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Man killed in first deer hunt had long planned the trip to Maryland

Vincent Cavallo
Vincent Cavallo (HANDOUT)

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.

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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.

Cavallo's uncle could not be reached for comment.

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.

Cavallo's younger brother, Nicholas Cavallo, said his brother "was asking all the right questions. He was definitely excited about it."

He said his brother had medically retired from the Navy as a petty officer.

Joseph Cavallo said his son was serving aboard the carrier USS Carl Vinson in 2010 when it deployed to Haiti for relief efforts after a devastating earthquake.

Joseph Cavallo said his son helped unload water from the ship using helicopters.

"He said, 'Dad, I was busy every minute,'" his father said. "He was very proud."

Recently, he had been living at home in Altadena and planning to move to Oregon, where the cost of living is cheaper, his father said. He was interested in learning to race cars.

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He and his father loved watching football together, and cheered for the New England Patriots because they were Tom Brady fans. They went to Gillette Stadium in 2014 together for a father-son trip.

"It is so painful," Joseph Cavallo said. "I've cried so much the last day. I just miss him so much."

An Eastern Shore man was killed last year during hunting season.

Marvin Bowen Coppage, 75, of Henderson was shot to death during a pheasant and chukar hunt in Queen Anne's County.

Coppage, an employee of the hunting firm Schrader's Outdoors LLC, was flushing birds from the brush when three boys fired. They were part of a party that had hired Coppage.

Police said it was not clear which boy fired the fatal shot. The shooting was ruled accidental.

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