Wildlife officials say Thomas Alexander, 66, was hunting alone in northern Arkansas on Tuesday when he spotted a buck in the bush. Alexander shot the buck with a muzzleloader, then approached it.
“I don’t know how long he left it there, but he went up to check it to make sure that it was dead, and evidently it wasn’t,” said Keith Stephens, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Stephens told local station KY3 that the buck turned on Alexander and attacked him with its antlers.
“It got back up, and he had several puncture wounds on his body,” Stephens said.
Alexander managed to call for help with his phone and he was later rushed to hospital, where he died.
“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 says it’s unclear whether Alexander died of the puncture wounds or a heart attack.
Stephens did not specify whether the deer survived.
Stephens told Newsweek in a separate interview that this is the first goring-related fatality of the hunting season.
“Last year we had three fatal accidents, all while deer hunting,” he said.
The Game and Fish Commission says hunters should ensure that an animal is not moving for at least 30 minutes before approaching it.