Police lights

A man was found dead after a hunting accident on Thursday evening in the Chesterfield community.

Garry Lee Austin, 67, of the 3000 block of Pax Hill Road in Morganton, was found dead after he fell from a hunting stand in a tree, said Burke County Fire Marshal Mike Willis.

Police were contacted around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday after Austin was reported as an “overdue hunter,” Willis said.

Austin told family members that he would be back by 4 p.m., Willis said.

“He was an avid hunter, so it was not unusual for him to be out hunting,” he said.

A friend of the family found Austin prior to authorities arriving. Police were going to start a search if he had not been found, Willis said.

He was found approximately a half a mile to a mile from his house, he said.

Willis said no foul play is suspected.

“He either lost his footing going up or coming down somehow from around the stand,” Willis said. “They said it was a very high fall.”

Agencies that responded to the scene were Chesterfield Fire and Rescue, Burke County Rescue Squad, Burke County EMS, Burke County Sheriff’s Office and the Burke County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at jbobak@morganton.com or 828-432-8907.

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