Hunter bags his bird, but dog gets his hunter

DES MOINES, Iowa — A hunter is recovering after he was shot in the leg at close range by his dog, who stepped on his shotgun and tripped the trigger, an official said Tuesday.

James Harris, 37, of Tama, was hit in the calf Saturday, the opening day of pheasant season, said Alan Foster, a spokesman with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“He had surgery and is doing pretty well,” he said. “He took between 100 and 120 pellets in about a 4-inch circle to his calf.”

Harris was listed in good condition Tuesday, officials at University Hospitals in Iowa City said.

Harris was hunting with a group about three miles north of Grinnell. The group shot a bird, and when Harris went to get it, he put his gun on the ground and crossed a fence. As he crossed the fence, his hunting dog stepped on the gun, Foster said.

The gun was about 3 feet away from his leg.

“The muzzle velocity is so great that the pellets don’t have a chance to spread out,” he said.

No one else was hurt, and the dog was not injured.

Foster said no citations have been issued.

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