Vice President Dick Cheney, a darling of the National Rifle Association and a strong advocate of guns and hunting, shot
and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas.

Whittington, 78, was “alert and doing fine” after Cheney sprayed him
with shotgun pellets on Saturday while the two were hunting at the
Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, said property owner Katharine Armstrong.

said Whittington was mostly injured on his right side, with the pellets
hitting his cheek, neck and chest, and was taken to the hospital by

Whittington was in stable condition Sunday, said Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System.

spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, said the vice president was with
Whittington, a lawyer from Austin, Texas, and his wife at the hospital
on Sunday afternoon.

Armstrong said she was
watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got
out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail late afternoon on

Whittington shot a bird and went to
look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked
to another spot and found a second covey.

“came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn’t
signal them or indicate to them or announce himself,” Armstrong told
the Associated Press in an interview.

vice president didn’t see him,” she continued. “The covey 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.”

The shooting was first reported by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

She said Whittington was bleeding but not very seriously injured, and Cheney was very apologetic.

broke the skin,” she said. “It knocked him silly. But he was fine. He
was talking. His eyes were open. It didn’t get in his eyes or anything
like that.”

She said emergency personnel traveling with Cheney tended to Whittington, holding his face and cleaning up the blood.

the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so
they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have
been,” she said. “The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so
the ambulance came.”

Armstrong said Cheney is
a longtime friend who comes to the ranch to hunt about once a year. She
said Whittington is a regular, too, but she thought it was the first
time the two men hunted together.

“This is something that happens from time to time. You now, I’ve been peppered pretty well myself,” said Armstrong.

Add your comments to this story…