Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting > 2008

MO: boy injured in Sunday hunting accident

Butler County boy injured in Sunday hunting accident Wednesday, November 5, 2008
By Donna Farley Daily American Republic

BUTLER COUNTY, Mo. An 11-year-old boy was taken by helicopter to a St. Louis hospital Sunday morning following a hunting accident.

Hunter Ham and his 18-year-old cousin, Kelci Scott, were hunting at 7:30 a.m. on family property on County Road 569 when the accident occurred.

The Fisk, Mo., fifth-grader had shot a spike buck with a .243-caliber Ruger rifle, left his deer stand and was crossing a field when he fell. His gun discharged and the bullet went through his wrist, according to his aunt, Heather Easterday.

Scott used her hunting vest to wrap the boy's wrist, called family nearby, loaded Ham onto a four-wheeler and drove him to a family home close by, Easterday said. An ambulance was called and on arrival emergency medical personnel decided Ham needed to be airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis.

"The bullet missed the major artery by less than 1 centimeter," Easterday said. "The powder, although burning, also cauterized the vessels, so he didn't lose a lot of blood. Kelci's quick thinking and actions also prevented a lot of blood loss."

The family was also fortunate that Scott, walking in front of Ham, wasn't struck by the bullet, according to Easterday.

Ham was released from Cardinal Glennon on Monday morning but will have to return Thursday for his first reconstructive surgery.

The family does not know how many surgeries he will need.

"Hunter lost the skin, tissue and muscle around the bone of his left wrist," Easterday said. "He will need extensive skin grafting. There are severe powder burns, so they are giving the tissue a few days before performing the first surgery."

There are good things, Easterday continued, Hunter has a grip and can move all his fingers.

"We are very, very lucky," Hunter's mother, Jami Ham, said Monday.  

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