Hunter Shot In Murray County

Shooter disappeared; victim drove himself 45 minutes to a hospital.

GON Staff | December 1, 2011

Perry Hudson hopes seeing what a misplaced shot will do might remind hunters of the very first safety rule: Identify your target. The bullet entered at the small mark on Perry’s chest and then exited the chest side of his underarm before tearing through his bicep.

Authorities still don’t know who on the morning of Oct. 22 pulled the trigger on a rifle and sent a bullet through the chest and into the bicep of a Chatsworth hunter. What is certain is William Perry Hudson, 41, is lucky to be alive.

According to the victim, who goes by Perry, at 8:45 a.m. he had barely left a friend’s cabin and was walking toward an area he wanted to hunt along Rock Creek on Chattahoochee National Forest land in Murray County.

“I was still moving down to where I was going to hunt down by that main creek,” Perry said. “Somebody else decided that main creek was going to a be a hot spot, too.”

Perry said his two hunting buddies, Kirk Wagnon and cabin owner Steve Phillips, had left before daylight.

“They had went on up to hunt up on top of the mountain,” Perry said. “I’m disabled, so I was just going to head in a little ways down the hollow, and I waited for the fog to lift, had another cup of coffee and a biscuit, enjoying the morning on the mountain. I wasn’t in any hurry because you never see deer up there before 9:30 anyway.”

Perry said as he walked toward his area, he stepped on a stick, and it made a cracking sound.

“I heard something kinda to my right and up the ridge, and I turned and looked up through there, and I seen a little ol’ squirrel and didn’t think nothing about it. The next thing I know, I catch one in my shoulder that knocked me sideways. If I’d been turned about two more inches, it’d have taken heart and lungs out. If I’d a been walking straight on down the hollow going toward that creek, it’d have blown my right lung out my back.

“I hollered, ‘Hey you idiot, I’m down here!’ Then I felt my hand get wet, and shirt and my pants get wet. I hollered, ‘Hey man! I’m hit! Can I get some help down here please?’

“[The shooter] never said a word. I knew right then if I was going to a doctor it was up to me to get there.”

Perry said he tore off his hunter orange and shirt, and he wrapped the shirt around his arm and twisted it tight. He made it back to the cabin, where he replaced the shirt with a towel around the wound.

“I could still see the cabin from where I was when I got shot. I was less than 100 yards from the cabin,” Perry said.

He drove about 22 miles and 45 to 50 minutes out of the mountains to Murray Medical Center in Chatsworth.

“I drove and bled long enough that everything had like a foggy halo around the outer edge of it by the time I got there,” he said.

Perry was then flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn., and he’s now recovering at home.

“I’ve hunted all my life, and I ain’t going to let this stop me,” he said.

Meanwhile, DNR conservation rangers are looking for information about anyone who might have been in the area at the time. Call 1-800-241-4113.

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