Samson is now recovering at the vet after a four-hour emergency surgery. (Darren Nixon)

A Comox Valley man is warning dog-owners to keep their pets close during deer hunting season after his beloved pup was shot by a hunter.

Darren Nixon of Courtenay says he let his dog outside when he returned home from work Tuesday evening. Samson was only out for a few minutes when Nixon went to check on him.

“I got up and went to run outside and I wasn’t outside for more than five or 10 seconds when I heard a shot,” Nixon told CTV News.

The truck driver threw his boots on and ran down to the fence line of his rural property on Headquarters Road. He says he was about a half-kilometre from his house when he found his three-and-a-half-year-old dog, alive but seriously injured.

“I’m quite good about keeping my dog on the leash during hunting season,” Nixon said. “Something probably caught his nose and he took off into the bush.”

Samson is now recovering at the vet after a four-hour emergency surgery.

“They took out about two inches of his small intestine and recovered five [shotgun] pellets,” Nixon said. At last count, the vet bill was estimated at $3,500, he added.

The Courtenay man said he sees hunters in the bush near his home regularly this time of year.

“Keep your dog on a leash during hunting season,” he warned others. “They will not hesitate to shoot”

Hunting season for black-tailed deer on Vancouver Island runs from Sept. 10 to Dec. 10.

Nixon said he reported the shooting to police. The Comox Valley RCMP have not yet responded to a request for comment on whether or not they are investigating.