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CLIMAX, MINN.: Man shot in hunting accident

If you are going to get shot with a rifle, Joe Ingvalson learned Sunday, do it like he did. Hunting with his daughter, his father and his brother near Climax, Minn., Ingvalson, 36, jumped up a doe Sunday they had been looking for. A neighbor had ...

If you are going to get shot with a rifle, Joe Ingvalson learned Sunday, do it like he did.

Hunting with his daughter, his father and his brother near Climax, Minn., Ingvalson, 36, jumped up a doe Sunday they had been looking for. A neighbor had told them the doe was wounded in the leg.

"We went down there to see if we could get it. We didn't want it to suffer or anything," he said Sunday night from his father's home in Climax. "We were going through there just before dark, and I had just jumped it up. It came between me and my daughter. I yelled at her that it was coming. She swings around to shoot."

She did, about 100 feet from her father, closer to the deer, and right at both.

The bullet from her lever-action Winchester .30-30 rifle hit Ingvalson in his lower left leg, across the shin, exiting the other side, on a downward path. Then, the bullet apparently ricocheted, perhaps off the ground, and returned upwards, lodging in his inner right thigh, about 6 inches above his knee.


Not surprisingly, this was a first for the Moorhead man.

"I thought it would hurt more," he said with a laugh less than four hours after it happened.

"I didn't really realize it at first. I turned to aim at the deer myself, brought my gun up and thought, Geez, my leg hurts,' he said, again with his infectious laugh. "It almost felt like I had someone kick me in the shin and turn around and try to give me a charley horse (by hitting me) in the other leg. It didn't knock me down or nothing. It didn't really bleed a lot. As soon as I realized I got shot, I said, I got shot, we gotta go!' I walked up the hill by myself, then asked if my brother would give me his belt to tie it off. He couldn't find his belt, so he cut the safety belt from the car and I wrapped that around and stopped the bleeding. He had a hunting knife in the car."

His father drove Ingvalson, his daughter and his brother into Crookston to the hospital.

There, Ingvalson impressed people with his jovial attitude about his close call.

"He was cracking jokes and in good spirits," said Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Trent Stahlecker, who investigated the shooting and determined it was an accident and no charges will be filed.

It happened about 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

By about 9 p.m., Ingvalson was out of the hospital, at his father's place in Climax.


They were hunting in the one of the areas near the Red River that this year were opened up by state officials for hunting with rifles, after years of being open only for shotgun hunting for deer.

Rifles shoot bullets that can travel more than a mile, and many residents up and down the Minnesota side of the Red River have said they are concerned for their safety this year during deer season. Shotgun slugs are much heavier and bigger than rifle bullets, but travel only 150 yards or less.

"I know one thing, with all this talk about having changed from shotgun (only) to rifle hunting around here, and everyone was worried about how far a rifle would go. I am damn glad it was a .30-30. If it had been a shotgun, I wouldn't have legs left. It probably would have took my leg right off."

Ingvalson, in fact, was carrying a 12-gauge shotgun himself Sunday, he noted with another laugh.

His good mood, he admitted, was not just his sunny Norwegian temperament. "I've got a little more morphine left in me," he said.

The .30-caliber bullet missed all bones and arteries, although it left three holes in his legs.

"They pretty much cleaned them up, cut off some ragged ends on the wounds, wrapped them up. I have to go to an orthopedic specialist tomorrow in Fargo to see if they want to take the bullet out or not."

His daughter grew up learning how to shoot from her dad, first using a BB gun on tin cans and then small guns on small game, Ingvalson said. This was her first time carrying a gun in deer season.


"She knows how to shoot. She just got a little excited," he said. "She was OK as soon as she knew Dad was OK. She might have some bad dreams tonight."

The next question is if she wants to hunt deer again. The deer that came between them escaped Sunday.

"I've had to give her some crap about that," he said. "We have licenses for next weekend. I'm not sure if we will go. Have to see how well the legs feel. Maybe, I will just do some posting."

Ingvalson is a painter in Moorhead. "I will take a few days off and make sure everything is OK."

"I had back surgery a couple years ago and that hurt a hell of a lot more than this does. We Ingvalsons are pretty tough," he said, laughing again.

"It could have been a lot worse. At the hospital, they said the way it did happen is about the best way it could have happened."

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237, or (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; e-mail him at slee@gfherald.com

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