Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
PARADISE, Cache County — A Willard man was badly injured after he was shot while helping a group hunt pheasants Saturday at the Sportsman's Paradise Hunting Club.
It is the second hunting accident in the area this week, as a Syracuse man was killed by an accidental shooting on Tuesday.
The owner of the 56,000-acre homestead in the southeast corner of the valley said he is "dumbfounded and really shaken up" that the accidents have occurred.
"Any time someone is out there hunting, there is a risk," said Grant L. White, a co-owner of White's Sportsman's Paradise with his brother. "These are two really, really tragic, unfortunate accidents that have taken place."
Christopher Richards, 24, who has worked as a hunting guide at the ranch for about two years, was accompanying a group of four hunters also from the Willard area when they entered a small grove of trees to flush out some pheasants at about 9:20 a.m., according to Cache County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Peterson. Hunting dogs had chased the birds out of the wash and gunfire ensued.
Chris is a really, really good, safe-conscious guy. That is why I'm dumbfounded that this has happened.
–Grant L. White, Sportsman's Paradise
A 12-year-old member of the same hunting party was standing on the opposite side of the wash and fired a 20-gauge shotgun at a pheasant and Richards was hit in the head and neck with up to eight of the pellets from the round, Peterson said.
"Chris is a really, really good, safe-conscious guy," White said. "That is why I'm dumbfounded that this has happened."
He said Richards conducts a safety briefing before taking any group out into the area to hunt. The 12-year-old shooter, White said, had also been through the state's hunter safety course and had met all requirements to be hunting.
White said the company, in operation for 11 years, has had three accidents this year. The facility, he said, bags about 18,000 to 22,000 birds a year.
"We shoot a lot of birds and have clients from all along the Wasatch Front. We also have clients who come from across the United States to shoot here," White said, adding that the property's draw is its natural state.
"We just use Mother Nature and let the birds feed like they normally would, so the hunting is a total outdoor experience, just like it was 30 to 40 years ago, even a hundred years ago," he said.
Richards was conscious after the accident and was taken to Logan Regional Hospital where he was stabilized, Peterson said. He was later taken to the Brigham City Hospital and then flown from there to Intermountain Medical Center for further treatment.
"We do not know the full extent of Richards' injuries, other than they are considered non-life threatening, but they will require surgery," Peterson said. Police believe the shooting was accidental and criminal charges are not expected.
White said he is grappling with decisions about closing the place or keeping it open, but his thoughts are with the families disrupted by the recent accidents.
"It's very unfortunate," he said.
Norman Newbold, 57, of Syracuse, was shooting with other men from Davis County when he was shot in the back by a member of his group who had slipped in the mud at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday. He was later pronounced dead at the Logan hospital. That shooting was also ruled to be an accident.