An Arkansas hunter died Tuesday after a deer he shot attacked him, a spokesperson for the state's game and fish commission told BuzzFeed News.
Thomas Alexander, 66, was hunting in woods near his home of Yellville in northern Arkansas, near the Missouri border, on Tuesday and shot a buck, or a male deer, at approximately 6:30 p.m. When he approached the animal, it got up, attacked him, and ran away, said the commission's assistant chief of communications, Trey Reid, via email.
Alexander was able to call his wife at some point, and emergency medical services were contacted. Rescuers were able to retrieve him from the woods, but he stopped breathing and was pronounced dead upon arrival at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Although Alexander's exact cause of death is yet to be determined, the hospital noted a number of puncture wounds, likely from the buck's antlers.
"An attack of this nature is quite rare, but not unheard of," said Reid. "Our hunter education coordinator has been working in this field for more than three decades and knows of only one other incident when a deer has attacked a hunter after being shot in Arkansas. That hunter was seriously injured but survived."
Hunters in Arkansas must complete a mandatory education course and pass a test to receive a license. The classes recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before approaching a fallen deer.
Alexander's death is the first hunting-related fatality in Arkansas so far this season. There were three deaths during last year's hunting season: One victim sustained fatal injuries after a fall from an elevated deer stand, one was mistaken for a deer, and one suffered an accidental self-inflicted gunshot injury.
Reid told BuzzFeed News that more than half of deer hunting–related injuries in the state over the last five-year period have been falls from deer stands.
Keith Stephens, the chief of communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, told BuzzFeed News that the deer that attacked Alexander is still at large.
"We haven't found the deer," he said. "We've had two K-9 units in the area, but it's begun to rain in [the area of the attack], so that's hampered efforts."