A sad story that occurred yesterday involving a hunter is circulating. The Oregon State Police reported that a 66-year-old bowhunter, Mark Davis, from Hillsboro was killed by an elk on 8/30/2020. He was bowhunting elk on private property and wounded a 5×5 bull elk with his arrow on 8/29/2020. After attempting to locate the elk that evening, the hunter eventually called it a night as it got dark. The next morning at 9 am, the hunter and the landowner returned to track the elk. Locating it, the hunter drew his bow back to attempt to dispatch the wounded animal. The elk jumped up and gored the hunter with its antlers, injuring the hunter’s neck. The landowner attempted to help the hunter, but he succumbed to his injuries. The police later located the bull and killed it. The meat has been donated to inmates at the local jail.
This heartbreaking story serves as a reminder to everyone that any wounded animal we hunt can potentially be dangerous. The hunter who died did everything right as an ethical hunter. He tried to locate the bull. Unsuccessful, he retreated to let the bull pass away and came back first thing the next morning to find it. Stories like this are why many bowhunters have a CPL license and carry a sidearm, though, in Michigan, you cannot legally use the sidearm to dispatch a wounded deer or elk. The reports of the story do not state how close the hunter was when he tried to shoot the elk again.
This is also an example of why it is always important to carry a small trauma kit containing materials to stop bleeding with you whenever you are in the field. You can read more about assembling one here.
Be safe this fall, and never approach any animal unless you are sure it is dead. Hunt with a partner when possible, carry a sidearm, and always have a way to call for help.