Arkansas Hunter Gored by Buck, Later Dies at Hospital

The man died of what at first appeared to be puncture wounds all over his body. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Just three days into muzzle-loading season, 66-year-old Thomas Alexander had already dropped a buck in northern Arkansas. He planned to field dress the deer with his nephew, but those plans took a turn for the worse last Tuesday when he approached what he believed was a dead animal.

Not long after, Alexander’s nephew found him lying in the field with puncture wounds all over his body. He was cogent enough to call his wife, but stopped breathing on the way to the hospital, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and CNN.

The animal has not been recovered.

“I’ve worked for the Game and Fish Commission for 20 years, and it’s one of the stranger things that’s happened,” Keith Stephens, chief of communications, told Fox 8.

Arkansas authorities later announced that Alexander had pre-existing conditions that contributed to his death, but the incident should serve as a reminder for all deer hunters as rifle season gets underway in many states across the country.

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Injuries related to wounded deer are not uncommon, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Joe Dale Purdom told CNN.

Hunters will sometimes approach what they believe is a dead deer that is in reality only stunned or injured. Hunters will be struck or gored when the deer jumps up and runs away, but Purdom said he’s never seen someone die after the attack.

Best practice is to wait 15 to 30 minutes after the deer has gone down to make sure it’s dead, Purdom advised.

Stephens told Fox 8 that they aren’t sure how long Alexander waited before approaching the deer, but authorities say the man was an experienced hunter.   

“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.

He also reiterated Purdom’s advice to hunters who have just shot a deer.

“When you get up there, be really careful around it because it may not be dead,” Stephens said. “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.”

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Injuries related to deer attacks are relatively rare compared to other types of hunting-related accidents (tree stands, for example), but this isn’t the first time a whitetail has turned the tables on a would-be hunter.

In 2014, a Louisiana man nearly bled to death after he approached what he believed was a dead buck. He told local media that he’d waited about 15 minutes after taking his shot and thought he heard the large animal crash down in the woods.

But when he approached, the buck lunged toward him, gouged his thigh, and flung him to the ground. The man was able to keep the buck from gouging his chest and face until the buck eventually got tired and trotted off into the woods—with the man’s rifle strap looped around its horns.

The man was flown to the hospital and lived. He later found his rifle but never saw the buck again.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Luke March 3, 2020, 8:14 am

    we are fortunate to be able to carry a sidearm in our commonwealth for just such an occasion so get out there and vote, change those unsensible gun laws!

  • Richard Fox November 8, 2019, 9:09 am

    I recall hearing that many years ago a motorcyclist in Western Ct was killed by a buck after he stopped to take pictures of deer in a field. As the punctures were in the lower back, the theory was that he was between the buck and the field of does he photographed.

  • The Bearded Pretender November 6, 2019, 12:51 pm

    Hahahaha….Priceless!

  • PB- dave November 6, 2019, 9:54 am

    If you know the animal has been hit, relax take a couple minutes before pushing an approach . ( sit down and light up a camel, that 5 minutes is just about right ). Approach a downed side lying antlered animal from the top and back, stepping on the grounded antler and placing a grip on the up antler. any sudden rise or movement gives you time and distance to avoid being gored. Since a larger animal(elk) could give you a good fling, best practice is to look it over from a distance first and assess wound…..

  • Fuzzy1949 November 5, 2019, 1:58 pm

    I would NOT quote CNN as a source ever. They NEVER tell the truth and they have been known to manufacture “news?”. Worst thing anyone could do is believe anything said on CNN!

  • Nate November 5, 2019, 11:09 am

    “…with the man’s rifle strap looped around its horns.”

    Seriously? What did he shoot, a cow? Must not have been a deer.

  • Larry C. November 5, 2019, 8:00 am

    An extra shot into the neck from about 20 feet is good insurance against such incidents. The animal is dead for certain then. It only costs a few cents for the extra shot.

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