Court Case of Woman Who Used Bear Spray on Vermont Hunters Moves Forward

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The arraignment of Liza Nanni, the woman who allegedly attacked three Vermont hunters with bear spray back in July, occurred yesterday, September 26.

According to court records, Liza Nanni was arraigned yesterday morning in Caledonia County. Nanni was charged with three counts of assault.

Ellsworth “Butch” Spear, one of the hunters involved the incident, attended Nanni’s arraignment.

He wanted the judge to also charge the woman with multiple counts of hunter harassment.

He says he hoped the judge would also charge the woman with multiple counts of hunter harassment. However, she still could be charged with those counts. Those charges could potentially be added on by the state’s attorney at any point during the court proceedings.

“Whenever they have anything going on with this case, I will be there,” Spear tells Outdoor Life. “It was because of me that this was done—because I hunt. I will be there to defend the fact that it’s legal for us to hunt bears with hounds, and I will do it until the day I die.”

The woman allegedly attacked the three hunters by using bear spray on them back on July 10th. One of the hunters was the former president of the Vermont Bear Hound Association. That man, Ellsworth “Butch” Spear, brought two hunters with him at the time of the incident.

Local authorities then charged Liza Nanni, 61, with assault, disorderly conduct, and interfering with a hunter.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife reports that on July 10, Nanni allegedly blocked Red Brook Road in Groton State Forest when the group pulled up in their pickup truck. The hunting dogs sat in the truck. Nanni stopped them.

Victim of Bear Spray Incident Speaks Out

Allegedly, Nanni pepper-sprayed the hunters, one of whom was a thirteen-year-old boy.

However, wardens say they interviewed all present parties and also viewed video recordings of the incident.

“Managing Vermont’s wildlife for a public with diverse values is a challenge and a privilege,” Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Christopher Herrick said in a statement. “I support all Vermonters with their shared passion for wildlife. No matter how different our practices or approaches may be, we all must remain civil and respectful as we enjoy the outdoors. I strongly condemn the criminal behavior that occurred in Groton.”

Bear hound training season ran from June 1 through September 15 in the state of Vermont. However, bear hunting with hounds opened September 1 for residents. It opened September 15 for non-residents.

At the time, Ellsworth “Butch” Spear, one of the victims, spoke to a local newspaper about the incident.

“My first words to her were to ask her to get out of the road,” Spear told the Vermont newspaper Seven Days. “She told me to go F myself and a bunch of other things. She ended up pepper spraying all three of us.”