Vermont Hunter Mistaken for Bear Shot and Critically Wounded

by Sean Griffin

A Vermont man was shot and critically wounded by a fellow hunter on Saturday morning, according to local authorities. Reportedly, the hunter thought the man was a bear when he fired his weapon.

The Vermont Warden Service currently investigates the incident that happened Saturday in Huntington, Vermont. A third hunter on the scene called 911.

“The victim was walking to a tree stand in a wooded area off Main Road when he was struck in the abdomen by a single gunshot fired by another hunter, who claimed that he mistook the victim for a bear,” the Warden Service said in a statement.

The Warden Service said that none of the hunters were wearing the bright orange colors that they’re “highly encouraged to wear.”

Game Warden Detective Sergeant Robert Currier spoke about preventing these incidents in a statement. “These incidents are highly preventable and highlight the importance of positively identifying your target while hunting,” he said. “The Vermont Warden Service encourages hunters and the general public to wear blaze orange while in the field during Vermont’s hunting seasons.”  

The shooting victim was taken to University of Vermont Medical Center. He remains there in critical condition.

NECN reports that the names of the victim and shooter were not released by the warden service. However, they said additional details on the investigation should be released in the coming days.

Vermont Hunters Attacked By Woman Using Bear Spray

According to WCAX, the Vermont CBS affiliate, a woman attacked three hunters by using bear spray on them. One of the hunters was the former president of the Vermont Bear Hound Association, and he was accompanied by two companions.

The woman, Liza Nanni, 61, was charged 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.

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

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.”

However, Nanni will appear in court this month. Bear hound training season runs from June 1 through September 15 in the state of Vermont. However, bear hunting with hounds opens September 1 for residents and September 15 for non-residents.

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.”