A hunting dog shot a man in central Iowa after his hunting partner left a loaded gun on the ground.
The dog stepped on the trigger and shot the man in the back from 22 yards away, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The incident took place on Nov. 29 around 1:20 p.m., when a party of four men was out hunting pheasants.
The victim, 36-year-old William Rancourt of Lebanon, New Hampshire, was with another hunter from New Hampshire, along with two Iowa men and two dogs. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. Ken Lonneman, a DNR conservation officer, told the Des Moines Register Rancourt’s injuries were “fairly moderate.”
“Shotguns are extremely dangerous at close range,” Lonneman told the Des Moines Register. “In this case, there was a good distance between the muzzle and the wound, but if the victim had been closer, his injuries would have been more severe.”
Rancourt was alert and able to walk when an ambulance arrived. After being transported to a hospital, X-rays were taken to make sure no shotgun pellets remained in his body, according to Lonneman, via the Register interview.
Rancourt was shot with birdshot, as opposed to the more powerful buckshot or slugs, according to the DNR release. This less powerful and more dispersed type of ammunition, along with the 22-foot distance, likely contributed to Rancourt coming away still conscious and alert.
Lonneman said to the Register that the incident is a good warning about checking to make sure the safety is active on any gun set down. This will ensure that the gun cannot be fired.
Birdshot is a kind of ammunition designed to hit birds in flight, and can be used for other kinds of small animals, according to the Rem870 website. As the distance to the target increases, the shot pattern of the tiny pellets becomes more dispersed and therefore less powerful. It is the least powerful type of shotgun ammunition.
This is probably why after former Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man using birdshot on a hunting trip in 2006, the man also survived. Even though pellets still remain lodged in his body, Harry Whittington told the Daily News last year that he is still in good health.
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