A Troy man injured in a hunting accident Tuesday morning remained in good condition Tuesday afternoon at University Hospital.
“The victim was very lucky,” said Brian Flowers, a hunting incident investigator with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Dave Welter, 39, of Troy suffered a shotgun blast to the head, face and shoulder as he and his hunting partners were preparing to leave Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, where the men had been duck hunting, Flowers said.
Flowers said Welter and two other men had been hunting for several hours and were preparing to leave around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday. Welter had stepped out from the corn and was retrieving a decoy when a group of ducks came over the field.
Another hunter fired at the ducks, lost his footing in the knee-high water and mud, and lost muzzle control. A second shot was fired, with 15 to 30 pellets striking Welter, who was standing less than 25 yards away, Flowers said.
The third hunter contacted emergency services as the shooter helped Welter, who was alert and conscious, to dry ground. Welter was then taken to University Hospital for treatment.
Flowers said hunting accidents such as this one are “very infrequent” and have decreased over the years.
Flowers said this was the first such accident this year. Last year, he said he investigated six or seven accidents. Statewide, he said, the average is 20 to 30 accidents per year.
Flowers said investigation is important for two reasons.
First, if a safety violation occurred, the offender might have his hunting license suspended or revoked. Second, the investigation helps officials gather information that they can then use in hunter education courses.
But accidents such as this are often more difficult to investigate due to lack of landmarks and the destruction of physical evidence by the water.
“Normally there are shot marks on trees and bushes,” he said. “We’re just out there in a flooded cornfield.”