By James Nelson
SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A Utah duck hunter is recovering from minor wounds he suffered when he was shot in the buttocks by his partner's dog over the weekend, law enforcement authorities said on Thursday.
The 46-year-old man, who was not identified, was out hunting on Sunday with a friend and his friend's dog, a yellow Labrador retriever named Pipper, near the Bear River Bird Refuge in the northern section of the Great Salt Lake, about 10 miles west of Brigham City, officials said.
The two hunting partners had stopped their boat in a marsh area where their duck decoys were placed to retrieve a duck they had shot, and the man laid his 12-gauge shotgun across the bow of the vessel and stepped into the shallow water.
"The dog jumped into the boat and was stepping over the shotgun and made it discharge somehow. The guy was still walking away from the boat and he took it in the buttocks," said Box Elder County Sheriff Chief Deputy Kevin Potter.
The men called 911 and walked to a nearby road to wait for emergency assistance to arrive.
The stricken hunter was taken to Brigham City Hospital, where medical personnel removed 27 shotgun pellets from his backside. He was released a short time later.
"The direction your muzzle is pointing and all elements around add to whether accidents happen or not," Sergeant Mitch Lane of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources told Reuters.
Lane said the incident sounded like a "fluke" but stressed gun safety is important at all times.
"The other agencies did the investigation immediately after the incident, but we will follow-up and do a report on what they found," Lane said.
(Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton)