Fremont man mistakenly shoots, kills hunting partner in Tehama County

By Julie Zeeb
Red Bluff Daily News
Posted: 03/30/2010 02:40:33 PM PDT

PAYNES CREEK — A Fremont man accidentally shot and killed one of his hunting partners after mistaking him for a turkey, according to the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department.

Killed was Larry Gene Pendley of Vacaville. Pendley was hunting Saturday, the opening day of turkey season, in the Paynes Creek area near Little Giant Mill Road off Highway 36, when he was accidentally shot by fellow hunter 50-year-old Stephen Henderson of Fremont, according to the Tehama County Sheriff’s Department.

Of the group, four of them had hunted together for 30 years, with Pendley being the relative newcomer. He had been hunting with the men for 10 years, said Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker.

Everyone was in camouflage as the group started out together before breaking up to stalk the birds, Parker said.

“The victim got down on his hands and knees and was crawling through brush,” Parker said. “His friend was about 30 yards away and saw movement. He thought it was a tom and hit the victim.” Parker said Pendley, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy, which should be completed within a few days, he said. The case is still under investigation, but apparently the victim had a long beard and that might have led to the confusion.

While turkey hunting accidents in Tehama County are uncommon, turkey hunts are more dangerous because hunters usually wear camouflage rather than bright orange, as deer and upland game hunters do, Parker said.

He said the incident is a lesson to hunters.

“The biggest one is never shoot until you’re sure of your target,” Parker said.

Matt Artz

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