BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The death of a teenage boy who was shot and killed over the weekend while out hunting with a friend has left his family devastated and searching for answers, said his cousin, who is now warning others who hunt.
Bobby Lee Lane, 17, was mistaken for a deer and shot by his hunting partner on Saturday off Myers Hill Road, according to the Glynn County Police Department. Lane's cousin, Michael Rawling, told News4Jax that the hunting partner took Lane to a Friendly Express gas station, looking for help after the hunting accident, and Lane was then transported to a hospital, where he died.
"Of course, his parents are devastated and his grandparents are trying to make it through this really rough time. Over the past 10 years or so, it's been ... really, really rough," Rawling said. "I'm angry to an extent. I know everybody doesn't follow the rules, but that's when stuff like this can happen."
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Investigators said the teen was shot with a rifle, but, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, it's currently archery deer hunting season and the firearm season does not start until Oct. 19. Investigators are looking into why the hunting partner had a rifle. It's unclear what charges, if any, he will face, but he could face a charge of use of an illegal weapon since guns cannot be used to hunt deer in Georgia until next month.
"I want everybody to look at this situation and be very, very careful in the woods because accidents do happen," Rawling said. "You should wear your orange vest at all times when you're out, just for situations like this."
News4Jax was told that both Lane (pictured) and his friend were avid hunters and neither was wearing an orange vest, which is not required.
"He was outdoors. Every chance he got, he was outside, fishing. We had a little landscaping business ... (He) worked hard for everything he had," Rawling said. "He was a great person and (had) a heart of gold, would never hurt you, care about everybody."
The shooting is being investigated by the Department of National Resources, which said it could take weeks until it has more answers in the case.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said accidents can happen because hunters can be anxious to pull the trigger, not wanting to miss what they think is an animal. But Jefferson said it's always best to wait until a hunter can confirm what he or she is really looking at.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Lane's family to help pay for funeral expenses.