WINDHAM – The Standish man shot by his son while turkey hunting off Anderson Road in Windham on Monday was in good spirits this week following emergency surgery.

“It was an accident, just one of those things,” said 61-year-old Joseph Kennedy, of Deerfield Circle. “I’m fine, but my son, he’s taking it pretty hard.”

Kennedy and his son, Kevin Kennedy, 29, of Elmwood Avenue, Westbrook, were hunting with owner permission in woods between Anderson Road and the Merry Christmas Trees farm on River Road. The two were hunting separately, stalking two separate groups of turkeys.

Kennedy described what took place next:

“We were in what we thought were more separate areas than we were. I had some birds over my way and my boy had some over his way. We couldn’t see each other. So, basically, a turkey came down by me and I got a shot at it, but I missed the bird. Then, at the same time, a few minutes later, my boy had a turkey come up to him. And he waited to get in a good shot and when he fired the pellet either ricocheted or went quite a long ways and hit me in the eye. And it really didn’t hurt. I just knew I’d been hit. That’s really it in a nutshell.”

The pellet struck Kennedy in his left eye, which had been nearly blind since birth. His right eye is healthy and was unhurt in Monday’s shooting.

“I had some peripheral vision in the eye, that’s all. I had no forward vision in it at all,” he said.

Kennedy, who works at D&G Machine in Gorham and lived in Windham for about 10 years before moving to Standish five years ago, says it’s too soon to tell whether he will retain any vision in the left eye.

“They don’t know yet. It’s still pretty swollen and we’re going one day at a time,” he said.

After the shooting, the son made his way over to his father, not knowing he had struck him. The two then walked out of the woods to the elder Kennedy’s truck parked on Anderson Road. The son drove his father to Maine Medical Center, where doctors performed eye surgery that afternoon, opting to leave the pellet in the eye.

“It’s still in there. It went through my eyeball. It’s lodged in the back in my eye, and according to the doctor, when something like that happens, they usually just leave it there. It doesn’t cause any problems. If they do have to take the eye, they’ll take it out,” Joseph Kennedy said.

The father and son duo are longtime hunters. The father chalks the experience up to bad luck.

“I’ve been hunting since I was 8 years old. He’s been hunting since he was old enough to go hunting, 10 years old. He’s been by my side hunting and fishing forever. It’s tougher on him I think than on me,” Joseph Kennedy said.

Asked whether the hunting trip yielded any game, Kennedy managed to find some humor in the situation.

“The only turkey that got it was me,” he said.

He said he’s had a positive attitude because “I’ve got to be. I don’t have any choice. It’s an accident and that’s just the way it is. It was just an unfortunate accident, that’s all.”

Wardens responded in force to the report of the shooting, said Cpl. John MacDonald with the Maine Warden Service. Aerial photography was performed in the area, and wardens recreated the scene. Wardens on scene included Sgt. Jason Luce, Sgt. Dave Chabot and his K-9, pilot Dan Dufault, Eric Blanchard, Seth Powers, Neal Wykes, and the primary investigator, Peter Herring. The incident remains under investigation, MacDonald said on Wednesday.


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