MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - An Illinois man is dead, after deer hunting with a group friends.
According to Jones County Sheriff's office, the fatal shooting happened Saturday, around 12:30 p.m., on Union Hill Church Road in Jones County, near the Jones and Putnam County line.
Francisco Hernandez, 47, was shot in the head, according to Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division Capt. Bob Lynn.
Lynn said as of Monday they are not sure of how Hernandez was shot.
"Our part of the investigation is to make sure that the shot that was fired was the one that struck the hunter or if the hunter accidentally discharged his own firearm striking himself," said Lynn.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Jones County Sheriff's Office are working to establish the exact location of the hunters.
"We'll be looking at it from the aspect of an accidental shooting incident or self inflicted, shooting incident, a hunting scenario incident," added Lynn. "That's our specialty and that's what we'll investigate."
DNR investigators collected evidence on Saturday and Sunday, such as shell casings, bullets lodged in trees, and DNA evidence all of which is scheduled to be turned over to the GBI crime lab.
"We'll let the evidence show what happened," said Lynn.
Lynn says there were 43 hunting incidents last year in Georgia, five of which were fatalities. However, out of those five deaths only two were shooter victim fatalities. Three people were killed when they fell out of tree stands.
He encourages hunters to wear the flurescent orange hunter's vest and to use a harness if they use a tree stand.
"Once you have this on, you climb on your ladder stand or fixed stand, clip it to a tree," said A Hunting Manager at Bass Pro, Jay Gros as he described a harness. "Therefore, if you fall asleep or take the wrong step off your platform when you do fall it will catch you."
Gros said there are four main safety tips hunters should always adhere to.
Treat your gun as though it is always loaded. Point the muzzle of the gun in a safe direction. Make sure your finger is off the trigger at all times until you are ready to fire.
"And, number four is when you are aiming your firearm make sure you identify your target and also what's behind that target to make sure it's a safe shot," said Gros.