Preparing for his first hunting trip, Vincent Cavallo read about safety procedures and practiced at the firing range.
But despite his precautions, the 32-year-old California man died Saturday while hunting with an uncle in Western Maryland. Police said his rifle accidentally discharged when he either slipped or dropped his gun.
The men were hunting deer on private property on Eylers Valley Flint Road near Thurmont, police said. It was the first day of Maryland's two-week deer hunting season.
"He looked forward to this for quite a long time," said his father, Joseph Cavallo. He said his son, a Navy veteran, adored his uncle, an experienced hunter, and had been planning the trip for a while.
The men had become separated when Vincent Cavallo's rifle discharged, police said. His uncle heard a shot just before 9:30 a.m., police said, and then found Cavallo's body.
It was one of two accidental shootings on opening weekend. In a separate incident Saturday, a 44-year-old Delaware man shot himself in the leg in Cecil County, police said.
Scott Carroll had shot a deer on private property on Wards Hill Road in Warwick near the Delaware line, police said, and was trying to retrieve the animal in a swampy area when he lost his footing. His rifle discharged.
Carroll was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, police said. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
Joseph Cavallo said his son had read hunting safety procedures, went to the firing range and asked his uncle lots of questions before they left Saturday morning. He said he does not blame his brother-in-law.