April 21, 2018
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Sebago man fatally shot in hunting incident

The Associated Press

SEBAGO, Maine — The Maine Warden Service on Sunday was investigating the fatal shooting of a hunter a day earlier.

Wardens said Peter Kolofsky, 46, of Sebago, was wearing hunter orange when he was shot Saturday afternoon. He died at the scene.

Officials identified the person who shot Kolofsky as William Briggs, 61, of Windham. Both men were deer hunting in Sebago, but they were not hunting in the same parties.

Wardens were investigating at the scene Sunday. No summonses or charges had been filed, as the investigation continued.

Saturday’s shooting came a day after two other, separate hunting-related shootings in Maine. A New Hampshire man was in critical condition after being shot in the stomach in Casco. And in Oxford, a hunter was shot once in the lower leg by a friend.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said Kolofsky was the first hunting fatality in the Maine woods since 2008, when a man who was deer hunting alone in Beaver Cove died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators later determined that Ernest Russell II, 55, of New Gloucester had slipped on a rock in a trail and fell down a hill, causing his gun to discharge. The state medical examiner’s office confirmed that theory in early 2009.

Last year, there were seven shooting incidents, all of them involving bird and turkey hunters.

In 2009, there were eight shooting incidents, one of them involving deer hunting, but no fatalities. In 2008, there were 10 shooting incidents, with the one involving Russell being the only fatal.

There are over 200,000 licensed hunters in Maine, the department said.

With such a large population of hunters, state laws have been directed at reducing the chances that a wayward shot might strike another person.

In 1988, Karen Wood, a mother of twin girls, was shot and killed in her backyard in Hermon by a hunter who said he thought he had fired at a deer. Wood was wearing white mittens at the time of her shooting, which some pointed to as a contributing factor in the shooting because the hunter may have mistaken them for a deer’s tail.

The hunter was later acquitted of charges related to the shooting, but the incident was one of several that led to a change in Maine law.

Seven months after the hunter was cleared, the Legislature passed a law that included standards of conduct for hunters.

Included in those standards of conduct is a requirement to identify various parts of an animal before shooting and to know what lies beyond the target before pulling the trigger. That standard was intended to facilitate the prosecution of hunters involved in fatal shootings of people.

BDN writer Nick McCrea contributed to this report.

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