A Waycross man who accidentally shot and wounded himself during a hunting outing on Big Swamp Hunting Club land south of Waycross on Oct. 25 remains a patient at UF Health in Jacksonville, Fla.
Justin Smith, 24, of Whispering Pines Trail, has had three surgeries so far and was to undergo more surgery on his thigh today, his father said.
Wayne Smith said his son, while holding his rifle, bumped it against the door of his pickup truck and the gun went off, wounding him in the thigh.
“Justin was sitting on the dog box and he got down,” Wayne Smith said. “Then he reached up and got his rifle in his left hand and (had) his shotgun in his right hand. He reached and put the shotgun inside the window of the truck and the rifle bumped the door. That’s when it went off and the barrel was pointed at his thigh. He never touched the trigger. This gun has been under a lot of recalls. The safety might have got knocked off.”
Justin Smith was taken by medical helicopter to UF Health in Jacksonville for treatment and remained conscious all the way, his father said.
“He sent me a video of his helicopter ride,” the father said.
Waycross Police Major Chris Tatum was at the hunting club that day and called for help. Wayne Smith said his son had a phone but could not get cell phone service in the area (along the Ware-Charlton border, near 15-Mile Post Road, which is off Swamp Road). He said Tatum heard the shot and made his way to where the wounded man was.
“I want it known that the safety was on on that gun and he never dropped it. He did not tell anyone the gun slipped. The safety was on,” Wayne Smith said.