In a bizarre twist of fate, an Arkansas hunter was killed after a deer that he had just shot attacked him, according to reports. Wildlife officials said that Thomas Alexander, 66, had shot the buck using a muzzleloader while hunting near Yellville, Marion County.

According to Keith Stephens, Chief of Communications at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC)—which investigated the death—Alexander then approached the deer to check if he had killed it.

"I've worked for the Game and Fish Commission for 20 years, and it's one of the stranger things that's happened," Stephens told KY3. "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," he said.

Stephens said that the deer then attacked Alexander while the 66-year-old was inspecting the animal, leaving him with serious injuries. "It got back up, and he had several puncture wounds on his body," Stephens said.

Despite his injuries, Alexander was able to call his family who alerted emergency responders. He was subsequently rushed to hospital but medical staff were not able to save him.

Stephens said that Alexander's exact cause of death has not been determined. The injuries inflicted by the deer may have killed him, but another cause, like a heart attack, cannot be ruled out.

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

Cases like this are certainly rare, although Stephens does recall a similar incident occurring in Ashley County, Arkansas, a few years ago. But in that instance, the victim had luck on their side.

"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," he said.

The AGFC urges hunters to be careful when approaching deer which they have just shot, making sure to leave them for around half an hour to be certain that the animal is not still alive.

"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.

Deer are not normally aggressive animals, given that they prefer to flee from predators. However, they are known to become aggressive if they feel that their young are threatened.