Hunter Mistakes Friend for Squirrel, Shoots Him in Face

A Michigan man was seriously injured during a hunting accident in which he was inadvertently shot by a friend.

Sgt. Chuck Towns of the Department of Natural Resources District 7 responded to a report made in the Allegan State Game Area. Towns determined that a squirrel hunter saw movement near a tree about 20 yards away and fired his 12-gauge shotgun, presuming it was an animal, according an official DNR report.

However, it was not a squirrel, rather the man's hunting partner, who was not wearing any orange hunter garments. The victim experienced serious injuries to his face, eye and jaw after being hit by the shotgun pellets, according to the report.

He was transported to Allegan General Hospital and later air-lifted to Kalamazoo for additional treatment. The victim's injuries were confirmed as non-life-treatening, according to Allegan County Sheriff's officials.

The DNR is continuing its investigation and the shooter could be charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, which is currently pending, according to the report.

According to the Michigan Legislature, "reckless, wanton use or negligent discharge of firearm; penalty" reads as follows:

"Any person who, because of carelessness, recklessness or negligence, but not wilfully or wantonly, shall cause or allow any firearm under his immediate control, to be discharged so as to kill or injure another person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 1 year, in the discretion of the court."

Additionally, "careless, reckless or negligent use of firearms; injury of property; penalty" is described as the following:

"Any person who, because of carelessness, recklessness or negligence, but not wilfully or wantonly, shall cause or allow any firearm under his control to be discharged so as to destroy or injure the property of another, real or personal, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 90 days or by a fine of not more than $100.00, if the injury to such property shall not exceed the sum of $50.00, but in the event that such injury shall exceed the sum of $50.00, then said offense shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 1 year or by a fine not exceeding $500.00."

Allegan County is part of DNR District 7 in West Michigan, which also includes Barry, Berrien, Cass, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.

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