Maine hunter to pay compensation for shooting landowner

SKOWHEGAN, Maine, Nov. 21, 2016 — A hunter from Hartford has agreed to pay compensation to the Starks landowner he shot during a Halloween 2012 dispute, says the victim’s lawyer, Daniel Kagan of the Berman & Simmons law firm in Lewiston.

On October 31, 2012, a hunting party pursued a deer they had shot near Mount Hunger Road in Starks. Kerry Hebert, then 56, lives on the road with his wife Jennifer and their two boys. Hebert stopped the hunters to point out his nearby house and ask them to stay clear. One of the members of the hunting party took offense and an argument ensued. Another hunter, Robert Pond of Hartford, intervened while carrying his Remington hunting rifle. The rifle fired, discharging a 30.06 bullet at point-blank range into Hebert’s torso.

Though Hebert survived the shooting, he required several surgeries. He sued Pond for damages in Somerset County Superior Court. The lawsuit did not charge that Pond shot Hebert intentionally. Instead, it claimed that Pond acted with negligence by violating several firearm safety rules, including carrying his loaded weapon with the safety off and his finger inside the trigger guard. The case was scheduled for a jury trial in December.

“This needless shooting, so close to the family home, shook the Heberts hard,” Kagan said. “Kerry Hebert is a registered forester who has spent a lifetime in the woods. He and Jennifer understand and support Maine’s hunting heritage. Shootings like this erode public support for hunting. This lawsuit was a reminder of the importance of firearm safety and mutual respect between hunters and landowners.”

With hunting season still open this fall, property owners and hunters can take valuable lessons from this settlement, said Kagan. Hunters must be respectful of private property rights, while property owners should use discretion in enforcing those rights.

“Maine’s many responsible hunters and sportsmen know that firearm safety rules must always be followed, and this shooting demonstrates why,” Kagan said.

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UPDATE: Major media outlets in Maine are reporting on the settlement in the Kerry Hebert case. Click on the links to follow the coverage.

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