msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/16/2011 6:23:56 PM ET 2011-11-16T23:23:56

An Indiana hunter has died after struggling with a buck he had just shot at a state park, park officials said Wednesday.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says Paul J. Smith of Fort Wayne died Monday during a deer reduction hunt at Chain O'Lakes State Park, northwest of the city.

According to the Noble County coroner, the death was due to a lacerated liver, possibly suffered during a struggle with the buck, the agency reported in its release.

Conservation Officer Erick Bolt says Smith, 62, called his son and left a message saying he had shot a buck. When the son called back, Smith told him the deer, which was still alive, attacked him before he could kill it with a knife.

Smith also called park officials with a cell phone at about 12:30 p.m. to request help in transporting the deer to a check-in station.

A park employee who went to retrieve the buck found Smith sitting against a tree. He could not revive him, according to media reports.

Chain O’Lakes property manager Sam Boggs and Officer Darren Reed tried to revive the man with a portable defibrillator but were unsuccessful, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the release.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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