Washakie County: California Man Shot, Dies in Hunting Accident

Washakie County: California Man Shot, Dies in Hunting Accident

Written by on October 13, 2021

First responders in Washakie County deal with a tragic situation after an accidental shooting during a hunting excursion leads to a California man’s death.

The Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and Worland Police Department shared an update on a tragic incident near Ten Sleep. Washakie County Sheriff Steven Rakness published information on the incident on the department’s Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, an emergency call into the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office. An incident had occurred near the Smilo/Sand Draw Road (B.L.M. Road 1416) east of Ten Sleep.

63-year-old Ron Blank of California was elk hunting with his son, 40-year-old Dan Blank of Texas. While the pair were traveling back to their pickup – parked on the top of a ridge – they encountered a rock face and attempted to climb over it. Ron Blank started handing rifles up to his son so he could climb up the rock face.

While being lifted over the rocks, one of their hunting rifles discharged and hit Ron Blank in the upper right chest area, severely wounding him.

Dan Blank immediately administered first aid and called Washakie County for E.M.S. assistance. The Washakie County Sheriff’s Office, Ten Sleep E.M.S., and Worland E.M.S. responded to the call, and a Guardian Life Flight helicopter launched and headed for the area.

Once the responding agencies arrived at the scene, they realized ambulances could not drive up the road. Private vehicles and Washakie County Sheriff’s units transported E.M.S. to the Cabin Spring area, where they had to proceed on foot to reach the Blanks.

Dan Blank stayed on the phone, giving directions and guiding first responders to his position by firing pistol rounds into the air. That information eventually helped the responding units find the area where Ron Blank had been shot.

Once E.M.S. reached Ron Blank, they conducted triage and stabilized him for helicopter transport to a hospital. Soon after, Guardian Life Flight landed nearby, and pilots went to the scene on foot. Blank was carried up to the Life Flight landing zone and flown to Washakie Medical Center in Worland.

Unfortunately, it was all too late – Ron Blank passed away at Washakie Medical Center due to massive internal trauma and extreme blood loss.

The case is still under investigation by the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and the Washakie County Coroner’s Office. Meanwhile, Blank’s family has been notified, and arrangements made to transport him back to California.

According to the International Hunter Education Association, approximately 1,000 people in the U.S. and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters every year. Just under one hundred of those accidents result in death.

Washakie County Sheriff's Office and Worland Police Department

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