An experienced hunter died in a freak accident on Tuesday after a deer he shot attacked him.
Thomas Alexander, 66, had just enough time to call his wife after he sustained several puncture wounds while hunting near Yellville, Arkansas, on Tuesday night.
The longtime sportsman had been hunting with a muzzleloader when he reportedly spotted a deer and fired, according to ABC News.
Authorities suspect that the animal survived Alexander’s initial shot, suffering an injury that only appeared fatal from a distance. The 66-year-old then climbed down from his elevated deer stand to inspect his prey, believing the deer to be dead.
“And that’s when whatever happened, happened,” Keith Stephens, the chief of communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, told ABC News.
“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.”
As he did so, officials believe the deer stood back up and attacked Alexander, goring him with its antlers.
In what officials are calling a bizarre incident, an Arkansas hunter was killed by a deer that he thought he had shot dead. https://t.co/0It5OQnnph
— ABC News (@ABC) October 24, 2019
According to CBS News, the hunter stopped breathing before he could be transported to a nearby hospital, despite the best efforts of first responders.
Officials found deer blood in the area, though by the time they arrived the animal itself had disappeared, ABC reported.
“We’re not sure that he died from the deer. It could have been other medical issues.” Stephens told CBS. “It’s my understanding that there’s not going to be an autopsy. The hospital did note that he had several puncture wounds.”
“Our assumption is the deer did gore him with his antlers,” he speculated, according to ABC.
Stephens explained that deer attacks of that nature are extremely rare, noting that he knows of only one similar occurrence in Arkansas, though in that case, the hunter survived.
“It’s strange. Probably the only time it ever happened,” Stephens told ABC.
Alexander was officially pronounced dead after arriving at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas, according to CBS. As authorities are unable to say for sure whether the deer was responsible, an official cause of death has not been released.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission sent two K-9 unit to explore the area in search of the deer, without any luck.
It is unknown whether the animal survived.
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