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'ELMER FUDDED' - Man 'goosed' by his dog and other crazy hunting stories

  • Published
  • By Tim Barela
  • Torch Magazine
A 3-year-old Labrador retriever shot his 23-year-old owner in the butt with a 12-gauge shotgun during a goose-hunting trip. Of course you can't blame the dog for "goosing" his
best friend with buckshot. The man had set his rifle down and left it unattended when the excited canine accidentally jumped on the safety release and trigger simultaneously. Dogs are all thumbs -- er, paws -- when it comes to handling dangerous weapons.

Yes, it's that time of year again. ... Hunting season.

Can sportsmen and women make it one season without some wayward hunter taking on the role of the prey? Without becoming the Elmer Fudd to their quarry's Bugs Bunny?

Survey says ... not a chance. Vegas would probably lay million to one odds against it, and "the house" would still make enough money to fill a bank vault.

The scary reality is the account above might be one of the wildest "strange but true" stories told, but it certainly won't be the last. Nearly 1,000 people are accidentally shot in hunting misadventures each year in the United States and Canada, according to the International Hunter Education Association.

Bullets, arrows, buckshot, oh my!

Investigations show all this errant ammunition finding its way into flesh and bone overwhelmingly points in one direction: human error.

Some of us are making Elmer's antics seem tame by comparison.

Take, for instance, the 57-year-old man who, while in a tree stand, lost his grip on his rifle. It tumbled from his perch and discharged, shooting him in the toe, leg, abdomen and testicle. ... Ouch!

Then there's the 32-year-old bow hunter who fell 15 feet out of a tree stand and impaled himself on five broad-head arrows in his bow quiver. Seven surgeries later, he will never be the same.

Even Capitol Hill can't escape the annual hunting shenanigans. Who can forget the 2006 incident when then Vice President Dick Chaney accidentally peppered a campaign contributor with birdshot to the face and chest during a quail hunt in Texas? Probably not the best way to collect funds, but it has worked in hold-ups.

And in Colorado, a man hunting coyotes at night was using an optical device known as an illuminator, which highlights animals' eyes in darkness. His 28-year-old friend became separated from the group. When the hunter saw his buddy's eyes through the illuminator, he mistook them for those of a coyote and shot his friend in the head.

But that's not the only case of mistaken identity.

How about the son-in-law who plugged his father-in-law after mistaking him for a duck, or the husband who wounded his wife while targeting a rabbit? ... Allegedly.

Which was worse? ... Well, it's all "relative."

Speaking of relatives, earlier this year a 57-year-old man shot his cousin, who had been his hunting partner for the past 40 years. He had mistaken him for a turkey. You have to wonder which hurt the victim worse ... the shotgun blast or the fact that his cousin whom he has known his whole life thinks he looks like a gangly gobbler?

Certainly our Airmen, who are trained to handle weapons in combat environments, couldn't possibly succumb to such hunting blunders.

In the past decade or so while hunting, blue suiters have shot each other in the arm, leg and head, to name a few unfortunate body parts. A handful have even managed to shoot themselves ... all in the feet and toes. "This little piggy went wee, wee, wee ... all the way to the hospital."

Several more nearly cut off their fingers and thumbs with hunting knives while dressing their kills. And two Airmen fractured a nose and a collarbone after letting a rifle's recoil get the best of them.

So this hunting season, "be vewy vewy quiet" while stalking "wascally wabbits" and other prey, but not while discussing the risks associated with hunting.

In other words, don't get "Elmer Fudded."