A hunter is facing felony charges after allegedly shooting a man that he claims he mistook for a bear.
The incident took place on Sept. 10, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. A 25-year-old from Bolton shot a 34-year-old Fairfax victim one time in the abdomen while he was walking to a tree stand on private property in Huntington.
A third hunter witness the event and called 911. Emergency services arrived and took the victim to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. Initially, he was listed in critical condition. But as of Tuesday, Sept. 20, doctors say he is in stable condition.
Police say that neither hunter was wearing a blaze orange vest at the time. However, the shooter is still facing felony charges of aggravated assault and negligent use of a gun. He is also facing a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.
If convicted, the charges can bring up to 21 years in prison and cost up to $12,000 in fines. The FWD said he was due in Chittenden County Court on Thursday, Sept. 22.
“These incidents are highly preventable and highlight the importance of positively identifying your target while hunting,” Game Warden Detective Sergeant Robert Currier shared in a statement. “The Vermont Warden Service encourages hunters and the general public to wear blaze orange while in the field during Vermont’s hunting seasons.”
New Hampshire Hunter Critically Injured After Falling From a Tree
Another hunter made news this week after he sustained serious injuries while setting up a tree stand in New Hampshire.
As the New Hampshire Fish and Game reported, the accident happened when the stand shifted during set-up leading 58-year-old Casey Barry to lose his balance and grab the stand, which caused it to dislodge from the tree and crash to the ground.
“Barry began ascending the tree stand after securing the lower straps,” the New Hampshire Fish and Game announced in a statement. “And the stand shifted.”
Though his injuries were serious, Barry was able to phone a friend for help, and that friend called 911. EMS rushed to the scene and transported the hunter to a Manchester medical center.
The man remains in the hospital in stable condition. And Fish and Game officials hope the incident reminds people to use safety while heading into the hunting season.
“Most tree stand accidents can be avoided,” officials say.
To properly set up a tree stand, hunters should always ask a friend for help. And during the process, people should use safety harnesses while climbing the trees.