Mountain biker OK after being shot by hunter in Hopkinton; authorities mull whether to bring chargesStaff Report
November 22. 2017 10:52AM
HOPKINTON — Local and state authorities say they've yet to decide whether to bring charges in connection with a hunting accident Tuesday afternoon in which a woman was shot and slightly injured while mountain biking in Elm Brook Park.
State conservation officers and Hopkinton police have interviewed a 34-year-old Hopkinton hunter, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a statement Wednesday.
Conservation officers believe the hunter was shooting at a deer and failed to see the victim in the background, Fish and Game said.
The unnamed woman, who is 27 and also from Hopkinton, was riding on a "fairly open" portion of Hall Road when she heard a gunshot, Fish and Game said.
Shortly afterward, she realized she had been struck by a bullet, officials said in a statement. Officials described the slug as a "bullet fragment," but provided no more details.
She was treated for the wound at Concord Hospital and sent home Tuesday night.
Authorities placed the time of the gunshot at approximately 4:20 p.m., which is about three minutes before official sunset, according to sunrise-sunset tables on various weather-related websites. State law allows for deer hunting as late as a half-hour after sunset, meaning the hunter was hunting within allowable hours.
According to the statement, authorities interviewed the hunter on Tuesday night. The investigation resumed on Wednesday morning.
Elm Brook Park is found within the Hopkinton-Everett Lakes area, a multi-use expanse that includes 10,000 acres and several bodies of water, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed for flood-control purposes. It includes two developed recreation areas — Elm Brook Park and Clough Lake State Park.
The heavily wooded Hall Road is an Army Corps access road in the Elm Brook park.
The recreational area is used throughout the spring and summer for fishing, hiking and swimming. There is a boat ramp and four picnic shelters that groups often reserve for special events.
The boat ramps provide access to the Contoocook River or to Elm Brook Pool, which is right off Route 202.
The public picnic and swimming area closed for the season in September.
Hunting is permitted on the property for deer, pheasant and small game during hunting seasons. Deer season for firearms started Nov. 8 and runs through Dec. 3.
Deer stands are permitted in Elm Brook Park, but all equipment has to be taken down each day.
The compound provides about 26 miles of designated OHRV trails and more than 30 miles of designated snowmobile trails. The designated trails are maintained by the state of New Hampshire's Bureau of Trails.
The New Hampshire Union Leader has filed a Right-to-Know request with Fish and Game Lt. Scott LaCrosse, seeking the identification of the hunter and bicyclist.