Monday, February 13, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally wounded a companion with shotgun pellets on a weekend quail hunt in Texas, his office said on Sunday.

Cheney's companion, Austin lawyer Harry Whittington, 78, was listed in stable condition after being brought in on Saturday night, said Yvonne Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Cheney's office said Whittington had been sprayed by birdshot while hunting at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, about 200 miles south of San Antonio.

She said Cheney, an experienced hunter, did not realize Whittington had rejoined the group without announcing himself, which is proper protocol among hunters.

"They had no idea he was there," Armstrong said.

"A bird flew up, the vice president followed it through around to his right and shot, and unfortunately, unbeknownst to anybody, Harry was there and he got peppered pretty good with a spray of 28-gauge pellets," Armstrong said in a telephone interview.

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