(TMU) — An Arkansas hunter has wound up dead after the deer he shot got back up and attacked him.
The 66-year-old man was reportedly killed around 6:30 pm on Tuesday while hunting in Yellville, Arkansas, according to officials.
Thomas Alexander, the now deceased hunter, shot the buck using a muzzleloader before approaching it. Keith Stephens, Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, explained:
“He apparently went over to the buck and it got up and attacked him.”
After the attack, Alexander, who was alone at the time, phoned his wife and was eventually transported to the hospital sometime after 8:00 pm. While being transported to a helicopter that was going to take him to a hospital, the hunter stopped breathing. He was then driven to the hospital by ambulance instead.
Upon arrival to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Alexander was pronounced dead. Details about the man’s exact cause of death have not been released. While hospital officials have reported that he did indeed have puncture wounds, he may have ultimately died from a heart attack or other complications. According to a spokesperson, it is unlikely that autopsy will be performed to determine the man’s exact cause of death.
“I’ve worked for the Game and Fish Commission for 20 years, and it’s one of the stranger things that’s happened,” Stephens said.
He is reminding hunters to wait about 30 minutes after shooting a deer before approaching it because “it may not be dead.” While it may be possible that Alexander did in fact wait before approaching the buck, “we just don’t know.” Stephens doesn’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.”
According to Quality Deer Management Association, hunters “shot nearly 2.9 million antlered bucks and over 2.8 million antlerless deer in 2017-18.” While hunting injuries and deaths happen each year, statistics on how many hunters are actually killed by the deer and other game being hunted aren’t widely available. The vast majority of deaths associated with hunting include falls from tree stands, firearm incidents, and heart attacks.
As it turns out, you are more likely to be killed by a deer than by sharks, bears, and alligators combined, according to Vox. But in the end, the odds of an animal killing you are one in about 1.4 million.
Stephens added that the only other time something similar happened to a hunter was in Ashley County, Arkansas.
“There was somebody that did get stuck by a buck’s antlers, and this was about four years ago. And it was pretty significant, but they did survive.”