Sunday morning, Nov. 13th started as a normal opening weekend day of deer season in Missouri. Before the day was up, it would first be shrouded in mystery and then become a tragedy.
A gentleman named Phillip Carnell of Sikeston, Missouri was dropped off at his hunting spot near the Current River in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways National Park. It appears he walked through the snow to his hunting spot in temperatures that were well below freezing. Sometime in the coming hours, he discharged his rifle, presumably wounding a deer.
It appears he leaned his rifle against a tree and started tracking the deer. Somewhere around this time, while tracking the animal, he somehow became lost and phoned his friend, saying he was turned around and his phone was going dead. It was the last time that he would be heard from.
His friend contacted the local authorities, and a widespread search began. In the coming hours and days, people from all over the state began to search the area where he was last seen. People used horses, drones and helicopters to search the extremely wooded area in hopes of finding any trace of where he might have gone. Eventually, they would find some of his equipment near where he had been hunting.
It is said his rifle and some other gear were found near each other, as well as a blood trail presumed to be from a deer. He was hunting an area called a slough, which is a backwater area from a large body of water. His body was found early Wednesday morning on an island in the slough. It is presumed that while tracking the deer, he slid down a ditch into some water and got wet. With temperatures during the day being below freezing, and at night being well below freezing, a person can quickly become hypothermic.
This is a sad loss for Mr. Carnell’s family friends and the city of Sikeston. His family has asked that everyone respect their privacy in their time of grieving. Everyone that was involved in the rescue efforts did an exceptional job and worked well together. Their family thanked everyone who was involved.
This was a tragedy, and with every tragedy, we should look at what can be learned from the situation. Even an experienced hunter can get into trouble. Before you step into the woods, you should make sure you are prepared for the environment and weather that you will encounter.
Be familiar with the area you will be hunting in. Always make sure someone knows where you will be hunting and when to expect your return. This man seemed to do everything right, and it still ended in tragedy. Please remember to always be as prepared as possible. I wish everyone a wonderful week and happy Thanksgiving.