are in a confined space.”
The reality is, Hammer added, that most waterfowl hunters in boats “are standing, depending on the height of the vegetation. It doesn’t take much to lose your balance by somebody shifting their weight.”
Hammer recommends to hunters in the same watercraft to take aim “back to back” and be “seated and have your feet firmly planted on the bottom of the boat.”
Poole was married a month ago, according to his Facebook page, which includes a photo of himself and his wedding party wearing hunting camouflage tuxedo vests.