VT hunter shoots man he mistook for bear, faces felony charges

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A Vermont hunter is facing charges for allegedly shooting and critically injuring another hunter earlier this month that he said he mistook for a bear, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said Tuesday.

The 35-year-old victim from Fairfax was hit in the abdomen by a single gunshot as he was walking to a tree stand on private land in a wooded area in Huntington on Sept. 10, according to the department. A third hunter called 911. The victim was taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where he remained in stable condition Tuesday, the department said.

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A 25-year-old hunter from Bolton is facing felony charges of aggravated assault and negligent use of a gun, as well as a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment, the department said. He is expected to be arraigned in court on Thursday.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is using this unfortunate accident to reinforce the importance of hunting safety, such as wearing blaze orange clothing to show other hunters you are not an animal and prevent being shot.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is using this unfortunate accident to reinforce the importance of hunting safety, such as wearing blaze orange clothing to show other hunters you are not an animal and prevent being shot.

Neither hunter was wearing blaze orange at the time of shooting, officials said.

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“These incidents are highly preventable and highlight the importance of positively identifying your target while hunting,” Game Warden Detective Sergeant Robert Currier said 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.”

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