“I’d like to say these incidents are highly avoidable,” Detective Sgt. Robert Currier said. “This case occurred due to negligence. We encourage hunters and the public to wear some type of blaze orange (such as the clothing worn in this photo) this time of year whether they’re hunting or recreating in the woods. It’s just a smart thing to do.” File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger
A hunter who allegedly shot and injured a Fairfax man in Huntington earlier this month is scheduled to be arraigned in Chittenden District Court Thursday morning on felony charges related to the incident.
Alex Gaudette, 25, of Bolton is facing charges of aggravated assault and negligent use of a gun. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment, according to a press release from the Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Detective Sgt. Robert Currier, who investigated the incident and recommended the charges, said while hunting accidents happen in Vermont, it’s unusual to find one this serious.
“What I can say is that he did deliberately pull the trigger,” Currier said. “We just don’t know whether or not he confirmed if it was a human or a bear. We know that he claimed he thought he was shooting at a bear.”
Currier filed an affidavit of probable cause and sent it along to the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office, which brought the formal charges.
If convicted of aggravated assault, Gaudette could face up to 15 years of jail time and fines up to $10,000. He also would lose his hunting license for five years. Additional convictions could add up to six years of jail time and up to $2,000 in fines, according to a press release.
The incident occurred on private land in Huntington on Sept. 10 and injured 35-year-old Fairfax resident James Cameron.
Cameron 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 Gaudette who claimed he mistook the victim for a bear, according to Fish & Wildlife. Game wardens and police investigated the incident.
Cameron was taken to University of Vermont Medical Center where he remains in stable condition, Currier said. He was struck in the lower portion of his left abdomen, Currier said.
Gaudette used a 450 Bushmaster bolt-action rifle, which Currier described as a typical hunting rifle.
Currier, a game warden in the state for 10 years prior to being a detective, said the department usually averages one to two hunting accidents per year. Most are self-inflicted from hunters accidentally discharging weapons at their feet, for example.
He said he could not recall any recent incidents as serious as this.
“I’d like to say these incidents are highly avoidable. This case occurred due to negligence,” Currier said. “We encourage hunters and the public to wear some type of blaze orange this time of year whether they’re hunting or recreating in the woods. It’s just a smart thing to do.”
Corrections: An earlier version of this story partially misrendered a quotation and incorrectly identified the office prosecuting the case. Additionally, this story was updated to clarify the status of charges against Alex Gaudette.
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