BOISE -- An Idaho Falls man had his leg amputated above the knee after a hunting accident in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains.
Curtis Jaussi was bear hunting with his best friend, Carson Beattie, when an accident left Jaussi with a leg wound.
Jaussi was in the middle of bear country alone, while Beattie tried to get help.
Beattie and Jaussi have been friends since they were kids.
Carson and his dad introduced Curtis to the love of hunting when he was a little boy, said Colette Jaussi, Curtis' wife.
They go on a spring bear hunt every year, a tradition they continued this year.
We'd been on our bear hunt for two or three days and we were actually just going to come home. But we were going to drive along the river and see if we could see a bear before we came home, said Beattie. We saw a bear and Curtis shot it. And so we were hiking up to the mountain to get his bear.
It was last Saturday morning and something they never expected happened. The gun in Jaussi's backpack discharged hitting him in the leg.
That's when things got pretty crazy and hectic really fast, said Beattie.
Beattie made him a tourniquet and went to get help. He said Jaussi was alone, bleeding, and going in and out of consciousness for about two hours.
We struggled to get the helicopter to him because it was too steep, said Beattie. We actually had to cut down some trees to get to him.
Beattie said first responders couldn't even land the helicopter. They had to hover while they loaded Jaussi on board.
The paramedics and the Forest Service guys that helped us, they were just amazing. And Curtis was amazing. He stayed strong and just fought so hard to stay alive, Beattie said.
In the mean time, Colette was back in Idaho Falls when she got the terrible call.
Colette said a dispatcher called her and told her Curtis was involved in an accident. She burst into tears, fearing the worst. Curtis was at Saint Alphonsus in Boise. That is when her in-laws and herself headed for the Treasure Valley as quickly as they could.
It was the longest four hours of my life to get here, said Colette.
Colette admits she worries when her husband goes hunting. However, she said he is a very experienced hunter.
Curtis is a very educated hunter. He's very careful in what he does, said Colette. We recently had a friend comment that when he goes out with Curtis, Curtis is the safest hunter he's ever been around. And so this was purely an unfortunate accident.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says this is a good reminder about the importance of hunter safety and hunter education.
Hunter safety started back again in the '70s after accidents were more and more common, said Fish and Game Chief of Law Enforcement, Jon Heggen. What we have seen though since the hunter safety program and hunter education program has been mandatory, that hunting accidents have gone down, both in Idaho and nationally.
Heggen said now they average about seven hunting accidents a year. When he started with Idaho Fish and Game about 30 years ago, he would investigate seven accidents a year himself. That's in additional to the investigations conducted by other officers.
After rehabilitation, Curtis will walk again with a prosthetic. Colette said they're grateful to those who've helped their family, including the first responders that day. She said he will hunt again.
That is one of his passions in life and that's what's going to make him happy. And so of course he's going to continue to go hunting, she said.