A Skutt High School senior accidentally shot by his father while pheasant hunting could be released from the hospital this week, his mother said Monday.
Ryan Rearick, 18, of Omaha, is “doing unbelievably great,” Lisa Rearick said.
Ryan, who was shot in the back of the head Saturday at short range, never lost consciousness, has all his motor skills and suffered no brain injuries, she said.
“He is doing incredibly well for something so tragic,” his mother said. “We couldn't have asked for a better outcome.”
Ryan and his father, Christopher Rearick, were hunting about 10:30 a.m. Saturday east of Essex in Page County, Iowa, when the accident occurred. Ryan shot a pheasant on the fly, his mother said. His father was tracking the same bird for a shot.
Christopher Rearick told his wife that he lost his footing and fell to his knee, and his gun veered toward his son and went off accidentally, striking the young hunter from behind.
“My husband, as you can imagine, was traumatized,” Lisa Rearick said. “He's an ultra safe hunter, and this was a split-second thing where they were both going to shoot at the bird.”
Kevin Baskins, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the incident is under investigation but said they believe the younger man received only a glancing blow.
“The center of the shotgun pattern probably missed him,” Baskins said. “If it had been a deer slug instead of pheasant shot, the boy would've been killed.”
Ryan was taken to Montgomery County Memorial Hospital in Red Oak and was later flown to Creighton University Medical Center.
Lisa Rearick talked to her son by phone while Red Oak paramedics were transporting him. She said her husband told her the rescue personnel “looked like an army” coming to their rescue.
“We're very grateful for the Red Oak Volunteer Fire Department, especially an amazing older gentleman who arrived and really helped calm things down,” she said.
The Rearicks also are thankful for the support of students and faculty at Skutt High, where Ryan plays on the varsity golf and bowling teams.
“Our friends and the people at Skutt have really rallied around our family,” Lisa Rearick said.
Baskins said hunting accidents, while rare, receive a lot of attention. He credited the passage of mandatory hunter safety training for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1972, with reducing accidents.
Baskins said there have been 14 firearm injuries in Iowa since Jan. 1 and none of them fatal. That compares with 26 injuries in 2011, with none fatal, and 21 in 2010, with two that proved fatal.
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