Iowa Man Recovering After Being Shot by His Hunting Dog

A hunter is recovering after he was shot in the leg at close range when his hunting dog stepped on his shotgun and tripped the trigger, an official said Tuesday.

James Harris, 37, of Tama, was hit in the calf on 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 100-120 pellets in about a four-inch circle to his calf."

Harris was listed in good condition at University Hospitals in Iowa City, a hospital spokesman said Tuesday.

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.

Foster said it was a safety issue that probably could have been avoided.

"If he had crossed the fence at the butt end of the gun instead of the muzzle it probably would have been a different story," he said.

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

Foster said no citations have been issued.