The health of a LaGrange man accidentally shot in the face, neck and upper torso in a hunting accident in Chester earlier this week continues to improve, an official at a Bangor hospital said Thursday.
Adam Jewell, 30, was in good condition at Eastern Maine Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. Typically, that means a patient is conscious and comfortable, with vital signs within normal limits, and that the patient could be released or transferred to another health care facility within 24 hours.
Jewell was hit by a 12-gauge shotgun blast from about 40 yards away by 29-year-old Joel Susen of Chester as Jewell sat on the ground between a large hayfield and thick woods near 440 North Chester Road shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday, a Maine Warden Service official said.
Jewell was listed in serious condition later that day, when surgeons at EMMC worked to remove shotgun pellets and otherwise repair his wounds, and in fair condition a day later, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The warden service took Susen’s weapon as evidence, as is standard procedure, and will refer the case to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office for review when the investigation is finished.
The accident occurred after Jewell’s hunting party, which was wearing camouflage garb, spotted and called a turkey they saw in the field before it ran into thick woods on the north side of the field. The hunting party separated and moved to the edge of the woods, officials said.
Jewell was sitting in an area between the woods and field, apparently quite concealed, when Susen thought he saw a turkey and opened fire from about 40 yards away, officials said.
When they realized that Jewell had been shot, the hunters immediately called 911.
An investigator reached late Wednesday afternoon said the case remains under investigation. Attempts to contact Jewell’s family in LaGrange and online proved unsuccessful Thursday.
The shooting was Maine’s first turkey hunting accident since 2008, officials said.
In 2007, when 19,079 people registered as turkey hunters, 5,984 turkeys were reported harvested, according to the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website, maine.gov/ifw. In 2008, 19,445 hunters, according to preliminary figures, reported harvesting 6,348 turkeys.
More recent statistics are not available.