What was supposed to be a afternoon outing for a Dawson County youth and his grandfather turned tragic Oct. 9 when the boy’s deer rifle discharged, fatally wounding him.
Funeral services were Monday for 11-year-old John Wayne Corcoran, son of Kevin and Bobbi Jo Corcoran of Dawsonville.
The Black’s Mill Elementary fifth-grader died about 10 p.m. Oct. 9 at Children’s Healthcare Scottish Rite in Atlanta from what authorities said was a single gunshot to the head.
Corcoran was on an adult/youth hunt, sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources, with grandfather Bernie Corcoran when the accident occurred about 6 p.m. in Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.
The season for hunting deer with firearms doesn’t officially begin until Saturday. DNR spokesman Rick Lavender said the Department of Natural Resources held the two-day, big game hunt “to give youth a better chance in hunting.”
Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Johnny Holtzclaw said the hunt had not been under way long when the incident occurred about 3 miles north of Dawson Forest Road.
Bernie Corcoran was within sight of the boy when the rifle discharged, Lavender said. He was not injured.
Sheriff Billy Carlisle said the initial report indicated the child, who hunted frequently with his family, had fallen asleep holding the gun.
“DNR is still investigating, but it’s believed to be an accident,” Carlisle said.
Georgia reported 43 hunting incidents, including 17 involving firearms, for the 2008-09 hunting season.
According to his obituary, John Wayne Corcoran loved hunting and fishing and was active in park and recreation football and baseball.
He was also a member of the USA Wrestling team and the Ruffin Reading Club at his school.
Other immediate survivors include siblings Anthony, Victoria and Carrissa Corcoran, all of Dawsonville, and grandparents, Wayne and Vickie Smith of Duluth and Judy Corcoran of Norcross.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the John Wayne Corcoran Memorial Fund at United Community Bank.