WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A hiker in Missouri was shot in the chest by a hunter after being mistaken for a turkey, according to the St. Charles County Police Department.
- Officials said the hiker was in serious condition after being shot and was eventually air-lifted to a trauma center.
- As of now, no charges have been made.
A hiker has been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after being shot by a hunter who mistook him for a turkey, according to officials.
The St. Charles County Police confirmed the incident in a post on Facebook, noting that it unfolded on Saturday just before 12:30 p.m. on the Lewis & Clark Trail.
A spokesperson with the St. Charles Ambulance District tells PEOPLE that the trail is located in the Weldon Spring Conservation Area off of Highway 94 and is “well-utilized” for hiking.
An initial investigation determined that the shooting was an accident.
Due to the “remote location of the incident” the St. Charles Ambulance District spokesperson says officials could only access the hiker using Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs).
An unidentified witness in the area told NBC affiliate KSDK of the victim, “He was covered with a yellow tarp. I could see … his torso. He didn’t have his shirt on, and [paramedics] were working on him.”
The “severity of the traumatic injury” prompted authorities to airlift the hiker to a nearby hospital, where he currently remains in a Level-One trauma center, per the spokesperson.
At this time, his condition remains unknown.
In Missouri, spring turkey hunting season runs from April 19 until May 9, just one day after the incident occurred, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The Lewis And Clark Trail has reportedly had an increase in human traffic since the pandemic, which has left many residents wondering whether it’s safe to also hunt in the area, according to KMOV.
St. Louis resident and hiker, Nancy Phillips, added to KSDK: “This is a freak accident, I think. I always purposely wear my bright colors, so no hunters mistake me for anything.”
An investigation of the incident is currently underway by the Missouri Department of Conservation, according to St. Charles County Police.
The Missouri Department of Conservation told KMOV that there are no immediate plans to make safety improvements, as these incidents rarely happen.