WON Landing Page March 2022

When Your Dog Shoots You in the Foot … Whose Fault Is It?

I read the accounts online this past week of an Indiana duck hunter, Allie Carter, whose dog shot her in the foot, point blank, while in a duck blind.

Something about the various ways the incident got reported bothered me. Some of the authors appeared to make light of the situation – found it humorous that her dog’s name is Trigger and that she got shot in the foot – and most of the accounts stressed the fact that the woman has not passed or even taken a qualified hunter education course.

The Associated Press wrote this headline: “Dog named Trigger steps on gun, shoots woman in Kosciusko County.” I’m not sure where “Koscuisko County” is located  in a human body.

Even the Indiana DNR, which I respect and admire for its work to keep the public informed in social media outlets, could not help but write this trite cliché: “The public should be mindful that accidents like this happen when you toe the line with safety.”

So, the wheels, they started a turnin’ and I picked up the phone and called Jonathon Boyd, the contact for this subject and an Indiana conservation officer.

Labrador_Retriever_chocolate_Hershey_sit_(cropped) copy

“Labrador Retriever chocolate Hershey sit (cropped)” by Rob Hanson – Hershey – Chocolate Lab. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

My first question? “Was she hunting legally?”

After all, several accounts reported that she did not possess a hunter’s education certification. Since she’s only 25, she couldn’t have been “grandfathered” in as an exception to taking Hunter Education. Boyd assured me that she was hunting legally in Indiana, on an apprentice permit, which means there must have been a certified hunter with her in the blind.

See how this changes the story?

Boyd described the duck blind as extremely tight, with hunters and a dog packed in close quarters. Believe me, I understand tiny blinds, having just spent time in one on a teal hunt in Louisiana lately — with another hunter, a guide and a dog.

Carter’s dog stepped on her loaded shotgun’s trigger, pointed at Carter’s foot, and it fired. Although, for health information privacy reasons, the DNR cannot comment on the severity of her injury, other than to note that she “was released with non-threatening life injuries,” I found out that the injury is not a minor one. She will require surgery to her foot.

Boyd said, “This type of accident happens more often than gets reported.”

What I find interesting, and I cannot imagine being the mentor or hunter associated with an apprentice and having something of this magnitude happen, is that no one has mentioned that she was an apprentice and that someone is responsible for teaching her the rules of gun safety – namely, never to have a hunting gun in an unsafe mode unless it’s pointed at what you aim to shoot, and also, to always have those guns (whether in a blind or wherever) pointed in a safe direction.

Hunting accidents happen, but I believe that in this case, some key elements have been omitted and unfortunately, at the expense of a young woman’s painful experience.

Thank God it wasn’t a tragedy. Somehow, I don’t think the reporting would have changed much if it had been. There’s really nothing funny about it.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.