On Friday night, the night watch took an odd turn when an allegedly intoxicated man confronted the turtle watchers. "He was saying things like, 'I hate sea turtles, I hate sea turtle people, you eff eff eff people are destroying my life, I hate you,'" Pannaman told the Sun Sentinel.ShutterstockThe man, who has been identified as Michael Q. McAuliffe, 38, then ran to a nearby nest, screaming, and began to tear down the sticks surrounding it and to kick at the area. He threw a punch at one volunteer when they warned him he was breaking the law, the New York Daily News reported, then set his sights on Pannaman.Pannaman, a Vietnam vet who uses a cane to walk, pulled out his gun to warn McAuliffe away, then placed it back in his pocket. But McAuliffe didn't stop. He reportedly tackled the former Marine, pushing him into the sand and punching him in the head.He then grabbed Pannaman's gun, which McAuliffe called a "flare gun," and tried to shoot Pannaman in the chest. The veteran pulled away just in time so the bullet hit his waist, sparing his life.ShutterstockFortunately, Pannaman survived and is recovering at home, while McAuliffe waits in jail facing multiple charges. But Pannaman says he doesn't regret anything, and will be back out protecting the turtles as soon as he can."Never in my wildest dreams did I think monitoring sea turtle nests was going to be a life-threatening experience," he told the Sun Sentinel.ShutterstockFlorida is a major nesting ground for five species of sea turtles; of those five species, one is threatened, two are endangered and two are critically endangered. Volunteers like Pannaman can make all the difference, as saving the life of even one sea turtle can be crucial to the species' survival.