HAMPTON — A Johnson County hunter died from an apparent hunting accident off Little Stony Road on Wednesday afternoon.
Sheriff Chris Mathes said Ricky E. Arnold, 45, Mountain City, died at Johnson City Medical Center around 5:30 p.m. from a gunshot wound to the head.
Mathes said Arnold was found by passersby on Little Stony around 12:30 p.m. who notified authorities. Arnold was alive at the time of the discovery and Mathes said the shooting must have happened shortly before. The shooting victim was airlifted to the medical center.
“It appears to be a hunting-related accident, but we are still investigating,” Mathes said. “An autopsy has been ordered.”
Mathes said it appeared Arnold was preparing to go hunting. He was found near his vehicle with a .22-caliber rifle and a crossbow. He said there was a part missing from the trigger guard on the rifle. He said the shot came from an upward vertical angle rather than horizontal, making it appear that he was placing the rifle down when it accidentally discharged.
Mathes said Arnold had a hunting license.
Investigators talked with Arnold’s mother, who said he would be gone for a while, but she was expecting him back in a short time.
Investigators found no witnesses to the incident, but Mathes said anyone who has any information about the incident should call the sheriff’s department at 542-1845.
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officers also responded to the scene and assisted in the investigation.