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Hunter killed after dog steps on rifle, Kansas sheriff says

CBS News 1/24/2023 Cara Tabachnick
USA - North Dakota - Upland game bird hunting in prarie grasslands © Getty Images USA - North Dakota - Upland game bird hunting in prarie grasslands

A man was killed during a weekend hunting trip in Kansas when a dog stepped on a rifle and discharged the gun, the Sumner County Sheriff's office said. 

Deputies were dispatched at 9:47 a.m. local time Saturday to investigate a 911 call that 30-year-old Joseph Austin Smith of Wichita had been shot in the back inside a pickup truck in Geuda Springs, police said.

The sheriff's office said teams arrived within minutes of the call and, after finding Smith in the front passenger seat of the truck, started CPR life-saving measures. Smith ultimately died from the gunshot wound. 

The dog, which belongs to the truck's owner, was in the back seat of the truck with hunting gear — including the rifle — when the dog stepped on the gun, according to police. The investigation is ongoing, police said. 

It was not immediately clear if anyone else was in the truck at the time.

There have been several other notable canine-related gun incidents in recent years.

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2022, a 32-year-old new dad and Turkish hunter, Ozgur Gevrekoglu, was shot and killed when he was putting his dog into the back seat of his truck, according to the newspaper Middle East Eye. The dog's paw touched the loaded shotgun, discharging the weapon and killing Gevrekoglu at close range, the newspaper said.

In 2017, a pheasant hunter in north-central Iowa was accidentally shot and wounded when a dog stepped on the shotgun trigger guard and the gun fired. Ken Lonneman, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer, told CBS News at the time that four hunters and two dogs were looking for the game birds when one of the hunters placed a loaded shotgun on the ground.

And in 2018, a New Mexico man told CBS affiliate KRQE-TV that he was shot by his dog, a 120-pound rottweiler mix named Charlie. The man said he was sitting in his truck, with his rifle in the backseat, when Charlie's paw got caught in the trigger, according to KRQE. The bullet went through the driver's seat and struck the man's back, breaking a few ribs and shattering his collarbone, according to the station.

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