As of Thursday, May 15, 2014
KETTLE FALLS By Dee Camp
KETTLE FALLS – An Okanogan man is recovering this week after being shot by another hunter north of town in Stevens County.
George Martin, 61, received several wounds to his left arm, the side of his body, neck and head after being struck by a single shotgun blast while hunting last Wednesday morning off Pingston Creek Road.
He was taken to the Colville hospital and then airlifted to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. He was released the next day.
Martin said he feels “really lucky” to escape with the wounds he did, since if he’d had his head turned more toward the other hunter, he would have been struck in the face.
He said there was a turkey in the area and he moved and spooked the bird. He went looking for it and the other hunter, Stephen Myers, 56, of Greenville, Mich., shot.
Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen said Martin and his hunting partner, Clayton Schultz of Bremerton, were on one side of a clearing and Myers and his daughter were on the other.
Myers allegedly put out a turkey call, heard a response “and saw what he believed to be a turkey on the other side of the clearing,” Allen said.
Myers told investigators he saw movement, shot and then hear Martin cry out.
He and his daughter rushed to help Martin and called for help. The shooting occurred on state land.
“He helped. He was distraught,” Martin said.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated the shooting. Charges, possibly for assault, likely will be filed in Stevens County district Court, spokeswoman Madonna Luers said.
Turkey hunters are not required to wear “hunter orange” clothing because the birds are extremely wary, she said.
“That means you have to be sure of your target before you pull the trigger,” she said.
Martin said he was hit by almost three dozen pellets, which scattered from the single shot. The pellets were left where they landed.
“They tell me they’ll work their way out,” Martin said.
“He had some good welts on the side of his head,” said his brother, Conconully Mayor Sam Martin.
George Martin said he appreciated all the well wishes from people in the community.
“Our hunt came to an end when we got onto another tom and an out-of-state hunter thought we were a turkey and shot George,” Schultz, Martin’s hunting partner, posted to Facebook. “The Department of Fish and Wildlife guys said if I had been one step closer to George, the guy may have gotten a two-fer. Funny but scary.”
He added, “As hunters, we all have a responsibility to positively identify our target before pulling the trigger.”
George Martin, who is retired from the Washington State Patrol, said in 32 and a half years as a trooper, he was never shot at.
He said he’s an “avid turkey hunter” and plans to return to hunting.
On Thursday, after arriving home from the hospital, he wrote on Facebook that he was feeling good and it was “just about time to go out turkey hunting. I still got one tag left.”