Beware: ‘Assault Rifle’ Shoots OK Hunter Twice and Throws Him Out of Tree Stand

The Truth About the AR-15 Rifle

courtesy Nick Leghorn for TTAG

Oklahoma News 4 puts a rather blatant slant on a Thanksgiving Day hunting accident in a story they titled ‘Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Warns Against Hunting with Assault Rifles.’ Granted it would have helped if the DNR/DoW guy they interviewed hadn’t also thrown around the phrase “assault rifle” like it was pepper on mashed potatoes.

Ignoring the ginned-up frenzy about the “assault rifle”, there’s this: an 18-year-old hunter named…Hunter…was up in a tree stand without a safety harness and somehow shot himself not once, but twice. One round to the abdomen, another one to the thigh. (Twice? Really?)

Hunter Scales was sitting in a deer stand in Southern Oklahoma last weekend when his semi automatic rifle went off twice, hitting him in the stomach and thigh.

He’d forgotten to make sure the gun was on safety.

Hunter’s family says he fell nearly 25 feet from the stand. Thankfully, his brother was nearby and called 911.

He’s still recovering tonight in a Tulsa hospital. (Kaylee Douglas, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Urges Caution When Using AR-15 to Hunt)

The rifle just “went off.” Twice. After it pointed itself a the hapless hunter, Hunter.


A word of advice from one hunter to all you other hunters. If you’re in a tree stand, please use your safety harness. Wherever you are, use your gun’s safety. And no, the trigger is not there to screw around with while you’re waiting on a deer (you’d be surprised how often I’ve heard “I’m not gonna pull it, I just like to mess with it while I sit there”).

Four golden gun rules, guys. Know them. Love them. Follow them. And for the less-than-capable hunters out there, for the love of all that is holy, stop making the rest of us look like idiots.

Jeff Cooper's Four 4 Rules of Firearms Gun Safety


  1. avatar Big Al says:

    Do stupid shit with ANYTHING & stupid shit happens to you. Cars, planes, boats, guns, etc. Sounds like this D/A could successfully shoot himself (accidentally, of course) twice with a crossbow.

  2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Huh. If guns can “accidently just go off” on cops, this out to prove that they an “accidently just go off” on deer hunters, too.

  3. avatar ROBERT Powell says:


    1. avatar Joel says:

      Good questions. Even if they were asked IN ALL CAPS…

      1. avatar Kendahl says:

        That hunter must really have pissed off the rifle.

    2. avatar Jay says:

      1 Word , Oklahoma , Nuff said ,some people shouldn’t own a .22 single shot bolt action, idiot’s like this guy don’t help the cause .

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Dang what a dumbazz…is he paralyzed or whut?!? Darwin’s darling😄

  5. avatar DaveL says:

    It seems to me you’d have to work pretty hard up shoot yourself in the abdomen with a long gun.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      Apparently a VERY LONG gun since it seems to have a suppressor attached to it.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        “Apparently a VERY LONG gun since it seems to have a suppressor attached to it.”

        The good news is, the double-discharge should have been hearing safe…

      2. avatar Darkman says:

        The pictured provided has nothing to do with the story. Just a poor representation of the actual firearm. Used to sensationalize the story. Sad…

      3. avatar anonymoose says:

        That Nick Leghorn’s gun, not this stupid kid’s gun. I thought that at first too, and then I saw “18yo kid” and realized an 18yo kid wouldn’t legally have access to a factory-made suppressor unless he was out there with an older relative/friend.

    2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      From what little hunting out of tree-stands I have done, my best guess is that dipshit was hauling his gear up behind him with some sort of rope setup after first climbing the tree himself and snagged his loaded/off safe firearm on a branch and double tapped himself in the process.

      Modern medicine appears to have kept him in the gene pool for now though.

      1. avatar DaveL says:

        I figured it had to be either a hoisting accident, or something truly deranged. Strange that he was switched on enough to hoist his gun instead of trying to climb with it, but dumb enough to leave the damned thing loaded.

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          Loaded is one thing, chambered is another…

      2. avatar BLAMMO says:

        … my best guess is that dipshit was hauling his gear up behind him with some sort of rope setup …

        … Modern medicine appears to have kept him in the gene pool for now though.

        Rope through the trigger guard? That might work.

        Yeah, I guess our only hope now is a low sperm count but I kind of hope he survives if only to tell the details of exactly what the fuck he was doing.

      3. avatar Big Bill says:

        Trying to picture using a rope through the trigger guard to hoist the rifle to the stand, and having a hard time picturing the mechanics of pulling the trigger with the rope while the barrel is pointing towards the stand.
        The mechanics of this would have the barrel pointing down while pulling the trigger with the rope.
        I can see it, though, if the rifle were already hoisted up, resting somewhat unstably, and then trying to untie the rope, and somehow knocking the rifle down so the barrel pointed at Hunter while the rope, looped around a branch or some protruding part of the stand, was pulled, and pulling the trigger.

  6. avatar Kman says:

    I hate it when my possessed firearms turn on me like that.
    Prayers for the ignorant boy and I hope this was a teachable moment.

  7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Obviously not a mil-spec trigger.

  8. avatar daveinwyo says:

    I don’t know. Cabelas sells a fancy strap to tie to your firearm to pull it up into the stand. ?? String in the trigger guard? Really dedicated idiot?

  9. avatar Patrick H says:

    He climbed into a tree without the safety on??
    Are we sure this wasn’t a suicide attempt.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      And why hoist the gun with a round in the chamber?

      I was wondering how did our genius of the masses manage to shoot himself in the thigh and abdomen with a long arm.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        “I was wondering how did our genius of the masses manage to shoot himself in the thigh and abdomen with a long arm.”

        Speculation – He didn’t want to ding up his new suppressor, so the gun was facing muzzle upwards as he was pulling it up the tree…

        1. avatar Dan in Detroit says:

          the solution to not wanting to ding up your suppressor is simply to buy more suppressors.
          once they’ve all got chips in the finish, stains from melting bench carpet, etc, you kind of just get over it and treat them like normal wear and tear is normal.
          If you want it to look like a safe queen, leave it in the safe.

  10. avatar kahlil says:

    One news outlet reports it was a single 6.5 Creedmoor round – so powerful and fast it was able to fire itself twice.

    1. avatar TomC says:

      Regardless of caliber, IF this occurred while the idiot was trying to hoist up his rifle after climbing into the tree stand, it is just possible that his two bullet wounds (thigh and abdomen) might actually be just one shot — a round coming up from below through the thigh and into the abdomen of the idiot while he was bent over pulling up the gun.

      It doesn’t reduce the stupidity required, but it would make more sense than managing to shoot himself in the thigh and in the abdomen with two separate shots while sitting or standing in a tree stand.

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        I could see this. Maybe, sounds better than 2 rounds.

      2. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Anybody that stupid probably can’t do the math to figure out if they were hit by one bullet passing through twice or if they were hit by two bullets.

      3. avatar Kahlil says:

        Stupid jokes aside, my thinking was along the same line, the possibility of one round rather than an accidental double tap.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Impossible – nobody takes 2 Creedmoor rounds and lives. It’s like eating 50 eggs, just can’t be done.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        Or drinking a gallon of whole milk in under an hour.

        I wonder if the band ‘Creed’ shoots 6.5 Creedmoor?

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          My boy says he can eat 50 eggs, he can eat 50 eggs!

      2. avatar Elaine D. says:

        I hate to break this to you, but not only can it be done, it has been done. 120 eggs in 8 minutes.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Cool Hand
          Says I’m a man
          who can eat
          50 eggs…

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Of course, Paw wasn’t the first to channel Cool Hand Luke.

        3. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          “I hate to break this to you, but not only can it be done, it has been done.”

          My *hero*, Asian phenom Sonja “The Widowmaker” Thomas.

          But she came in second behind Joey “Knumb-Nuts”..


      3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        For any Disturbed fans out there, I found this to be somewhat amusing.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Not to be confused with Ted Hawkins…

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        3. avatar Elaine D. says:


          Every single one of these videos made my day.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          @Elaine, life’s too short to listen to depressing music.

    3. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      No, no, no.

      The 6.5 Creedmoor is so powerful it travels back in time. That is how he was able to shoot himself twice.

  11. avatar Matthew says:

    Shot himself twice? Does anyone think that maybe he was shot by someone else that they’re trying to cover for?

    1. avatar jakee308 says:

      Bro2 was checking out his new sight and whoopsie there goes his bro1 out of the stand.

      “just tell them you did it yourself. They can’t put you in jail but they can me. C’mon I’d do it for you! It’s just a scratch you’ll be fine.’

      That’s if Bro1 is conscious. If not then bro2 is sitting up by his bed at the hospital 24/7

      Yeah. That makes more sense. There was a Wyoming Game Warden fiction book out with that as a premise. (I forget the author and the Game Warden’s name)

    2. avatar Sprocket says:

      Never underestimate the capabilities of motivated morons.

  12. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    (you’d be surprised how often I’ve heard “I’m not gonna pull it, I just like to mess with it while I sit there”)

    Kat, I apologise in advance, but are you sure they were talking about a trigger?

    1. avatar Kat Ainsworth says:

      I walked right into that one…

      Annnnd now I’m scarred for life. LOL

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        “Honest, mom! I was just cleaning it and it went off!”

        *running away, -fast-*

  13. avatar RMS1911 says:

    “Hunter Scales was sitting in a deer stand in Southern Oklahoma last weekend when his semi automatic rifle went off twice, hitting him in the stomach and thigh.”
    There’s no way that works out unless it was attempted suicide.

  14. avatar Matt o says:

    Binary trigger?

  15. avatar arc says:

    I see a comic in this… anthropomorphic rifle shoots hunter twice, buttstrokes him out of his treenest.

  16. avatar Danny Mann says:

    If shit were brains, he’d be a genius. 🤯

  17. avatar RGP says:

    I remember an old painting of some guy and the eyes would follow you around the room. Maybe his rifle is like that.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Mine will put casings down the neck of people who make fun of what I’m wearing in training programs. It’s happened more than once.

      1. avatar RGP says:

        Outstanding. I’d pay extra for a rifle that does that consistently.

  18. avatar Hannibal says:

    Yup, that’s definitely what happened and it just so happened his brother was nearby, good luck there.

    Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

    As to the “Assault Rifle” stuff, a lot of hunters and conservation officials have a hard on against ARs so they’ll spout nonsense just like politicians.

    1. avatar Kman says:

      I wish there was a way to follow up with the kid and his brother.
      I’d be willing to bet my house that neither of these mouth breathers that experienced an AR firing 2 rounds with no human error will relinquish ownership of these defective killing devices.

      Just admit it when you f#@k up.

  19. Sounds double, no, triple suspicious….An mysterious shooting event, a gun control event—in a supposedly [email protected] state, I DON’T buy either viewpoints! Sounds overly funky to me …

  20. avatar Tony HRrus says:

    I read an article that stated that the guys rattling antlers fell / dropped onto the rifle.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      That, combined with his “Oops, I had the safety off” excuse, would constitute an explanation had he accidentally shot the ground. It hardly explains how he managed to shoot himself. Twice.

      This is what I hate about media coverage on firearms, apart from the misuse of terminology, and the relentless agenda-pushing: missing the real questions and misjudging the adequacy of proffered explanations. Then again, I’m sure that’s not unique to media reporting on firearms.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Let’s consider what we know, here. He managed to hit himself, twice? Damn fine shooting, but how many rounds did he fire?

  21. avatar SoBe says:

    Now we are screwed. The media let the cat out of the bag that our evil black rifles aim and shoot themselves, they are full semiautomatic after all. Now they are going to want to ban them.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Actually, they already wanted to ban them, and everything else.

  22. avatar The Rookie says:

    Hrm, it shot a friendly twice and then dropped itself on the ground.

    I wonder if it was a French rifle?

  23. avatar jimmy james says:

    “After it pointed itself a the hapless hunter, Hunter.”

    At maybe?

  24. avatar jakee308 says:

    I can see how it would be possible to shoot oneself in the foot or thigh if one is a complete moron.

    How does someone shoot themselves in their stomach? How do you physically hold the firearm WITH YOUR FINGER ON THE TRIGGER pointed at your stomach and then pull that trigger.

    Maybe he shot his thigh first and the shock made him lose his grip and he fired it again as his finger was trapped in the guard?

    Personally, I believe that anyone that shoots themselves should be denied ever owning a firearm ever again. Or maybe 10 hiatus. Haven’t you snerked to yourself when you read someone shot themselves while ‘cleaning’ their firearm?

    And this one takes the cake. Tough kid though to get shot twice and fall 25 feet. Maybe he should join the Marines or Army. They could teach him better trigger control.

  25. avatar Kap says:

    Ya can’t cure Stupid! Those damn firearms anyway; funny how they just start going off on their own, bet he was hugging his rifle too hard and it was just trying too get some breathing room! Really!
    Hope recovery is near, and in future Observes the rules!

  26. avatar Shawn says:

    Sounds more likely he was hoisting his rifle into the stand loaded and chambered with the muzzle up. Trigger got hung on something. Also, the OK CO never advised against hunting with an AR. Yellow journalism.

  27. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Gorramit, if I’ve told you people once, it’s 666 times: stay away from “forged in hellfire lowers.”

  28. avatar enuf.istoomuch says:

    That’s not an assault rifle. Find me a NAVY SEAL who would pick that sporting gun to take into some miserable shithole in Afbadassistan to politely ask the Taliban to please not blow up women and children and maybe I’d change my mind. That’s a AR15, built for sport shooting, not war fighting.

    Hunter’s injuries are his own damned fault. If your own gun shoots you, you did it to yourself.

    One thing about climbing anything with a gun, unload it and make it safe. Don’t care if it’s over a fence or up a ladder or a tree. Unless you are that soldier fighting the Taliban, make your gun safe before climbing with it and that means get all the ammo out.

    When you are secure again, harnessed to the tree or whatever, or standing upon firm ground, make your gun ready to kill Bambi’s relative.

    Even then you still follow the basic rules. Safe direction, safety on, mind on your business.

    When you climb down, again, first thing to do is make the gun safe and empty.

    Simple rule I learned from my NRA Hunter Safety instructor almost fifty years ago. As wise then as it is today.

    You’d think a hunter named Hunter would have more sense.

  29. avatar Steve Day says:

    It doesn’t take Det.Columbo to work out the brother – the one who was conveniently “nearby” and called an ambulance – was the dipshit who was messing around with the rifle and shot his brother.

  30. avatar Frank B says:

    Maybe the kid said he used “a salt rifle” since all his pepper was on the mashed potatoes

  31. avatar Henry Braud says:

    The conservation officer said, assault rifles are more complex and have many more moving parts?? Another “expert” talking nonsense when he should be keeping his mouth closed!

  32. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    Unsurprisingly, the news channel misrepresents the interview. The ODoW officer does not, in fact, “warn against hunting with assault rifles.” He simply states that you should be properly cautious and trained, as with any gun. He does make it least one iffy assertion, that assault rifles are more complicated and have more moving parts than other rifles. They don’t have any more moving parts than any other average semi-automatic rifle, and fewer than some.

  33. avatar VieteranGunsmith says:

    This story strains credulity. No way unless this kid was a contortionist could he have shot himself with an AR-15, especially in the abdomen and the thigh. Falling out of the tree maybe, but this seems out of sequence in the way Channel 4 reported it. It also seems too convenient his brother was nearby when it happened. A more likely scenario would be if the brother spotted a deer on the move and fired without care for who might be on the other side of that animal. This story just has the ring of BS. The incident bears further investigation, that’s for certain.

  34. avatar Jamie Hamilton says:

    Clearly some people should not be hunting at all unless they have had hunters education. Also, some hunters shouldn’t be allowed to hunt even though they’ve had hunters ed. I understand accidents happen but come on. It never fails to see this happen time and time again because someone was negligent on taking safety seriously.

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