Recently, I shared two hunting accidents that resulted in no physical injuries. I have witnessed my share of hunting accidents while spending 40 years outdoors, but the ones that actually hurt people can never be forgotten. I hate remembering those times, but I hope that someone will read about them and be reminded that safety is underrated.

While commercial fishing for salmon off the Oregon coast one year, the weather was bad so we decided to take the boats down the coast from Florence, Oregon and see if we could anchor up and take the skiffs to shore for some bear hunting. I was on a 40 foot troller with my friend the captain and a guy I did not know very well. My friend and I were avid hunters but the other guy was not and he proved it that day. 

As savvy hunters, my friend and I did not get overly excited about holding a gun, but this guy seemed to be infatuated with holding a .20 gauge shotgun. He continually practiced aiming it as we traveled towards the ocean. Unbeknownst to us, he had loaded a #7 shot shell into the shotgun and forgot about it. He was being careful about where he was aiming, so my radar was not on alert. However, as I admired the passing sand dunes, a shot rang out. There was blood and tissue on my face and glasses. I did not want to look at the origin of the shot, but I had to. 

The guy had gone to set the gun inside of the cabin. He attempted to slide it butt first onto a bunk while holding the end of the barrel. The trigger caught on some bedding and the gun fired. Since he was so close to the muzzle, the shot did not have time to spread out. It hit him directly in the scrotum. The blast blew the bottom off his scrotum, out the side of his jeans and onto me and the boat deck.

We quickly called the coast guard and returned to the harbor where they took him directly to the hospital. He survived, but not totally intact. 

That was a sickening day and it all could have been prevented. Never watch someone do something careless or stupid without saying something. Never trust anyone with a gun and always assume the worst is going to happen. You might get caught over reacting sometimes, but you also might just save someone‚Äôs life.