A HUNTER shot a hiker in the chest over the weekend after mistaking them for a turkey along a wooded trail, police say.
Officers from the St. Charles County Police Department were summoned to the Lewis and Clark Trail in Missouri at around 12.30pm on Saturday after the male hiker was shot.
Rescue crews used utility vehicles to reach the injured hiker, who was eventually air-lifted to a nearby trauma center, local media reported.
Neither the wounded hiker nor the hunter who shot him have been identified by police.
The hiker was said to be in a serious condition "with life-threatening injuries."
He suffered a single gunshot to the chest, officials said. His current condition is not known.
The type of weapon used by the hunter wasn't clear, but witnesses described the man to be wielding a "large rifle."
A turkey hunt managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation was underway when the man was hit.
Near the entrance to the trail, only a sign indicated the managed turkey hunt was going on until 1pm, KSDK reported.
Nancy Phillips, of St. Louis, who said she regularly treks along the trail called the incident a "freak accident."
"This is a freak accident, I think," she told the network. "I always purposely wear my bright colors, so no hunters mistake me for anything."
Another witness, Rebecca Brown, said she had been running along the eight-mile trail loop when she happened upon the scene.
She arrived to find first responders tending a man on a stretcher who appeared to be unresponsive.
The victim was covered mostly with a yellow tarp and his t-shirt had been cut off.
A man dressed head-to-toe in camouflage and holding a large rifle was seen standing nearby.
"It's so sad," she told the Post-Dispatch.
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Val Joyner, a spokeswoman for the St. Charles County Police Department, said the hunter is cooperating with police.
No charges have been announced.
An investigation into the incident remains ongoing.