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Chatham County Hunter Shot, Left for Dead

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CHATHAM COUNTY — Hunters across North Carolina know that the woods of Chatham County hide plenty of deer. But they also hide plenty of danger, as one hunter discovered Thursday.

On the last day of deer hunting season, Shelby Smithey of Cary took all the right precautions, including wearing a blaze orange hat. He was still shot.

Officers say what really bothers them is that the shooter left Smithey out in the woods without calling for help.

Tom Miller was hunting when he found Smithey.

"I was getting within about a hundred yards of my stand and I heard someone yelling for help," Miller says. "He said he did not hear the shot, he just felt the impact."

According toWildlifeEnforcement Officer Reggie Barker, Smithey went to great lengths to care for himself.

"After he was shot, the hunter crawled or drug himself about 60 yards back up the hill towards his vehicle," Barker says.

Although Smithey did not make it to his vehicle, he did make it to the spot where Miller found him, with his leg uphill. "He had a tourniquet on it, so he was certainly taking care of himself," Miller says.

By the time rescuers arrived, Smithey had been losing blood from his shattered lower leg for almost three hours, and he was starting to feel the effects of the cold weather.

Officials say if Miller had not come along, Smithey probably would not have survived the night. He is listed in good condition at UNC Hospitals.

Officers think he was probably shot by someone up in a tree stand. They say when they find the person responsible, the shooter will be charged with Criminal Neglect Hunting.

Anyone with information about this hunting accident you're asked to call the Wildlife Hotline at1-800-662-7137.