A Panama City firefighter killed his best friend Saturday morning in
what Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Stan Kirkland called a “terrible tragedy” and accident.
Three men were using dogs to hunt for deer on a hunting lease in
Calhoun County off State 20. A deer being chased by the dogs ran in front of Matthew Riley, 31, who fired twice with a .308-caliber rifle. He missed the deer, but one of the bullets traveled 798 feet down J&S Lane, hitting Matthew Curenton, 35, of Lynn Haven, in the chest.
Curenton died at the scene.
Both men were wearing orange safety hats used to alert hunters.
However, it was impossible for the two men to see each other at that distance, Kirkland said
“They could not see each other and did not know each other’s location,” Kirkland added.
Investigators will sit down with the State Attorney’s Office and
discuss the facts of the case, but Kirkland said he does not anticipate any charges.
This is the fourth hunting accident in Northwest Florida since the
season began in October and the first hunting fatality in Florida, Kirkland said.