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The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office in Kansas said that law enforcement responded to a man who had suffered a gunshot wound to the back. The office stated that the man had been seated in the front passenger seat of a pickup truck that he owned. A dog in the back seat apparently stepped on a rifle, which then fired and hit the man.
“Responding units arrived within minutes of the 911 call and started CPR,” the sheriff’s office said, but the man died at the location.
“A canine belonging to the owner of the pickup stepped on the rifle causing the weapon to discharge,” the sheriff’s office explained. “The fired round struck the passenger who died of his injuries on scene.”
The office announced that the man’s name was Joseph Austin Smith, and he was from Wichita, Kansas. Differing reports stated that he was 30 or 32 years old. Hunting equipment was also in the back seat of the car, along with the gun.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, as well as Wellington Fire and EMS also came to the location.
Wellington Fire and EMS Chief Tim Hay told NBC that an additional individual was in the driver’s seat of the car, but was not physically hurt.
Hunting accidents can occur for various reasons. The top ways that these types of incidents happen are either the inability to recognize a target at 15.5%, a “[s]hooter swinging on game” at 12.8%, not being careful with how one handles a gun at 11.4%, as well as a victim not being in the view of the person shooting at 8.3%. The data comes from the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) Industry Intelligence Reports from 2007.
A 2019 report noted that the 2018 hunting season was the safest one the state had seen, as there were no deaths and only four gun-related incidents that were reported. The Kansas Hunter Education Program was credited for the success.
“It has been years of hard work and dedicated services that has brought us to this point,” Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Hunter Education Program coordinator Kent Barrett said at the time. “Having said that, we also know that next year will bring us a whole new set of circumstances that will test us once again.”