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Paul Smith, Indiana Hunter, Dies After Encounter With Deer He Shot

First Posted: 11/16/11 06:57 PM ET Updated: 11/16/11 06:57 PM ET

A hunter in Indiana died this week after an unusual encounter with a deer he shot.

Paul J. Smith, 62, died from a lacerated liver while he was participating in a deer reduction hunt at Chain O'Lakes State Park near Fort Wayne, Indiana.

After shooting a deer from a tree stand, Smith allegedly attempted to field dress the animal and discovered it was still alive. Smith told his son in a voicemail before his death that "he scuffled with the deer before killing it with a knife," according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Smith called park officials several hours later asking for help transporting the deer carcass. A park ranger soon found Smith unconscious at the base of a tree, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Despite officials' initial attempts to revive Smith with CPR and a portable defibrillator, medics later pronounced him dead at the scene. According to WANE News, "An autopsy showed lacerations on Smith's liver that were in line with internal bruising."

A Department of Natural Resources spokesperson told Fort Wayne's Journal Gazette, "It appears as if he was kicked. There were no puncture wounds of any kind. There was bruising."

A new state law in nearby Michigan now allows children under 12, with adult supervision, to participate in the annual deer hunt. Even so, deer hunting is down in the state. HuffPost reported that over 300,000 fewer hunting licenses were issued last year in Michigan than in 1992, while the deer population has grown significantly.

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Filed by James Gerken  |