Turkey hunter shot, hospitalized

Turkey hunter Chris Ackernecht, sitting in the woods over the weekend on the last day of the spring

Turkey hunter Chris Ackernecht, sitting in the woods over the weekend on the last day of the spring season, was trying to call in a tom turkey when he was shot by another hunter responding to the call.

Ackernecht, hit with 28 pellets from a 12-gauge shotgun, was transported by helicopter to Albany Medical Center Hospital Saturday morning. Despite pellet wounds from his head to his ankle, he managed to use his own cellphone from the woods near Royal Mountain in Caroga Lake to call emergency dispatchers.

“It was a case of mistaken identity,” Ackernecht said Tuesday, speculating that 47-year-old Mark Lane, an acquaintance who just happened to be hunting nearby, believed a real turkey was making the call.

The two men were dressed in full camouflage and were hunting on the north flank of the Royal Mountain Ski Center, close to where both live.

Lori O’Connell, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the shooting remains under investigation. As of Tuesday, no charges had been filed, she said. O’Connell said Lane apparently fired the shot about 8 a.m. when he saw movement.

Ackernecht, 33, of Route 10, was discharged Sunday. He said the pellets, including one in his liver, were not removed. He said physicians said the pellets would work themselves out.

As of Tuesday, he said, the wounds felt like a bruise. Most of the pellets hit him in one arm, his buttocks and his thigh, he said. One struck him in the ear.

He said he heard the shot and felt the impact almost simultaneously. When he yelled out, he said, Lane ran to him, offering assistance and an apology.

“I was surprised,” Ackernecht said, describing the initial sensation as a burning feeling.

He said he realized immediately he had been shot. Ackernecht said he did not know the extent of the injuries and immediately feared that they might be more serious.

“A lot of circumstances could have been different,” he said, acknowledging the favorable outcome.

Ackernecht said he is resting this week and has a doctor’s appointment Friday for an examination of the wounds’ healing progress.

Ackernecht said he was told that Lane shot from 33 yards away.

Ackernecht, an EMT and the assistant chief of the Caroga Volunteer Fire Department, said he credits his favorable prognosis, in part, to the quick and professional response of EMTs from his department and the Fulton County Ambulance Service.

Categories: Schenectady County

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