A man who shot and critically injured a fellow hunter this month in Vermont after mistaking him for a bear is now facing charges, authorities said.
Alex Gaudette, a 25-year-old from Bolton, was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault, negligent use of a gun and reckless endangerment, the Vermont Warden Service said.
The three charges carry up to 21 years of prison time and fines of up to $12,000, if Gaudette is convicted, officials said. He's due to face the charges in Chittenden County Court on Thursday.
It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak to the charges.
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Gaudette is accused of shooting a hunter from Fairfax on private land in the town of Huntington, officials have said. A third hunter called 911.
The man was shot in the stomach while walking to a tree stand in a wooded area off Main Road, officials said. The hunter claimed he mistook the victim for a bear.
The victim was still at the University of Vermont Medical Center on Tuesday and in stable condition, according to the Vermont Warden Service.
At the time of the shooting, the warden service said, none of the parties was wearing blaze orange, which is highly encouraged but not required for hunters to wear.
Nicole Meier, who leads hunter safety education in Vermont, has told NECN that studies have shown wearing blaze orange makes you seven times more visible to others in the woods.
She said the incident underscores another prime tenet of hunter safety as well: "Positively identify your target and what’s beyond it before you take the shot."