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Updated: Woman Accidentally Shot by Hunter Recovering

Woman shot by muzzleloader in hunting accident in Norton.

At 4:55 p.m., Norton Police and Fire responded to a hunting accident in the vicinity of 98 Oak St.

A woman was injured in the accident by a muzzle loader, a single-shot rifle, and was transported to Rhode Island Hospital. Though the incident is still under investigation, Lt. Todd Jackson of Norton Police Department said it was most likely just an accident.

According to a report from the Sun Chronicle, the woman was shot in the abdomen.

UPDATE 10:18 p.m.: A preliminary investigation reveals that a hunter shot at what he believed to be a deer. The female victim, a 66-year-old Norton resident, was walking her two dogs on a path in the same area when she was struck.  The hunter, also a Norton resident, immediately called 911 and police and fire personnel were dispatched. Norton fire personnel extracted the woman from the wooded area and transported her to Rhode Island Hospital. The incident remains under investigation by Detective James Franco, along with State and Environmental Police.

Jan. 1, 12:58 p.m.: The investigation by Norton Police, State Police assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and Environmental Police has revealed the shooting to be accidental. Investigators state the hunter, John Bergeron, age 50, of Norton, observed a deer earlier in the day in the general area of the incident. He then observed what he believed to be a deer tail and fired one round. The victim, Cheryl Blair, age 66, of Norton, was on a path walking her two dogs in the same area and was struck by the round. 

Investigators believe that Bergeron observed the dogs and believed them to be deer. Bergeron immediately called 911 and summoned police and fire assistance for Blair.

The area of the incident was approximately one quarter mile into the wooded area off Oak Street and a safe distance from any buildings.

 No violations have been found and no charges will be filed. Blair is recovering at Rhode Island Hospital.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. Both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe are reporting Bergeron is a state police officer, assigned to Troop C out of Central Massachusetts.

Audrey January 01, 2012 at 09:05 PM
finally someone knows something.
Mark Stoughton January 01, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I stand corrected. My apologies to the NFD. I'm reporting what I saw with my own eyes. 4-6 police vehicles entering the property. I thought that I saw red lights on the property too, but maybe I was mistaken. But my point stands. We do need to change our hunting laws.
Buffal Bill Cody January 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Audrey Einstein, actually try and read my comment above and tell me exactly what fact I DON'T have straight. And I do know the hunter involved. But the FACT remains, he was 'sure' he was shooting a deer when in actual FACT he was aiming at a DOG! At dusk no less. Must of been one hell of a big dog with ears in the shape of antlers.
espur January 01, 2012 at 11:41 PM
From the TV news it looked like the shootoing took place within 500 ft of a dwelling ( that being a house ), what's the law?. Any hunters safety coase will tell to be absolutely sure where your bullet will go. Once fired there is no recalling that bullet. He 's a state trooper and they didn't charge him? What's wrong with this picture? If it was my wife, my lawyer would be right there at Norton PD. He should also be suspended for not knowing to be responsible with a firearm.
Audrey January 01, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Once again Buffal bill idiot. You do not have all the facts. Before you make accusations or share your opinion with anyone, make sure you know the truth. If someone shoots a person or anything else without knowing exactly what they are shooting at should not be hunting. On the other hand hunting has been going on from the begining of time and everyone should know from October through December it is hunting season and should be wearing some sort of bright color when walking in the woods. Maybe you should be checked for brains because I dont know any deer that dresses as an adult female!!! And if you really know the hunter involved than you probably wouldnt be calling him an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 02, 2012 at 12:02 AM
This is a very stupid person. Of all people, a Trooper. He should have known better. As a hunter, you always make sure of your target and back stop. Once the slug leaves the barrel you can never call it back. This was no accident, it was a very stupid action by this person. A hunter carries big responsiblity especially in a very populated area. A slug can carry energy for many miles. There are always people walking in the woods enjoying nature. This guy is not a hunter. I hunt and I have taught my kids to make sure of the target and back stop before discharging a firearm, the shot once taken, can never be called back. This guy is an idiot carring a gun. I hope this lady gets herself a good lawyer and sue the heck out of him!
espur January 02, 2012 at 12:03 AM
If I was the hunter and shot a state trooper walking his dog I'd be hanging from a tree by my neck outside the Norton PD station. Where's the justice? We can see the good old boy justice quite clearly.
espur January 02, 2012 at 12:13 AM
The facts are: he discharged his fire arm and shot a person ( women ). What's his name and why isn't he in jail?
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 02, 2012 at 12:17 AM
You are absolutely correct. Before anybody can hunt on private land, posted or not, have to have permission from the land owner. Anybody who hunts on posted land is not a hunter but a criminal, he has broken the law. If a hunter gets permission from the land owner, it should br written and the hunter carries it on his person. Everybody has to show respect for others property and that especially includes "hunters".
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 02, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Hey Audrey, apparently you do not hunt. A hunter has to carry great responsibility and use good judgement. Alway make sure of your target and back stop. Once the gun/rifle is discharged you can never call the slug back. This was no accident. It was an idiotic action. I can not stress enough that a person has to make very sure of his target and back stop. I hunt and taught others of good safe practice, not so much of their own but more for others. Weather you are wearing hunter orange or not or the victim is wearing hunter orange or not, or taking a stroll through the woods, there was absolutely no excuse for what happened. Thank your lucky stars it wasn't you who got shot.
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 02, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Hi Mark. I have to say that I agree with you on this matter. In the Southeast, many of our towns are getting too populated. I know that the Wild Life Management use hunters to control tha population of wildlife. Some of these firarms used carry alot of energy and with it distance. There has to be a line drawn where hunting is no longer permitted because of human population. Our towns will have to start banning hunting and an account setup to use a professional way to control wildlife.
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 02, 2012 at 12:59 AM
John Bergeron, age 50, of Norton. Both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe are reporting Bergeron is a state police officer, assigned to Troop C out of Central Massachusetts. Why he isn't in Jail? See above sentence.
DJ January 02, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Audrey, tell us your last name is Bergeron because you two would make quite the pair.
Skeet B January 02, 2012 at 02:20 PM
This is bull. Thought she was a deer? Wtf? I hunt and have an LTC, and I walk my dogs in the state forest every single day. While hunting and walking, we have seen and encountered deer in the woods many many times. No way you mistake a deer for a person or a dog, even a big dog, or TWO big dogs, unless your an inebriated idiot or impatient spastic a**hole! Bottom line, you just don't pull that trigger unless you are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE about what you are shooting at and where the bullet will go if you miss. And even then, you still don't take that shot unless it is a kill shot that would bring the animal down! Just no excuse for this, and the guy needs to lose his firearm's lisence immediately. And this guy's in law enforcement? Great.
Reason January 02, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Time was an issue. It was the evening of the last day of hunting season. If he didn't start taking pot shots at potential deer he'd have to wait for next years season.
Meredith Holford January 02, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I walk my deer-colored dog in the woods all the time, often off Oak Street on the Mansfield side, but not between September and New Year's. My brother, a hunter, outfitted me with orange gear a long time ago, warning me not everyone shoots at something they KNOW to be legal prey. Apparently he is right. A responsible hunter does not guess at his target. If this innocent woman was shot in the stomach, a little higher and it would have been her heart. If she were a child, it could have been her head. All of us, dog-walkers, parents, and hunters, need to take this as a serious lesson.
DJ January 02, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Your a patient women Meredith. I too alter my regime during hunting season and cease walking my dogs in the neighboring woods for fear of this exact occurrence. I also believe there are responsible hunters out there, but why should my rights and safety take a back seat to a hunters? I just heard the victims husband on channel 7 news indicate he too was a hunter and "accidents happen". This would not "stop him from hunting". Don't wish this on anyone, but better it had happened to him then his wife.
Skeet B January 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Accidents do happen. But most are preventable. This one was for sure. I wouldn't exactly call this an accident. I think the trigger was pulled on purpose... Always wear your orange out there folks and be aware of the area hunting laws! Please. I see way too many out enjoying the outdoors in their grayish/white fleece unaware that hunters are out there with high powered weapons and some with little patience. Someone mentioned it on here; hunting is legal within 500 ft of residences. I'm a hunter, and for me, that is way too close. I don't get these people hunting in the local parks and state forests even if it is legal. There are many places to go in the state where you can hunt and be way in the woods as it should be. Time to change this part of the law, and I hate to say that, but 500 ft is way to close. That being said. This kind of stuff just should not happen. Be safe out there. Glad this women is ok, way to close for comfort.
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 02, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I have to disagree with her husband. I too am a hunter and this was no accidental. It was preventable. A hunter must always make sure to identify the game, kill zone, and the back stop. This reminds me of the so call hunter in Maine that killed a lady wearing white gloves to attract the attention of the hunter to let him know he was too close to the house. It attracted him ok, shot her dead. I believe the lady was deaf mute. If it was my wife, I'd want this guy arrested, charge, and thown in jail. I would get a lawyer and start the process of sueing him for all he has. His license should be revoked and as an officer, suspended. He should have known better.
J gross January 02, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Bottom Line: It was a desperation shot. Taken from what the rest of you folks have said. He absolutly should have known better. I am a hunter but do not hunt deer. That being said I know full well one does not shoot at a deer's tail. One shoots at the front shoulders, front rib cage or head/neck. If one shoots a deer in the tail area then there is an 80% chance of wounding the animal and it running off. If I pulled this stunt I would expect to be jailed.
Kevin Hunt January 03, 2012 at 03:04 AM
The Norton Police Chief declared the shooter innocent from the first interview. I have a hard time believing he had all the facts. If the shooter thought the dogs were deer then it was way too dark-probably after legal shooting light. Both hunting and the right to carry are very serious commitments that the shooter should give up!
kerry dailey January 03, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I live in Norton and just about two weeks ago I called the Norton police department expressing concern about the close proximity two hunters were hunting in location to where I live. The hunters parked their truck literally two houses from my house. I went on to explain how I have a golden retriever and walk in that direction all the time, and was concerned that they were so close. I specifically asked what the laws entailed...the dispatcher's response was simply, "They're fine and they have to park their car somewhere..." This is not the first time I have been given an uneducated and unintelligent response from the Norton Police Department, with regards to matters of this kind. Needless to say, I am sure this is no reflection of all of the individuals that work for the department; however, that kind of disregard for safety should not be tolerated and should be reprimanded. A portion of the public may be naïve to what hunting is all about. Maybe by choice or just because the facts are not getting out there. All I know is, if people, hunters, carry weapons and can shoot and kill animals and God forbid a human being; it is the towns responsibility to make us alert and informed. Although I am not a fan of this particular "sport". I do respect the fact that the issue here should remain about safety regulations... With that said, I think anyone holding the shot gun needs to take some serious precautions before pulling that trigger.
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 03, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Well said Kerry.
Trot Nixon January 03, 2012 at 12:04 PM
That is a very concerning Kerry...I mean who is really in charge of hunting protocol in town?? I am sure if you had told them 3 kids were drinking in the woods you would've had 4 cruisers right away,
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 03, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I wrote a letter to the Massachusetts Attorney General on this matter. We all should be writing the AG. This has to be brought up to the state capitol. What is taking place is wrong. The person shot could have been anybody from the public. This was a mishandling of a firearm and bringing injury to a person enjoying the woods and from my understanding, her property. The Norton police said that he was properly licensed, for what, shooting people? The town area is too overpopulated to allow this type of hunting to take place. A muzzleloader carries a lot of energy and go a long distance. A irrisponsible person, such as this one, can injure/kill and cause property damage. Hunting in these areas must be banned! Write to the Attorney General and voice your concerns.
Mark Stoughton January 03, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Getting the state to change their rules is like howling at the tide. The place to take up changing the rules is Town Meeting. While I have nothing against hunters, or their rights to hunt, their rights have to end where my right to live safely in my own back yard begin. The town has grown considerably in the last 20 years or so. Many of our neighborhoods are now dangerously close to hunting areas. I don't know if our local hunting regulations have been updated in that time, but with more an more houses being built, it's time to revisit them. We're still rural enough that an outright ban may be overkill, but we should look at restricting hunting zones in town.
DJ January 03, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I agree with Mark. In fact, the Senate actually reviewed a bill last year that would REDUCE the currant law standards. I don't know how far it got, but it was well supported. Like other Towns, local bylaws are the way to go. I just listened to the released 911 tape and it was very emotional. I'm sure it was released to aide the trooper as you can hear his pain and remorse, but I do not feel that releases him from wrongdoing. The victims husband also was reported today as seeking a more thorough investigation even though he believed it was an accident. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
Tanya Willow January 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
This was no accident but an inevitability. The population in Norton is simply too dense for hunting to continue and to suggest that we need to wear orange between October and December while walking our own yards is ludicrous. To protect their sport hunters are blaming this particular hunter. But he is experienced and a state trooper so he’s received more training than most trouncing through our backyards with shotguns. This was simply an accident waiting to happen. If something isn’t changed the next victim will be one of our kids. Hunters have a tremendous lobby. Legislators will always side with whatever group they feel will keep them in office. I think the criticism is fair made earlier that we would have an army of cruisers come down to our neighborhood if kids had beer in the woods but a report that men armed with shotguns in the woods near our swing sets, golf course and walking paths is met with a terse: you’re fine lady. It’s huntin’ season. I have no idea how those of us who listen to the terrifying sound of shotguns being released near our homes can stop this practice. But someone who understands the process needs to come forward. Then those of us with kids, who golf, jog and walk dogs need to find the guts to fight this intrenched belief that hunting deer in our back yards is some kind of American frontier, near religious right, as apposed to the deadly practice that it is.
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 04, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I have written a few comments on this matter. The Norton Police has said that John Bergeron was properly licensed. Now the talk is about deer license. He mistook the dogs for deer. Well, unless you have a doe permit, you can not shoot at anterless deer. So besides shooting a person, did he have a permit for doe. If not, then he was poaching. He did not properly ID the game and did not check for buck or doe (if he did not have a anterless permit, which means he was NOT properly licensed). If I was a family member, I would be enraged the way the Norton Police is handling this. For the sake of the family and public, charges must be brought against John Bergeron and he has to answer to them in a Court of Law. This whole matter really gets to me the way I read/hear in the news how it is been handled.
espur January 07, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Has this issue now died? Has the Norton PD grown a set and charge John Bergeron for his wrecklessness. As a trooprer isn't he suppose to be a competant person? Maybe the Norton PD be up on charges for their incompetence?

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