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An incident near Madison, W.Va., Boone County, demonstrates how important it is for hunters to follow one of the most basic rules of hunting: clearly identify your target before shooting.

This is followed closely knowing what is behind your target before firing.

But according to the West Virginia Natural Resources Division, Sgt. Larry Harvey, a hunter claims he failed to do this. The hunter, who is not named in an Associated Press report, is accused of negligently shooting and failing to provide assistance after killing a man he claimed to have mistaken for a bear .

The hunter said he saw what he thought was a bear in the distance last week and shot, but saw nothing fall and found nothing after a search, so he left, according to Harvey.

David Green, 30, wore a black shirt while digging in the area for roots. Crews found her body with a gunshot wound after her family reported her missing, Harvey said. Once the news was known, the hunter contacted the authorities.

There are many lessons in this tragedy. Again, the first one being to ALWAYS follow the basic rules of hunting safety. Another is that anyone who plans to work or enjoy the woods during the hunting season might want to think twice, or at the very least wear brightly colored clothing – preferably hunter orange – while doing so. The same goes for any pets that might be in the woods with you. Make sure they also wear vests, bandanas, or coats that are clearly visible.

Depending on where you live, the weapon of choice, and the animal you plan to hunt, there is still a good portion of the West Virginia hunting season left. Hikers, pickers, and anyone just looking to spend some time in the woods will need to keep this in mind. And hunters must use the tragedy of the past week to remember to follow ALL rules designed to keep themselves and everyone else safe.

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