Thomas Alexander, 66, was hunting from a blind during Arkansas’ muzzle-loader season, when officials say he took aim at a buck and shot the animal. Authorities are still in the process of piecing together what happened next, but they say they believe Alexander thought the animal was dead, and got down from his blind to check on his kill.
The animal was not dead.
At about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Alexander called a family member and told them that he was injured. That family member called 911.
Authorities at the scene found Alexander with puncture wounds to his body, consistent with having been gored by a buck’s antlers.
“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,” said Keith Stephens, the Chief of Communications for Arkansas‘ State Department of Fish and Game.
Alexander was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died a short time later. As of this writing, an autopsy has not been performed; one is scheduled to determine if it was indeed the puncture wounds that caused the man’s death.
However, a conflicting report, via Springfield, Missouri’s KY3, says that there will not be an autopsy. Stephens said that it is his understanding that there won’t be an autopsy.
Stephens says that, in his lengthy career in animal management, he’s never seen or heard of anything like this.
“I’ve worked for the Game and Fish Commission for 20 years, and it’s one of the stranger things that’s happened,” he said.
However, it is not the first time that an Arkansas hunter has been killed by a buck. Back in 2016, a bow hunter was gored by a buck. Unfortunately, the animal’s antlers punctured one of the man’s arteries, and he later died.
Officials remind hunters to wait at least 30 minutes after they’ve struck an animal, to make sure it is dead beyond all doubt.
According to Wide Open Spaces, hunting is not without its risk of injuries or death, but in almost all cases, those casualties are the result not of the quarry, but of other hunters, or the hunters’ own failures. The most common types of hunting-season injuries include weapons malfunctions, being shot by other hunters, or falling from hunting blinds. In fact, nearly one in three hunters will experience a serious fall at least once in their hunting lives, says the magazine.