According to reports, it happened near a home on Soup Haire Road just outside Elizabethtown around 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Detectives said the 8 year old was playing outside with two 12 year olds when the parents left to go to Elizabethtown. After the parents left, the boys reportedly decided to go squirrel hunting with a .22 caliber rifle they got from a building at the home.
As they were hunting, one of the older boys dropped the gun and it went off - hitting the 8 year old in the side.
The child was flown to Chapel Hill for treatment, but he later died.
The Bladen County Sheriff's Office, the Bladen County Department of Social Services, and North Carolina Wildlife officers are investigating.