GIRARD — Two out-of-state turkey hunters received wounds on their faces and upper bodies on Wednesday morning after a fellow hunter mistakenly shot at a decoy they were hiding behind.
The injured turkey hunters, who were not named, walked out of the field and were taken to Girard Medical Center for treatment, according to a release from the Crawford County Sheriff Dan Peak. They were then transferred by air ambulance to Freeman Hospital in Joplin.
The sheriff received a call Wednesday morning of two men with shotgun wounds at the Girard hospital. They had been turkey hunting west of Girard with a third man, also from out-of-state. They had leased private property and that’s where they were hunting at the time of the shooting.
A sheriff’s deputy spoke to the person who shot the hunters. The man reported being dropped off at the hunting area about dawn. His two acquaintances were going to a nearby location to hunt.
At about 8:40 a.m. the man said he shot at a turkey that he had been “calling-in,” but realized immediately after firing a single 12 gauge shot that his two friends had been hunting the same turkey. The two hunters who were injured were just inside of a wooded area, wearing camouflage and laying behind a turkey fan made of turkey feathers. The fan gives the appearance of a decoy turkey and the subjects could not be seen by the shooter, Sheriff Peak reported.
The victims were hit with shotgun pellets in the face and upper body. The hunter who shot them rendered aid and both hunters walked back to their truck, from which they were transported to the hospital.
The three hunters knew each other. One is a good friend of the shooter and the other is the shooter’s brother.
The investigation continues into the shooting.
Call the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office at 620-724-8274 if you have any information.