The death of a Bucks County hunter on the first day of deer season Monday was ruled a homicide yesterday.

The body of Barry Groh, 52, with a single gunshot wound, was found partially submerged in a creek in Richland Township, shortly before 1 p.m., officials said.

Although his death was ruled a homicide, authorities did not know whether foul play was involved or if the shooting was accidental, according to Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler.

Groh died after a morning of hunting. He had phoned his wife to get their son to help him carry home a deer he had killed, Heckler said.

By the time the son arrived, other hunters had found Groh's body and called police, Heckler said.

Groh was found with his shotgun and the deer next to him, Heckler said.

"My understanding was that the deer had not been gutted and he had dragged whatever distance from where he shot it, which was considerable, and it may have been that he was stopping to gut the deer," Heckler speculated.

Investigators were interviewing other hunters who were on the property about the time Groh was shot.