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Hunter dies after ‘scuffle’ with deer he shot

Updated: November 16, 2011 2:45PM

(ALBION, Ind.) Authorities believe a Fort Wayne man died after his liver was lacerated during a “scufffle” with a deer he shot in an Indiana state park.

Paul J. Smith, 62, died Monday while participating in the deer reduction hunt at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Albion, Ind., a release from the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources said.

An autopsy by the Noble County Coroner’s office ruled the death was due to a lacerated liver, possibly from an encounter the hunter had with a deer he shot.

Smith called his son shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday and left a voice message that he’d shot a buck. But when Smith’s son returned the call about 10:30 a.m., Smith told him that after descending from his treestand to field dress and tag the deer, he discovered the deer was still alive, the release said.

Smith told his son he “scuffled” with the deer before killing it with a knife.

Park officials were called by Smith to help in taking the deer to the check-in station.

A park employee who went to get the deer notified park officials after finding Smith unconscious and seated against a tree.

Chain O’Lakes property manager Sam Boggs and Officer Darren Reed attempted to revive Smith with a portable debibrillator but got no response. They began CPR until EMS first responders arrived but he was pronounced dead at the scene, the release said.

The coroner’s autopsy revealed lacerations on Smith’s liver that were in line with internal bruising, the release said. Conservation officers closed the investigation after receiving the autopsy results.

Chain O’ Lakes is located in northeastern Indiana, about 40 miles southeast of South Bend and 15 miles north of Fort Wayne.

Albion is about 144 miles east of Chicago.

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