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AK: bystander shot in hunting accident

September 2, 2010

Bear attack: Firearms can save a life, but watch where you shoot

Everyone familiar with bears, firearms and Alaska knew that sooner or later the worst was going to happen in urbanized Southcentral -- someone was going to start shooting at a bear and someone else was going to get hit with a stray slug. ... The wounding of a bystander by a stray bullet, when it finally occurred, took place in the city of Seward. But more on that in a minute. ... All of which brings this back to last week's shooting in Seward, which was not some crazy drive-by. This shooting involved a man near the harbor being hit by a slug that came from shotgun being used by a Seward police officer to dispatch a troublesome black bear. The slug, according to officials' reports, went through the bear, ricocheted off something, and then hit the man in the stomach.

"It didn't even penetrate the skin ... We're very lucky in that case,'' City Manager Phillip Oates told the Associated Press. ... Oates is right about luck. Police in Seward got very lucky. The man hit by the slug was treated and released from a local hospital the same day. It could have been worse, a whole lot worse.

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