Hunter Dies After Deer He Shot Attacked Him: Officials

October 24, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

A hunter in Arkansas died after being attacked by a deer he shot.

Thomas Alexander, 66, shot the deer while hunting near Yellville. He went up to the animal to make sure it was dead, and was attacked.

“I don’t know how long he left it there, but he went up to check it to make sure it was dead. And evidently it wasn’t,” Keith Stephens, the chief of communications for the state Game and Fish Commission, told KY3.

“It got back up, and he had several puncture wounds on his body,”

Alexander initially survived the attack and called his family, who directed emergency responders to his location.

But after being rushed to the hospital, he passed away.

Stephens said an autopsy will likely not happen. It wasn’t clear whether Alexander died from the wounds he suffered or from a heart attack, or another cause.

“It’s my understanding there’s not going to be an autopsy, so we may never know what actually happened,” Stephens said.

Alexander was a veteran hunter who was sitting in an elevated deer stand, Stephens told ABC.

“It appears he shot the deer and he had put his rifle down near the deer stand and walked down to check and make sure it was dead. And that’s when whatever happened, happened,” Stephens said. “Our assumption is the deer did gore him with his antlers.”

Officials haven’t yet found the deer, Stephens said.

A hunter holds a gun in an illustration. (Illustration – Shutterstock)

Hunters should wait around half-an-hour to approach animals they shoot, Stephens told KY3.

“When you get up there, be really careful around it because it may not be dead. But if you let them lay there for a while and they don’t move, and he may have done that. We just don’t know,” he said.

It wasn’t clear whether Alexander waited the recommended time before checking on the deer.

Injuries from wounded deer are not uncommon, Corp. Joe Dale Purdom from the Game and Fish Commission told CNN. Usually, deer that are not dead run away when hunters approach them, sometimes injuring the hunters while jumping up from the ground.

He recommended waiting at least 15 minutes before approaching a wounded dead.

Purdom noted that Alexander was an experienced hunter and said the accident was probably not from poor hunting practices.

Stephens told Newsweek that the goring was the first fatality of the season. Last season, one person fell from a deer stand, one person was shot after being mistaken for a deer, and the other was a self-inflicted wound.

“The average number of incidents over the past five years is almost 19, while deer hunting,” he said. “During that time period, we have had 11 fatalities. Out of the total of 94 accidents during that five-year period, 63 of those were falls from elevated deer hunting stands with five of those falls resulting in fatalities.”

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