How Not to Get Shot by Your Dog

How Not to Get Shot by Your Dog

How Not to Get Shot by Your Dog

A fellow in Brigham City, Utah was out duck hunting with his dog when he accidentally got shot by the pooch. Now, I’ve never been duck hunting in my life but I’m pretty sure this isn’t supposed to be how things happen.

So how exactly did this fellow get shot by his dog? Apparently, he was in a boat with his dog when he decided to get out of the boat and put a decoy in the marsh. He left his shotgun in the boat along with his excited dog. Somehow, while running around the boat the dog stepped on the trigger and the gun fired.

Thank goodness it was only birdshot and the owner did have a pair of waders on, which helped mitigate the damage as well. However, he still had to go to the hospital and get 27 pellets of birdshot removed from his behind, which I imagine wasn’t very fun.

The thing is…

This accident, like most gun accidents, could have been prevented by following simple safety rules. You see, the first mistake this guy made was that he didn’t engage the safety on his shotgun.

Although I’ve never been duck hunting I do have a shotgun for home defense and I do train with it often. And when my shotgun is in my bedroom at night, the safety is on. I don’t want to have to worry about something “magically” getting in the trigger guard and discharging the gun.

In fact…

When I’m training and I’m not firing the gun, I immediately put the safety on. It’s a good habit to develop and ensures the gun won’t discharge when you’re not prepared to fire.

The second mistake this guy made and the rule that none of us should ever violate is pointing the gun at something you’re not willing to destroy. This guy obviously didn’t have the gun in his hand, but he had poor muzzle awareness and wasn’t aware that his 12- guage shotgun was pointing at him when he got out of the boat.

I don’t care if the gun is lying on your couch or on the seat of your truck and nobody is holding it. You still don’t want to have the gun pointed at you and heaven forbid you should ever look down the barrel.

This guy was lucky and this incident didn’t turn out too badly for him. However, the majority of the time when people don’t have proper muzzle awareness it ends up costing them their life or the life of someone they care about.

So please remember the four firearms safety rules at all times. And, be especially careful the next time you leave a loaded gun around Fido.


  • Anonymous

    good advice!

  • Nmcarry

    This type of thing is more prevelant than you might think. I know of a few instances where the hunter laid an 870 down and an excited dog dancing around stepped on the safety and trigger injuring the owner. In one case in the ankle from a grounded gun. Another in the stomach after the gun discharged through the side of a pick up truck bed.

    There are many others.

  • Gregg Sheehan

    When I learned duck shooting, more than 30 years ago, it was standard practise to carry shotguns around unloaded and open. If it was in your hands and pointed in the general direction you expected to see the duck you were about to shoot then it was ok to have a round in the chamber and the action closed. If it wasn’t in your hands then it was unloaded… simple! I was taught that a safety catch on a shotgun was a useless item because you never used it.

  • Kirk Surber

    This is what we call a ‘teaching moment.’ Hopefully this guy will learn from his mistake, and not just him, but everyone who hears the story will pick up on the lesson of muzzle awareness and basic safety rules.  

    • Anonymous

      I hope so!!!

  • That dog needs to take a safety course!

    • Anonymous

      Very Much So!!!

  • Need to obey all safety rules when around dogs and kids.  Keep safety on at all times!

    • Packin’ Pastor

      Need to obey all the safety rules at all times!

  • JDC

    the dog snapped the safety off when he stepped on the trigger guard.  Only 3 of the 27 pellets came out.  Birdshot was actually #2 steel.

    • Packin’ Pastor

      Unless the dog also spun the gun around, which is possible, then the muzzle safety issue remains.

  • Packin’ Pastor

    Years ago, I went duck hunting with a friend and his young son. They had brought their hunting dog along for the hunt as well. I was at one end of the pond and the dad was at the other end waiting for the ducks to show one afternoon. The son and the hunting dog came to my end of the pond after a while and they sat down with me. The boy, who was around 14 years old, had brought his .22cal rifle for small game while I had a shotgun and was there for duck. We were sitting on the ground waiting for the duck to land on the pond.The young man had leaned his 22 against the tree he was leaning against when he sat down. The dog pawed at the young man’s arm which was in front of his rifle. The dog’s paw slipped off of the boy’s arm and caught the trigger of the rifle. The rifle tipped away from the tree, towards me, and as it fell it discharged. By God’s grace alone it missed me by a foot. 

    This young man and I hunted together often. We would hunt small game hunt together when deer and duck were not in season. During deer season he would come along and hunt small game or varmints on the way out of the woods if we saw no deer or duck. My understanding with this young man when we were out hunting together was that he had to follow these four rules or we were done hunting together for the season: 

    Treat every gun as a loaded weapon at all times.
    Never have a round in the chamber of a hunting gun when not actively hunting.
    Never allow the gun to point at something you are not willing to destroy or kill.
    Always have the safety on until you have taken aim at something you are going to shoot. 

    By leaning his loaded rifle, with a round in the chamber and the safety off, against the tree the boy had violated all four safety rules and almost caused me to be shot. It was the end of our hunting together for the season. 

  • Montanagyrene

    Maybe he shouldn’t have ‘forgotten’ the dog  treats!!  Back to being serious, it seems like ALL of my dogs get a little ‘hyper’ from time to time, and this sounds like a ‘moment of carelessness’ that we’r ALL guilty of sometimes!!  Glad he wasn’t seriously hurt, and the rest of us NEED to use this as a reminder to stay safe