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A 37-year-old forklift operator from Utah was struck in the neck with shotgun pellets during the first day of pheasant hunting season earlier this month.
The incident occurred about 2 p.m. Saturday, November 1, at Hunga Munga, a company that develops mechanical broad head arrow tips used for hunting deer and bears. Jayme Turner,of Springville, an employee of the company was working with his forklift in a parking lot when he suddenly heard a gunshot blast and felt a sharp pain on the right side of his neck.
Military Training Kicks In
Turner, a military veteran who served three tours in Iraq, said his combat training then took over. Despite his injury, he rolled out of the cab of his forklift to the ground and took cover behind the steel vehicle.
Peeking around his forklift, Turner realized that no one had been shooting directly at him and that it must have been stray buckshot from a shotgun fired by a hunter in the area. Another person who was in the area at the time also heard the shot and ran to help Turner and also called the police.
When police arrived, whoever had fired the shot had fled the area, according to Springville Police Lt. David Caron. But witnesses reported seeing a man calling a large, black dog that was running toward Turner and the other man shortly after the incident. The dog turned and ran back to the man and the pair disappeared into the woods.
An Unexpected Turn of Events
Turner said getting shot while driving his forklift in a Utah parking lot was the last thing he expected.
“When you’re in an environment overseas, you expect you’re going to get shot at,” Turner told KLS-TV in Salt Lake City. “One of the things you don’t expect to happen is to get shot here at home.”
Turner was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated and released.
Afterwards, he said he felt lucky his injuries weren’t worse, especially when he saw the damage the rest of the shotgun blast did to the trailer next to where he was driving his forklift.
“One, two, three, four, five, so five of six pellet indentations here,” he said. The gunfire also blew out the window of a nearby office.
Hunting Season Opens
Saturday was the first official day of pheasant season in Utah, so there were many hunters out looking for the fowl.The area where Turner was driving his forklift was within the Springfield city limits, where hunting is illegal. It is next to a vacant lot surrounded by commercial complexes.
The hunter has not yet been found. But even if he is, Turner said he doesn’t plan on pressing charges.
“I’m not headhunting anybody,” Turner said. “It’s just strange how it happened.”
Police, however, are continuing their search, said Caron.
“At this point, we just want to talk to him and find out what he was thinking,” Caron said.
It was not immediately known if the hunter had hit any pheasants with his shotgun spray.