The Austin American Statesman is reporting that Whittington was hit with around 100 pellets.
A 28-gauge shell only has about 300 pellets in it. This absolutely does not square with the “thirty yards” bit we’ve been fed earlier. Overnight observation is one thing, too, but Whittington is by all accounts still hospitalized three days later. If you hit someone with 1/3 of the load in as tight a pattern as his injuries suggest (lower face, chest, left shoulder), and he’s in the hospital for days on end, well, your unfortunate hunting parter was substantially closer than 30 yards.