On Wednesday, William Rancourt, 36, was shot in the back with bird-shot pellets after a hunting dog stepped on a shotgun that was lying on the ground and happened to pull the trigger. The firearm was approximately 22 yards away from Rancourt when it went off. He was ultimately taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
The incident took place in Wright County, Iowa. Rancourt, a Lebanon, New Hampshire resident, was out with a small party that consisted of two Iowans, another man from New Hampshire, and two dogs. The group had been hunting pheasant on Wednesday afternoon when, around 1:20 pm, one of the hunters placed his loaded 12-gauge shotgun on the ground.
When one of the dogs ran across the shotgun and stepped on the trigger, it fired, shooting Rancourt in the back with bird-shot pellets.
According to a Fox News report, Rancourt’s injuries were considered “fairly moderate,” but not life-threatening. At the time of his arrival, Rancourt was alert and able to walk. The pellets were removed, and x-rays were taken to confirm they were all successfully located.
“Shotguns are extremely dangerous at close range,” said Ken Lonneman, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources conversation officer. “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.”
Lonneman hopes the incident reminds hunters to practice proper gun safety, including unloading their firearms before placing them on the ground, setting them down, or otherwise leaving them unattended, particularly since deer season is opening in the state on Saturday.
“I would like to remind all hunters that, no matter what season it is, but especially during a busy season like the one we are going into, to please be sure to identify your target as well as what’s beyond your target before firing,” said Lonneman.