Skip to main content

Teen Shot Through Eye While Pheasant Hunting

A North Dakota teen spoke publicly on Monday about being shot through the eye during a pheasant hunting trip last month, and the miraculous surgical procedure that saved his life.

14-year-old Kaelin MacDonald was hunting with his father and two family friends when a stray shotgun pellet struck his eye socket.

One of the MacDonald's family friends fired the blast that accidentally hit Kaelin.

The teen's father, Russell MacDonald, admitted that he had not given his son or the other two men clear firing path instructions.

Kaelin was rushed to a nearby hospital in Bismarck, N.D. where he started to experience partial paralysis in the right side of his body and an inability to speak.

"I was trying to tell the nurses I can't talk and I can't move the right side of my body," said Kaelin. "It was definitely the scariest moment when I could not move."

Kaelin was then transferred to Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul, MN and later transferred to United Hospital, where doctors discovered that the pellet was blocking blood flow to critical sections of his brain.

Read about the decline in hunting accidents over the past several years.

There doctors learned that the pellet had become lodged in his carotid artery, which cut off blood flow to his brain.

To remedy the wound, doctors performed an uncommon surgery that involved sewing an artery from the outside of Kaelin's skull to the inside of his brain.

The surgery was a success; however, doctors were not able to remove the pellet from Kaelin's brain.

He has since regained mobility throughout his body, but he is now experiencing moderate double vision.

Kaelin's injury is a strong reminder to hunters to practice clear communication and proper safety habits in the field, especially when hunting in a group.

Learn more about the challenges of pheasant hunting in the Midwest

you might also like

Teen Shot Through Eye While Pheasant Hunting