In Wake of Cheney Accident, Local Hunters Stress Safety

Out of respect for the Vice President, Harry Whittington has not commented on the hunting accident in which he was injured. Instead the Vice President is doing all the talking.

Forty years without a shooting incident is something the folks at Centerville are proud of and a source of confusion when it comes to the Cheney shooting in Texas.

“It’d hurt pretty bad. It's hard for me to imagine an accident like that. I can’t imagine how it could of happened,” says John Kohler, Centerville Managing Partner.

After four days of silence, the vice president is finally telling his side of the story, taking full responsibility for shooting Harry Whittington in an interview on FOX News Channel's special report with Brit Hume.

"I’m the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry and talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line. It's not Harry’s fault. The image of him falling is something I’ll never be able to get out of my mind,” explains Cheney.

Texas officials have labeled the shooting an accident and say no charges will be filed.

At Centerville, hunters say they take several precautions to make sure such shootings never happen. Only two hunters shoot at a covey of quail at a time and safety all begins with the man in the middle, the huntmaster.

"When we move in the huntmaster will say close up. We'll close. Now that gun's a dangerous gun, and we'll point at the covey. After the covey flies we'll say clear, take our guns back. Everything's safe,” Kohler says.

Centerville hunters also use smaller shotgun shells which keep the metal pellets inside from spreading. Bottom line, hunters say the hunt is more about tradition than competition. It's what keeps their sport alive and the hunters as well.

The Vice President also defending himself on why it took 20 hours for news of the shooting to come out.

He says he had no press person with him at the time and in the name of accuracy, he decided to rely on a local witness who knows hunting.