South Alabama Woman Shot to Death During Illegal Deer Hunt

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The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reported that 31-year-old Shannon Heath Bell of Flomaton has been charged with illegal deer hunting that led to the death of another person.

The ADCNR said that at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, Bell and Donna Loraine Martin, 35, of Flomaton were illegally deer hunting from a compact pickup truck on County Road 40 near Pollard Landing in Escambia County.

According to a preliminary hunting accident report, Bell was pulling a rifle out of the vehicle, stock first, when it discharged, hitting Martin in the stomach.

Martin was taken to Brewton Hospital where she later died in surgery.

Bell has been arrested and charged with hunting from a public road, hunting at night, hunting from a motor vehicle and hunting without a permit.

In the report, ADCNR Conservation Enforcement Officer David Smith said that most firearms-related hunting accidents are self-inflicted or involve members of their own hunting party.
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"Any hunting accident is a tragedy," said Smith. "But when the parties know each other, it can be particularly difficult for both families."

The report stated that this incident was Alabama's first fatal firearms hunting accident this season. Smith went on to say that hunting accidents like this one can be prevented.

"Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities you can participate in--if it's done in compliance with the law and following all safety rules," said Smith.

The incident currently remains under investigation by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

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