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State police who called off a search for a possibly injured hunter Sunday said they believe that the initial report was a hoax.

Troopers said the search began Saturday afternoon, when two men leaving a Wellsville grocery store heard what appeared to be a distress call on their walkie-talkies. They told emergency responders that the call came from a hunter in the Meservey Hill Road area, southwest of Wellsville, who said he had shot himself in the leg and was bleeding badly.

Wellsville ambulance and rescue volunteers and firefighters mounted a search with state troopers and state Department of Environmental Conservation officers and forest rangers.

Woods, fields and hedgerows were searched between the Town of Wellsville and Wellsville Municipal Airport. A Mercy Flight air ambulance flew over the area Saturday.

The search was resumed at sunrise Sunday but was called off Sunday afternoon.

State Police said they think that the men who alerted authorities were acting in good faith.

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