Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?

Town of Waterford woman airlifted to hospital after shooting foot instead of squirrel

October 12, 2011

By Kristen Zambo, JournalTimes.com

TOWN OF WATERFORD - Spotting a squirrel in the front yard landed a Town of Waterford woman in the hospital Wednesday after she accidentally shot herself - instead of the squirrel.

Police were called at 10:06 a.m. by the woman's husband to the home in the 4900 block of South Loomis Road after the woman shot herself in the right foot, Town of Waterford Police Chief Tom Ditscheit said.

He said the 56-year-old woman spotted the squirrel in the front yard and decided to take a .410-gauge Remington Express shotgun out to shoot it. But she never made it into the yard.

"She was going around the garage to go out to the front and had her finger on the trigger," Ditscheit said. "We in the police profession know you never put your finger on the trigger (while walking)."

That's because the movement can move the trigger, too.

"It went through the top of her foot," he said.

She was taken to Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington, 252 McHenry St., before being airlifted to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, Ditscheit said, calling her injury serious.

Froedtert Hospital spokeswoman Nalissa Wienke said the woman was listed in satisfactory condition Wednesday afternoon.

The squirrel escaped unharmed.

Town of Waterford police are investigating the incident, in part because they don't know what prompted the woman to want to shoot the squirrel, Ditscheit said.

"The sergeant (investigating) said she was in extreme pain," he explained, and couldn't go into details.

But because the woman said she intended to shoot the squirrel, her actions are considered hunting. Ditscheit said any hunting accident, such as this, must be investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. An investigation already is underway, said Jennifer Niemeyer, the DNR's warden supervisor for Racine, Walworth and Kenosha counties.

"It was an accidental shooting," she said.

Residents must have a license to hunt, and the woman does have a small game hunting license, Ditscheit said.

Shooting isn‘t allowed in residential areas in the community, according to a town ordinance, he said. The woman could receive a local ordinance violation, he added.

"Keeping the finger out of the trigger guard - that's the lesson to be learned from this," Ditscheit said. "Anybody hunting should know you don't put your finger in there until you're ready to shoot."

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