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Northeastern MN hunter shoots himself while hunting grouse

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A northeastern Minnesota man is recovering from what is at least the fifth hunting accident in Minnesota this year.

It happened in North Star Township, where 63-year-old Clarke Coole accidentally shot himself in the leg with a shotgun Wednesday morning, the Northland's News Center reports.

According to the station, authorities say he was driving along Blomquist Road when he spotted a grouse, got out of his truck to shoot it, and slipped on the wet road beneath him, causing his gun to go off.

WCCO says Coole was taken to Duluth's St. Luke's hospital with non-life-threatening wounds.

Meanwhile, KDAL adds that the incident "remains under investigation."

This comes just weeks after a Shakopee teen was shot in the head while duck hunting. The boy was on a boat when he stood up and found himself in the line of fire of some fellow hunters on the shore.

Luckily, the shotgun blast only grazed his head and he was released from a hospital.

Minnesota's hunting incidents

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there have been five hunting "incidents" and two fatalities in the state so far this year. The most fatalities came in 1968, when 29 people died (however, the record doesn't make clear the circumstances of any of the deaths).

Despite the safety concerns that come along with hunting, statistics suggest it's a relatively safe activity, especially when shooting is concerned.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, statistics say that of the more than 16 million people who engaged in firearm hunting in 2011, fewer than 7,000 were injured.

More people, the group says, were injured playing basketball that year (despite fewer people actually engaging in the sport than in hunting).

Furthermore, their report states, “unintentional firearms fatalities” are at an all-time low.

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2 hunters shoot selves in foot

A 14-year-old Eagan teen suffered minor injuries to his foot after shooting himself with a shotgun Saturday afternoon near Paynesville, the West Central Tribune reports. A day later, 26-year-old Sartell man accidentally shot himself in the foot while deer hunting five miles north of Clarissa in central Minnesota, the St. Cloud Times reports.