A Dunedin man believes a stray bullet found embedded in his deck could have had fatal consequences.
John Elliott was stunned to discover the projectile sticking out of his Mosgiel hardwood deck on Sunday.
''This scares the hell out of me.''
The deck had been a popular place in recent days for family members, including grandchildren, and he was thankful no-one was there when the bullet landed.
''I think it would have been fatal,'' he said.
Mr Elliott stands on the deck of his house where the bullet was found.
He had not heard any shots, but had his own theory on the bullet's origins.
''Some muppet has failed to determine his background, and it's come clear over the hill, from behind us,'' Mr Elliott said, of the area towards Saddle Hill.
''I am a responsible hunter myself and I would be devastated if my stupidity had caused harm to someone else.''
He believed the bullet may have come from a .308 hunting rifle, and ''my personal feeling is someone may have fired towards a ridgeline and it has carried on over and come on down''.
His shock discovery had been reported to police, who investigated the scene and removed the bullet last night.
''The projectile was in remarkably good condition,'' he said.
Sergeant Kevin Davidson, of Mosgiel, told the Otago Daily Times the bullet was a public safety issue.
''The consequences could have been very serious,'' he said.
The bullet potentially came from the direction of Saddle Hill.
''We have had reports of people poaching up there,'' he said.
''It looks like a stray shot and there does not appear to be any malice involved.''
The incident served as a reminder for firearm users to be aware of their responsibilities, including identifying their firing zone.
''And with this time of year being duck-shooting, we ask people to be aware of the safety requirements when using a firearm,'' he said.
Two injuries were reported on Saturday during opening weekend for duck-shooting.
A 44-year-old Wairarapa man was injured in the elbow following an accidental shotgun blast.
A member of his group was charged with careless use of a firearm and appeared in court yesterday.
In the second incident, a man near Glenorchy suffered minor injuries from shotgun pellets.