- Cullman, Alabama

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January 27, 2014

Crane Hill man shot, killed in hunting accident

CRANE HILL — A Cullman County man was shot and killed Sunday during a hunting trip with friends and family near Smith Lake in the Crane Hill area.

Tommy “T.J.” Tucker, 37, of the Crane Hill community was pronounced dead at approximately 3:05 p.m. after being fatally shot when another hunter mistook him for a deer, near County Road 202 across from the Smith Lake RV Resort.

Cullman County Sheriff’s deputies, paramedics and the Crane Hill Volunteer Fire Department responded to the incident, and were transported by boat to the scene, which was in a heavily wooded area. Authorities are currently treating the case as an accidental shooting.

“The victim was out with friends and relatives deer hunting together, and a member of the group saw a deer and shot at it,” Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Max Bartlett said “The deer was killed, but they realized shortly after that Mr. Tucker had been shot, as well. It appears the deer may have been shot, and the shooter heard rustling in the area and fired another shot. We believe the victim was hit at that time.”

Bartlett said paramedics attempted CPR, though Tucker was reportedly dead upon their arrival. Tucker was shot with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with projectile buckshot. Both men were reportedly wearing hunter orange at the time of the shooting.

“This is just a tragic accident, and the young man who did the shooting, who was related to Tucker by marriage, was devastated,” Bartlett said. “It’s just a sad situation. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Tucker family. We send them our deepest condolences.”

Authorities have not released the name of the shooter at this time.

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.

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