Friends mourn loss of local duck hunter - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Friends mourn loss of local duck hunter

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Friends are mourning the loss of a local hunter tonight after he drowned trying to save a dog while duck hunting over the weekend. 22-year-old Tanner Shorter was duck hunting early Saturday morning in Comanche with one of his friends.

The dog that was retrieving the ducks from an icy pond started struggling while it was swimming, so Tanner went out in the water to help him, but drowned in the process. 

The dog, which belonged to one of Tanner's friends who was hunting with them, also didn't make it out alive. These are a few of Tanner's last pictures he posted on Snapchat that morning. Oklahoma Highway Patrol's Lake Patrol is now investigating the case.

Driving from Duncan to Dallas, Texas is where Colt Elam, Tanner's best friend was when he got the horrible news.

"I was mad at first," said Elam. Questioning God. I regret that now. I just didn't know why I wasn't there. That was my guilt."

Elam says he wasn't surprised when he heard Tanner was trying to help a friend's dog because he was always putting others before himself.

"He would have dropped everything, and he did, he dropped everything for me when I needed it," said Elam."That was Tanner. He was everybody's friend. He was loved by everybody in the community."

Tanner joined the Empire Volunteer Fire Department his senior year of high school along side his close family friend, Kevin Bilbrey. He says he thought of Tanner as his own son and he was proud to work by his side serving the community.

"It was awesome. Tanner was a young guy," said Bilbrey. He was strong, courageous. He'd do anything we needed done and we knew we could always count on him and rely on him."

Tami Drake had only known Tanner for a few years, but that's all it took to make such a positive impact on her family. She couldn't believe something like this could happen to the giving and loving young man she knew.

"Speechless...I didn't even know what to think," said Drake.

She says reminisce about the memories they made with Tanner will help get her through this hard time.

"We were down at the river and my husband got stuck in the 6 cedar ranger and him and my daughter were in his razor together and he was the first one on top of the bumper pulling the wrench out to get it unstuck," said Drake. "He was just always right there."

Elam says he knows Tanner would have wanted everyone to smile and be strong, no matter how hard each day may be.

"We're just going to have to re-learn everything, you know," Elam. "You spend that much time with somebody, there's going to be a memory everywhere you turn."

When Tanner wasn't spending his time outdoors, hunting or fishing, he was on the baseball or football field. He led the Empire football team to the playoffs multiple times during his high school career.

Tanner is survived by his friends, parents, and his wife, who is expecting their first child. Tanner's funeral is Thursday morning at New Hope Baptist West Church in Duncan.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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