TABERG, NY — A man on his annual fall hunting trip discovered he had killed his l8-year old son with a shotgun blast when he mistook him for a deer. The man then killed himself with the same gun.

Neighbors in this tightknit village of about 500 people in central New York said it was the first time Gene Bulak, 41, had taken his son, Michael on the annual hunting trip. Neither father nor son was wearing bright colored safety clothing.

Neither the father nor the son was wearing bright colored safety clothing during the hunt, which was conducted in fog, rain and wet snow, investigators said. Wearing bright clothing while hunting is not required by law in New York, but it is recommended.

The elder Bulak shot his son in the head Sunday with a 12-gauge shotgun after the pair and three other hunters took different paths through the woods, state police said. The five were encircling a deer they had spotted while hunting on private land 50 miles southeast of Taberg in Exeter near Cooperstown, police said.

Two of the hunters ran for help, police said. Bulak sent the third to help the others shortly after, police said.

Then Bulak turned the gun on himself, police said.

Gene Bulak, a volunteer fireman, was a truck driver in Williamstown N.Y. Michael graduated from Camden High School last year and attended Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica.

The high school wrestling coach, Wayne Edkin, described Michael Bulak as a hard-working student with a good sense of humor.

"He was a boy who was not particularly outstanding as a student or a wrestler — and I say that as a credit to him," Edkin said. "The fact that he had stuck with it all the way through his high school career is as important as any point I can make."