Oregon Bowhunter Gored by Bull Elk in Neck and Killed

The elk that killed David was taken by law enforcement and donated to charity. (Photo: Oregon State Police)

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.

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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.

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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.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Clifford Milar October 7, 2020, 2:30 pm

    Every so often the game we hunt gets the upper hand. That’s the risk we take and accept in hunting big game. Condolences.

  • JAMES V MAZZARESE September 3, 2020, 12:22 pm

    Sorry to hear that. Condolences to family.
    That’s what makes hunting so exciting. BUT sometimes you eat the bear sometimes the bear eats you.

  • John September 2, 2020, 1:37 pm

    Hey Slim, you said , “ Only rich people shoot with a bow and arrow” . That’s so pathetically ignorant I don’t even know where to start. Go back to your basement and finish your meatless burger.

  • Slim September 1, 2020, 2:13 pm

    Karma is real and this proves that! I just wish I saw more of these stories where rich people(only rich people shoot with a bow and arrow!)get messed up or even killed by these poor animals that are just trying to live their lives! Killing defenseless animals is ONLY for sport or in reality for fun and that’s all it is! Passing grocery stores to make it to a super rural area costs money! So that ball have the money since tags aren’t free either and instead just WANT TO KILL something and that’s just sick! Hope his family is happy he went out instead of going to the grocery store! Bet mine of them will go out ever again in the rest of his family if their smart but i highly doubt they’d be smart since they are kin to the moron who got killed by a huge set of antlers! Karma!

    • just1spark September 1, 2020, 3:58 pm

      YES! People should get their meat from grocery stores and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.

      • David in MA September 17, 2020, 9:47 am

        Hey, just1spark, where and how do you think meat in a store comes from?

        • Ted September 17, 2020, 5:53 pm

          David in MA you totally and completely missed his sarcasm. He even signed it Biden 2020. Oh my goodness1 LOL

    • Hunter September 1, 2020, 8:21 pm

      Hey Slim ,it’s too bad you have to relish the fact that someone got killed here , you obviously don’t hunt and that you think he was hunting for sport , some of us do hunt for meat and the animals that roam free are healthier than store bought meat , don’t always assume all hunters just wanna kill something , now go eat your veggie burger .

    • Big Al 45 September 2, 2020, 12:52 pm

      You’re a pathetic excuse for a human being, perhaps ‘Karma’ will catch up to you for your attitude about others.

    • PEEWEE HENSON September 17, 2020, 11:29 am


  • Rattlerjake September 1, 2020, 2:13 pm

    Donated the meat to the county jail??? What a total waste. This should have been donated to a Christian charity or other that supports people who DESERVE a great meal. Prisoners should be fed bread and water!

  • KEVIN D MCCONNELL September 1, 2020, 5:55 am

    Ill have to show this to my kids to prove an injured animal is the most dangerous. Never assume it’s dead always approach them ready for anything to happen.

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