Ricocheted bullet hits man trying to hunt salmon with rifle

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Thurston County man is recovering after he was struck by a ricocheted bullet while using a rifle to try to shoot salmon.

The 51-year-old man tried to use a .22 caliber rifle to fish in the Deschutes River near Tumwater on Sunday, authorities said.

"He saw what he thought was going to be dinner, and took a shot at it. He either missed dinner or hit the rock right next to it, and that bullet ricocheted back and hit him in the head," said Greg Elwin of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.

The man declined to speak to KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, but his mother-in-law, Sadie Meyers, said it's "really fortunate he wasn't killed."

"He's going to lose the sight of one eye, I think," she told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News South Sound Bureau Chief Richard Thompson.

"What he did is illegal," Elwin said. "That is not an acceptable way to go fishing."

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is joining the investigation.

The maximum penalty for shooting a fish with a gun is one year in jail.