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Carthage teen jailed on manslaughter charge from Denmark hunting accident

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DEER RIVER — A Carthage teen has been jailed on a manslaughter charge following a fatal hunting accident Sunday evening on land off Station Road in the town of Denmark.

Lewis County sheriff’s deputies charged Travis I. Shampine, 19, Alexandria Street, with second-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony. He was arraigned in Lowville Village Court and sent to Lewis County jail, Lowville, with bail set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond, to await possible grand jury action.

Mr. Shampine was hunting with three other men about 6:30 p.m. when he saw what he thought was a deer and fired one round from a rifle, hitting Arnold Camidge, 55, Station Road, deputies said.

The hunters called 911, and the victim was taken by Carthage Area Rescue Squad to Carthage Area Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

State police, state environmental officers and West Carthage firefighters also assisted at the scene.

The charge was lodged because of Mr. Shampine’s reckless disregard and negligence in firing the shot, according to Lewis County Undersheriff John F. LaDuc.

“Be alert. Be aware,” he said. “If you don’t recognize it, don’t shoot it.”

When asked about possible alcohol use, the undersheriff said that was not an apparent factor in the shooting.

The incident occurred about one-quarter mile off the road on part of the Michael Hoppel farm, Mr. LaDuc said.

An autopsy on Mr. Camidge was conducted Monday afternoon by Dr. Samuel A. Livingstone, Lewis County’s coroner’s physician and Jefferson County’s medical examiner, at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown. The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the hip, according to Sgt. Richard A. Knight of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department.

Mr. Shampine was 118 yards from Mr. Camidge when he fired the shot, Sgt. Knight said.

It appears that Mr. Camidge and another hunter were attempting to drive deer through a wooded area, while Mr. Shampine and another man were lying in wait, he said.

However, the fatal shot did not occur until Mr. Camidge walked out into a field, Sgt. Knight said.

Other members of the hunting party were Mr. Shampine’s father, Stuart, 38, and Shawn Edick, 29, also from the Carthage area.

With sunset at 6:06 p.m. Sunday, it appears the incident happened at least 15 minutes after dark, Mr. LaDuc said.

However, the undersheriff said his office is investigating just the shooting, while officers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation will investigate any violations of environmental conservation law, such as hunting after dark.

No such tickets were issued Monday, but the investigation is continuing, according to Stephen W. Litwhiler, DEC spokesman in Watertown.

The regular deer season began early Saturday.

Sunday’s incident was the first hunting-related shooting in Lewis County in many years, said Mr. LaDuc, an avid hunter.

“Hunting is very safe, but it has to be done right,” Mr. Litwhiler said.

It is important for hunters to follow basic safety rules, including hunting during daylight hours and being sure of a target before firing, he said.

Wearing blaze orange hunting gear also is recommended, as it makes hunters more visible to each other without reducing hunting success, Mr. Litwhiler said.

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