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MI: Hunting accident leaves Michigan Center man with one leg

Hunting accident leaves Michigan Center man with one leg
by Steven Hepker
Jackson Citizen Patriot
Wednesday November 26, 2008, 2:37 PM

Hunting buddies David Eckler and Bruce Ellis were pushing their duck boat on a Cement City lake when a shotgun fell and discharged into Eckler's left thigh.

A week later, he is facing life on one leg.

"We got the most important thing. We got his life," Blanche Eckler, of Michigan Center, said Wednesday from her son's hospital room.

Eckler and Ellis hunt or fish 100 to 130 days a year, fitting trips around Ellis' business, All Seasons Heating and Cooling.

With the economy faltering, and Eckler laid off from a plant closing, the best friends had time for waterfowl hunting. They were in the center of Goose Lake at Cement City at dawn on Nov. 19. The flat-bottomed boat was mired in weeds.

"Dave was out of the boat, pulling on the front, when he decided to go around back and push while I stood in the boat. I moved to the front for balance," Ellis said. "I might have knocked over my gun. I don't know."

His 12-gauge Beretta roared, sending 2 ounces of steel shot into Eckler's leg at point-blank range. Ellis jumped the three-foot blind around the boat in one motion. The hole in Eckler's waders was awful.

Ellis called 911 on his cell phone and administered first aid. It was 7:38 a.m., prime time for the morning flights of mallards.

"I turned around and he was gone. He was lying face-up in 37-degree water," Ellis said. "An EMT said the cold water slowed the blood and probably saved him."  

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