It was a father’s worst nightmare. Eighteen-year-old Ryan Rearick was simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time when he took 15 pellets of birdshot to the back of the head from his father’s shotgun as the pair and their dog were pheasant hunting in Iowa this past Saturday.
The father, Christopher Rearick, of Omaha, Nebraska, was lining up a shot for a pheasant when he tripped and his 12-gauge shotgun discharged into Ryan’s back and head. He dropped to the ground, but never lost consciousness.
“You’ve been shot, I shot you,” was all a breathless Christopher could say when Ryan asked what happened as he lay on the ground. The pair still managed to walk 150 yards together to a road where they got cell phone reception to call for help.
“It sounds like he was pretty lucky,” Kevin Baskins, of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, told Iowa Radio. “In talking to our conservation officers who investigated, it sounds like there were some pellets that hit him in the back of the head, but it probably wasn’t a direct hit from the full load of that shotgun shell.”
Baskins pointed out that such an accident would have been fatal if the pair were deer hunting and using deer slugs. Both hunters had taken a safety course.
Ryan Rearick was taken to a hospital in Red Oak and then flown to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. He did not suffer any permanent injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. Ryan said he is ready to go hunting again, but his father will need to take a break before he goes back into the field.