A bowhunter in northwestern Oregon died on Saturday after being gored in the neck by a wounded bull elk.
Mark David, 66, from Hillsboro, Or., was bow hunting on private land in the vicinity of Tillamook, Or., when he hit a 5×5 bull elk but was unable to recover the animal before nightfall, according to the Oregon State Police.
David and the landowner found the bull the next morning around 9:15am. But when David tried to kill the elk with his bow, it charged and gored the hunter in the neck with its antlers. The landowner attempted to save David but was unsuccessful. Local emergency services responded, but David died of his injuries.
David had been hunting on the first day of archery season in Oregon.
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Oregon State Police did not indicate where the elk had been hit or how close David was when he attempted to take it down. But the fact that the hunter found the elk the next morning indicates the animal was wounded badly enough to keep it in the area but not badly enough to kill it overnight.
Authorities were able to find the bull, kill it, and donate its meat to Tillamook County Jail the next day.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources recommends a bow hunter wait at least 30 minutes before starting the search for an elk. If the animal has been gut shot, the agency says to wait at least six hours.
Once a hunter has located the elk, the KY DFWR advises the hunter to approach the animal from above and behind the head. Hunters should wait a short distance away and look for signs of life—a rising and falling chest cavity or eye movement.
An elk is likely dead if its eyes don’t blink when touched, according to the KY DFWR.
If the animal is still alive, Hunter-Ed.com recommends shooting the animal again. If rifle hunting, another shot to the base of the ear or heart/lung area should be sufficient. If bow hunting, a hunter should place another arrow in the heart/lung area.
Elks are generally shy and rarely injure hunters, but a rutting elk can be dangerous, according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
“Bowhunting is all about getting close, but if you get in the way of an 800-pound, testosterone-soaked animal, you could be toast,” the organization says on its website.
It’s unclear whether the elk David shot was in the rut. The rutting seasons generally don’t begin until early September, according to the National Park Service. More likely, the animal charged because it was wounded.