ASHVILLE, N.C. – A hiker stepped on a nail trap Sunday while exploring a series of obscure trails in the Pisgah National Forest.
Tyler Mayo was hiking with his girlfriend, some friends and their dogs when he felt something sharp in his foot, WSMV reported.
“I just get this searing pain in my foot, and I look down and I had stepped on a nail trap,” said Mayo, who is recovering.
He looked down to see a piece of plywood filled with about a dozen nails and the words “PETA Payback” written on it. Two of the 2-inch nails stuck his left heel, the Asheville Citizen Times reported. He found another similar board nearby with nails, too.
“We were having this amazing time, the dogs were having fun, and then I just stepped on this nail trap and it drove these two nails super deep into my heel,” he told the Citizen Times. “I’ve heard of people leave hunting traps, but nothing like this before. It’s just scary to think that someone would leave these traps all over.”
No one else, including the dogs, were injured. Park rangers are investigating.
“I don’t think the organization PETA had anything to do with it or would condone it. It’s just speculation, but I think it has something to do with hunting – either a disgruntled hunter or a disgruntled animal rights activist,” Mayo told the Citizen Times.
PETA, the animal rights group, said it is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for placing the nail traps.
“PETA is grateful to hiker Tyler Mayo for alerting authorities to the nail-spiked boards that were deliberately placed on trails in the Pisgah National Forest and hidden under piles of leaves,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, told the Citizen Times. “Reportedly, the makeshift traps had the words ‘PETA Paybak’ (sic) scrawled across them, but we not only detest violence to any living beings, we can spell.”
Mayo, who works as a hotel valet, is still in too much pain to return to work.
“My message would be to anyone considering doing something like this to please don’t,” Mayo told WSMV. “Really think about the repercussions that could come from it.”