Charges weighed in death of hunter

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The Routt County Sheriff's Office said that because of difficulties in the investigation, it is not ready to file charges in the shooting death of a hunter.

Sheriff John Warner said the sheriff's office is pursuing leads and following up on leads it has received on the shooting death of a 44-year-old Wisconsin hunter. The sheriff's office also is working with the District Attorney's Office.

Gerald Holverson, of South Wayne, Wis., died in the early morning of Sept. 20 from a gunshot wound from a .54-caliber muzzleloader.

The sheriff's office is looking at potential hunting violations and criminal charges in the case, Warner said. The suspect's name is not being released.

Before charges can be filed, the sheriff's office wants to see the results of tests performed on the bullet and the muzzleloader. The sheriff's office has yet to receive the bullet and is waiting for an autopsy to be completed by the Jefferson County Coroner's Office.

The sheriff's office will send the gun and bullet to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for tests, which could take seven to 10 days.

Early reports said the suspected shooter had been a lifelong friend of Holverson's and was aiming for an elk when he shot him. Holverson died on Bureau of Land Management land about a mile west of Waller Reservoir in the King Mountain area of South Routt.

Holverson was in a hunting party of six, which had been hunting for about a week.

Three bowhunters, including Holverson, were in the party, and the other three were muzzleloaders, Warner said.

The group had numerous hunting licenses, including licenses to kill elk and deer, Warner said.

At the time of the shooting, the only piece of orange clothing Holverson was wearing was a faded orange hat, Warner said. Colorado hunting law does not require bowhunters to wear any orange.

The hunters, who are from Wisconsin and Illinois, returned home this week.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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