A 44-year-old Wisconsin hunter died Saturday morning in what the Routt County Sheriff's Office said was an accidental shooting.
Gerald O. Holverson of South Wayne, Wisc., died of a gunshot wound from a .54-caliber muzzleloader about a mile west of Waller Reservoir in the King Mountain area of South Routt.
Routt County Coroner Dwight Murphy said a lifelong friend mistook Holverson for an elk, aimed for him and shot the man below the right shoulder. Holverson was hunting with a group of six from Wisconsin and Illinois and had been hunting for about a week.
The Routt County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident, and the Routt County Coroner's Office is expecting autopsy and toxicology tests back this week. The Sheriff's Office would not name the man who shot Holverson, but said he was a good friend and they classify the shooting as an accident.
Holverson was wearing some orange clothing, Murphy said. Alcohol was not suspected to be involved.
The accident occurred at about 6:45 a.m. Saturday. First reports were unclear whether the accident happened in Eagle, Routt or Garfield county. The Eagle County Search and Rescue was the first to respond to the accident, Murphy said.
When attempting to reach the man, Murphy said, one of the Eagle County paramedics fell off his horse and had to be air lifted from the scene.
The hunting party was on Bureau of Land Management land about a mile from an ATV trail. One of the hunters hiked to a nearby ranch to make the call for help.
The sheriff's office and coroner were notified of the death at noon and arrived on the scene about 2:30 p.m.
Holverson was believed to have died within minutes of the shooting. He was a tire builder for the Kelly-Springfield Tire and Rubber Company. He had a wife and three children.