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Deer hunter shot near Tahlequah

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department is trying to find the person who shot a 27-year-old deer hunter Friday evening in the Welling area.

John Mason was shot in the upper arm while he and his father were leaving a hunting area on U.S. Army Corps of Engineer land between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. It’s presumed that Mason was shot by another hunter.

The victim’s father drove Mason to a hospital in Tahlequah where he was airlifted to a Tulsa hospital.

Investigators said a red, four-door Dodge truck was seen in the area during the time of the shooting.

Authorities hope to speak with the driver and anyone else who was in that truck.

Mason’s family has issued the following statement:

“On Nov. 29 while heading back to the truck after a day of hunting in Welling, John Mason was shot at approximately 5:45 p.m. while on Army Corps of Engineer land.

He was wearing an orange vest over his hunting clothes when he heard a shot. Before he could call out to the shooter, a second shot hit him in the arm.

The shooter left the scene and has yet to come forward. John’s father was with him at the time and was able to get him to a hospital in Tahlequah. He was airlifted to a Tulsa hospital for further treatment and is now in stable condition following two surgeries.

His humerus was badly damaged as well as the nerves in his arm that affect his range of motion and dexterity.

Doctors are still working out the form of treatment regarding future surgeries. John faces many medical challenges in the future.

The family is stunned that the shooter would flee the scene despite the obvious fact that another hunter had been shot and his father had called out for help.

Police are searching for a vehicle seen in the area at the time of the shooting, described as a red Dodge 4-door truck.

Anyone with information on the person responsible for this shooting is urged to contact the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at (918) 456-2583.

We are grateful for the community we have surrounding us in this time of grave concern – family, friends and even complete strangers who’ve joined in the search for the person who fired the shot.

Please help us find the person responsible and join us in praying for John’s recovery in the difficult days ahead. The best case scenario for his prognosis is at least six months of physical therapy.”

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Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›