Menomonie man critically injured in Boyceville hunting accident

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE — A 52-year-old Menomonie man was shot in the abdomen during a deer drive between Boyceville and Wheeler on Thanksgiving Day.

Brian Kohnke, who was one of the standers on a deer drive, was shot in the stomach, according to Bill Yearman, a safety specialist warden with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

A total of 20 people went out on a deer drive at property north of state Highway 170 near county Highway F. The incident occurred around 10:30 or 10:40 a.m. on November 28, he said.

Five people were “standers” on the deer drive and 15 were doing the drive. A deer ran between the five standers, and several people in the hunting party shot at the deer. One of the shots hit Kohnke, Yearman said.

Kohnke was airlifted to Regions Hospital in Minnesota in critical condition. The last information that DNR officials received was on Friday, November 29, when Kohnke was still listed in critical condition, Yearman said.

The incident remains under investigation by the DNR, and Yearman said he did not have a name of the shooter to release.

“There is no reason to believe it was not one of the members of the hunting party. It was not a stray bullet,” Yearman said.

All members of the hunting party have been cooperative in the investigation, he noted.

This year there were eight accidents during gun deer season, which is one more than last year, Yearman said.

“We have no way of knowing how many near misses there are. It’s only a couple of inches difference between missing someone completely and someone being critically injured,” he said.

Out of the eight accidents reported for this year, five were self-inflicted, two occurred during deer drives, and one was a bullet that came through a window.

An elderly gentleman was sitting in his chair, and the bullet came through the window and through the chair and struck the man, Yearman said.

The elderly gentlemen fell to the floor but sustained only minor injuries, including a bruise on his back, he said.