A deer hunter accidentally shot a Cartersville teenager camping along a popular section of the Appalachian Trail early Sunday.
Rachel Ferguson, who turned 16 in October, was flown from Union County near North Carolina to St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta, said Sgt. Johnny Johnson with the state Department of Natural Resources.
Rachel was with a group of about 15, including adults and other teens, who had hiked in along the Appalachian Trail and camped Saturday night, Johnson said.
The area near Neel's Gap, in the Chattahoochee National Forest, may be the most popular along the trail in Georgia, according to some hiking guides, because of spectacular views.
Johnson said the hunter was about 220 feet from what he believed to be a deer and fired a shot from a .243-caliber rifle. The shot hit the girl.
A DNR Web site says the state averages eight accidental fatal shootings by hunters each year, but all the victims since 1979 have been self-inflicted or other hunters.