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Off-Duty State Trooper Mistakes Dog For Deer, Shoots Woman

NORTON, Mass. (CBS/AP) — Police say a 66-year-old woman walking her two dogs just after sunset on Saturday was shot and wounded by a hunter who claimed that he thought she was a deer.

The hunter is State Trooper John Bergeron who was off-duty at the time.

Police say the woman was on a wooded path Saturday evening when Bergeron fired a single shot at her.

State Police said in a statement that Bergeron, an experienced hunter who lives in the area, did not see the victim, and mistook the tails of her two dogs as the tail of a deer.

At this point, investigators believe the shooting was accidental and no charges are expected.

"The incident occurred while he was deer hunting while off-duty. He was properly permitted, in-season, and in an appropriate area for deer hunting," the statement read. "Upon immediately realizing what had happened, the trooper called the incident in himself and administered medical aid to the woman until EMS arrived."

The victim, Cheryl Blair, was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where she is recovering from surgery for a fractured pelvis.

Norton, state and environmental police officers are still investigating the shooting.

State regulations allow deer hunting until 30 minutes after sunset.

Sunset on Sunday was at 4:21 p.m.

Police say the shooting took place around 5 p.m., but did not give an exact time.

Investigators seemed to indicate that they believe the shooting took place before 4:51 p.m., which would mark the end of the hunting day.

Both Blair and Bergeron are neighbors in Norton.

State Police also wished Blair "a full and speedy recovery."

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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