Hunter pleads guilty in shooting

Ferguson shot victim during bear hunting ‘drive’

CLEARFIELD — An Altoona man accused of shooting a hunter during a bear hunt in Clearfield County in November pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Frank M. Ferguson, 47, was originally charged with a misdemeanor count of shooting at or causing injury to a human being while hunting and a summary count of shooting on or across a highway by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in connection with an accident on Nov. 17 in Cooper Township, Clearfield County.

The misdemeanor count was withdrawn in Feb­ruary, according to court documents.

Ferguson pleaded guilty to the summary offense before President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman and was ordered to pay $300 plus court costs within 30 days.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, two game wardens were patrolling the area when they came upon a group of hunters, one of whom had been shot.

The wardens provided some medical care to the victim who was shot in the left leg and bleeding profusely. After EMS transported the victim to the hospital, they spoke with the hunters to investigate the incident.

The hunters said the group was doing a “drive,” in which hunters walk through a field to flush animals to another location where other hunters wait.

During the drive, Fer­guson was allegedly standing on Cooper Township Road facing the victim in a straight line.

When a bear emerged from a cornfield, the victim shot it, and it immediately hit the ground. The victim reportedly said he then heard a shot from the direction where Ferguson was standing and felt it hit his leg.

Ferguson stated he shot immediately after the victim shot and he struck the bear, which he said then disappeared into the woodlot.

The investigation re­vealed that the bear died from the one shot from the victim and was not hit a second time. The shot fired by Ferguson missed the bear entirely before it struck the victim.

The injuries suffered by the victim “were a result of Ferguson carelessly shooting on or across the roadway and not identifying what was beyond his target, resulting in a line of fire incident,” according to the report.

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