Whitesburg KY

Boy dies in hunting mishap

Funeral services will be held Wednesday (today) for a 14-year-old boy who was killed in a deer hunting accident at Roxana.

Ryan Cantrell, of the Lawrence County community of Blaine, died Saturday from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the neck and head while hunting near the Fleenor strip mine site at Mill Branch, said Letcher County Deputy Coroner Wallace Bowling Jr.

Bowling said the accident occurred around 12:10 p.m. on December 15 when Cantrell slipped and fell in deep mud, causing his muzzleloading rifle to discharge when the butt of the gun hit the ground.

Cantrell had been hunting with his stepfather, James Anthony Hawkins, and two other men. Bowling said the hunting party had the property under lease and had hunted deer there last year. He said Cantrell was walk- ing a good distance in front of Hawkins when the mishap occurred. The other two men were hunting elsewhere on the property.

Bowling said that when he arrived at the scene the mud “was so deep it pulled my boots off. It was hard to keep your balance.”

Bowling said employees at the mine found Cantrell after they heard the rifle discharge. “They saw smoke rising and went to him,” he said.

“It was just one of those freak accidents,” Bowling added. “I’ve got a little boy myself and I can’t imagine what that family is going through – especially at Christmas.”

Officers with the Kentucky State Police and the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife were investigating the accident. An emergency medical services team operated by the Letcher Fire and Rescue Squad answered the E-911 dispatch.

Funeral services for Hawkins are scheduled to be held in the gymnasium of the Blaine Elementary School, where he was in the eighth grade. The Wilson Funeral Home in Louisa has charge of arrangements.

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