53-year-old Thomas Mech was deer hunting with his brother in Monkton, Maryland. After climbing down from a tree stand, Mech reached for his shotgun and unintentionally shot himself above his left knee. Mech was flown to the hospital in Baltimore where he spent 11 days and underwent a number of surgeries to help save his leg. He still faces more surgery and expects to be in rehabilitation for six months to a year.
Mech says that the accident has given him a new perspective on hunting. "I always believed that as long as I made a good clean kill, the deer didn't suffer. I believe now they do suffer. They feel what I felt. The difference is that I got picked up and taken to the hospital."
"I remember everything," he added. "It was immense pain. I looked down and saw big chunks of bone and muscle tore up and I yelled for my brother. I reached down in my fanny pack and I took out my hoodie and shoved it in the hole in my pants leg and waited for him."
Mech considers himself lucky he wasn't shot int he femoral artery which could have led to his bleeding out in minutes. He is reevaluating how and if he continues hunting.
"I'm not rushing to get back into the woods," he said.