Dick Cheney shoots hunter in the face with pellet gun

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The Independent US

Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, accidentally shot a man in the face with a shotgun while hunting for quail on a Texas ranch.

Mr Cheney, 65, sprayed birdshot into Harry Whittington, a fellow hunter, while trying to hit a flock of quail on Saturday afternoon. Mr Whittington, 78, a lawyer from Austin, Texas, was taken to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital where he was treated for pellet wounds to the right side of his face, neck and chest.

A spokesman for the hospital said he was not seriously injured and described his condition as "stable".

A witness, Katharine Armstrong, said Mr Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Mr Cheney and a third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second flock. She said: "Whittington came up from behind the Vice-President and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself.

"The Vice-President didn't see him ... the covey [flock] flushed and the Vice-President picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by God, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good." Mr Cheney was said to have visited his friend in hospital.

This is not the first time Mr Cheney has been on a controversial hunt - he once shot 70 farmed ring-neck pheasants in a single session at the Rolling Rock Club in Pennsylvania in 2003. Critics called it a "canned hunt".

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