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Lake life

Hunters die tragically

We talk hunting safety all the time. Yet things like this still happen, and more often than not, they happen to veteran hunters. Think ahead. Be safe. Take nothing for granted. All accidents don’t happen with a gun.

Today, we read of a deer hunter in Arkansas that was trailing a buck he shot with a muzzleloader was apparently attacked and later died from those injuries, according to an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission investigation.

Just last week, a Louisiana hunter in Sabine Parish died after officials say he appears to have stumbled on a tree stump and hit the metal ladder on his deer stand. The hunter appears to have struck his head Sunday on the lowest rung of the ladder after tripping on a stump. He was found dead at the bottom of the deer stand when relatives went to check on him after he didn’t respond to repeated phone calls.

The deer attack leaves many unanswered questions.

“I’ve worked for the Game and Fish Commission for 20 years, and it’s one of the stranger things that’s happened,” said Keith Stephens, the Chief of Communications with the agency.

Officials said 66-year-old Thomas Alexander shot a buck with a muzzleloader while hunting near Yellville.

“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,” Stephens said.

Stephens said that is when the deer attacked.

“It got back up, and he had several puncture wounds on his body,” he said.

The agency reported Alexander was by himself but able to call his family, who called emergency responders. He later passed away at the hospital.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said it is unclear whether Alexander died from those puncture wounds, or from another cause, like a heart attack.

“It’s my understanding there’s not going to be an autopsy, so we may never know what actually happened,” Stephens said.

The chief of communications said the only other time something like this happened was in Ashley County.

“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.”

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said it’s important for hunters to make sure the deer is not moving for about 30 minutes before approaching it.

“When you get up there, be really careful around it because it may not be dead. But if you let them lay there for a while and they don’t move, and he may have done that. We just don’t know,” he said.

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