Dog shoots hunter after another hunter leaves shotgun on ground

A dog stepped on a 12-guage shotgun and shot a hunter in the back with bird-shot pellets in Wright County, Iowa.

On Wednesday, 36-year-old William Rancourt was shot when a hunting dog stepped on the trigger of a shotgun lying on the ground nearly 22 yards away from the man, causing the gun to fire, a news release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports.

The man was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the report continues.

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“Shotguns are extremely dangerous at close range," Ken Lonneman, a DNR conversation officer, 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."

When Rancourt arrived at the hospital, he was alert and able to walk. X-rays were being performed Wednesday afternoon to ensure all pellets had been removed from Rancourts back, the Des Moines Register reported.

The New Hampshire resident had been hunting with his party in Wright County, Iowa. The group, which included two dogs, two Iowans and another man from New Hampshire, had been pheasant hunting around 1:20 p.m. when one of the men placed his loaded shotgun on the ground.

Rancourt’s injuries were “fairly moderate,” Lonneman said, but he hopes the incident serves as a reminder to all hunters to unload their guns and place the safety on before placing them down or leaving them unattended.

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He also encourages increased safety precautions as the hunting season picks up.

"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," Lonneman told the Register.