Several shooting accidents and a lost hunter kept Utah law enforcement agencies busy on the opening day of the deer hunt Saturday.
In Sevier County, a search was under way late Saturday afternoon for a hunter lost in the Salina area. A Sevier County dispatcher said a posse had also been dispatched to aid another hunter who had a broken leg.Shooting accidents
While no hunting-related fatalities had been reported, several shootings that left at least three hospitalized were reported.
- A Provo man was shot in the left thigh at 11:45 a.m. Saturday five miles west of Antimony, Garfield County. The victim, Paul S. Bowman, 26, was taken to Sevier County Hospital and treated, then transferred to Utah Valley Hospital for plastic surgery, according to Garfield County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Keene.
The person who fired the shot is described as having long blond hair and between the ages of 14 and 18. The person's sex was unknown.
Anyone with information about the shooting should contact the Garfield County Sheriff's office.
- A 19-year-old woman was in stable condition after surgery Saturday afternoon at Ashley Valley Medical Center in Vernal after she suffered a gunshot wound to her foot in a hunting-related accident, according to an emergency room nurse. No other details were available about the incident.
- Two men, 47 and 46, sustained minor injuries in a shooting accident in Manning Canyon west of Lehi, according to the Utah County sheriff's office.
About 1 p.m. a 13-year-old boy was shooting a .22 caliber rifle when a bullet ricocheted off a rock and into a camper. The bullet struck the 47-year-old man on in the back. Shattered glass also went into the eye of the 46-year-old man.
The two men, which authorities refused to identify by name, were transported to American Fork Hospital where they were treated and released, a Utah County sheriff's office dispatcher said.
- An Ogden man suffered a broken leg when he fell from a three-wheeler in Box Elder County. The man, whose name has not been released, was flown by Life Flight Helicopter to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. He is in stable condition.
- A car rollover on U-50 between Scipio, Millard County, and Salina, Sevier County, that involved deer hunters was also being investigated by the Utah Highway Patrol and Millard County sheriff's office. No one was injured in the rollover, said Millard County Deputy Sheriff Jim Masner.
Snow, mud and cold
The deer hunt opened Saturday after moderating temperatures seemed to make the annual quest for venison a little easier - although hunters in some areas were undoubtedly cold and having difficulty getting around after the storm.
At some higher elevations, hunters had to brave the cold and several inches of snow. Temperatures Saturday were in the upper 40s in the Salt Lake area, but dropped to the low 30s and upper 20s at higher elevations.
"The wind, the cold and the snow have made it very uncomfortable for a lot of hunters during the first weekend of the season," said Craig Schmidt, a meteorologist at the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service.
He said a warming trend is expected to send temperatures into the 60s and 70s by Tuesday in most areas of the state.
No storms are forecast at least through the middle of next week. Temperatures should reach only into the upper 30s and low 40s Sunday and a few degrees Monday in the mountains, Schmidt said.
But "it's real muddy up there (in the mountains)," said Don Willingham, a Wayne County sheriff's office spokesman.
"The hunting has been slow. The road conditions were good in the lower parts of the mountains, but up high the roads were extremely muddy," Willingham said.
In San Juan County, police reported no traffic accidents, but reported a couple of calls from landowners who were angry about hunters trespassing on their land.
"It's been extremely quiet. . . . We attribute this to the cold weather. Paved roads are fine, everything else is mud," said a San Juan County dispatcher.