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Deer hunter shot and killed on opening day

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A deer hunter has been killed in northern Michigan. Justin Beutel of Sanford was shot Thursday afternoon. He was killed while hunting near Torch Lake in Antrim County.

According to the preliminary investigation, a hunter from Gaylord saw movement, thought it was a deer and fired, killing Beutel.

"Officers responded and EMS responded," says Lieutenant Jim Gorno, a conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. "They did attempt some first aid or some recovery at that point just to make sure, and it didn’t work." 

Gorno says the DNR suspects it was an accident, but they can’t rule out foul play yet.
 
The 38-year-old Beutel was hunting on private property when the accident happened. He and the Gaylord man did not know each other.
 
Gorno says hunting fatalities are unusual.

"Our hunting accidents are way down from what they used to be 20, 30 40 years ago," he says, "and we attribute that to [hunter] education."

Last year, there was one hunting death in Michigan.

Gorno says the DNR, Michigan State Police and Antrim County Sheriff are still investigating the incident.  He say it could take days or weeks to conclusively determine what happened.