On the first day of turkey season, an overzealous hunter shot his partner multiple times in the side and face.
Brian Hedger and Stephen Katich were hunting turkey on Friday, the opening day for their unit, on a ridge near Forest Road 109, which is south of Highway 260 and Valentine Ridge, said Gila County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Scott.
Katich reportedly took aim and shot what he thought was a turkey, striking Hedger numerous times with shotgun pellets on the left side of his body and face, Scott said.
None of the wounds are life threatening, he said.
“Hedger called out that he had been shot and Katich immediately went over to render aid,” Scott said.
“Katich assisted Hedger out to his vehicle where Hedger called 911 to report what happened and started driving himself toward Payson for medical treatment.”
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office received the call from Hedger and called the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Arizona Game and Fish for assistance locating Hedger.
Hedger drove himself out and met Forest Lakes Fire at the intersection of Forest Road 512 and Highway 260.
Gila County deputies along with Forest Service Law Enforcement and Game and Fish arrived a few minutes after Hedger arrived at the highway.
Hedger was transported to Payson Regional Medical Center for treatment while deputies waited for Katich to arrive.
Authorities interviewed Katich, who explained what happened. Katich’s story matched with Hedger’s, Scott said. Katich then drove to Payson to check on the condition of Hedger.
An investigation is continuing, but no decision has been made if charges will be filed.