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Cheney hunting for victory on Election Day

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(CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney will spend Election Day hunting in South Dakota, his press secretary said Sunday.

It will be Cheney's first hunting trip since February, when he accidentally shot a hunting companion while attempting to fire at a covey of quail on a private ranch in Texas.

Cheney, who voted early in Wyoming, will work Monday morning at the White House, and then depart Washington for South Dakota, said Lea Anne McBride, his press secretary.

Tuesday's trip, to a private hunting lodge near Pierre, is an annual outing, said McBride. She said he spent Election Day at the same lodge four years ago.

Cheney will be accompanied by his daughter, Mary, and his political director, Mel Raines, who will help him keep track of the election returns, McBride said.

Last February 11, Cheney shot his 28-gauge shotgun during a hunting trip in Texas, striking his friend Harry Whittington in the torso, neck and face.

Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas, who investigated the shooting, declined to file charges, calling the incident a "mere hunting accident."

Whittington, then 78, suffered a mild heart attack when bird shot migrated to his heart muscle. He was released after six days in the hospital.

Cheney came under criticism for his handling of the incident at the time. The owner of the ranch where Cheney was hunting was the first to notify the media, when she contacted the local newspaper the day after the shooting. The national media didn't learn of the accident until a story appeared on the paper's Web site.

Cheney did not comment publicly for four days. In an interview with Fox News, Cheney called the incident "one of the worst days of my life and said, "The image of him falling is something I'll never ever be able to get out of my mind."

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this story

Vice President Dick Cheney plans to go hunting on Election Day.



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