A Texas game warden is recovering at Parkland Hospital after being shot in the chest.
Game Warden Chris Fried had to have a lengthy surgery Monday morning to remove a bullet from his body.
Investigators believe a hunter in another party shot him unintentionally in the Cooper Wildlife Management Area between Paris and Sulphur Springs around 6 p.m. Sunday.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Coworkers told NBC 5 that Fried is now in the Intensive Care Unit.
Delta County Sheriff Ricky Smith said a hunter’s high-powered rifle did a lot of damage when a bullet hit the warden in the chest, traveled across his body, and lodged in his in arm.
Smith said Fried was off-duty bow hunting on Sunday night. TPWD said he’d been hunting for white tail deer in the wildlife management area he patrols near Cooper Lake.
Smith told NBC 5 Fried had likely been heading back to his truck when he was shot and was around 1.5 miles away from the vehicle when injured.
Fried managed to use his cell phone to call for help, but because of the remote area, emergency responders couldn't get to him for more than an hour.
The sheriff says there had been another group of hunters on private property nearby. Those hunters, including the one investigators believe shot Fried, have been questioned. Investigators said they haven't ruled out foul play, but suspect the shooting wasn't intentional. Deputies, Parks and Wildlife wardens, and Texas Rangers are still investigating.
Fried has been with the department since June 2009 where his duties include responding to hunting emergencies. The 31-year-old has an outpouring of support at the hospital and the community sending prayers online.
NBC 5's Greg Janda contributed to an earlier version of this report.