Shooting Death Changed Hunting Laws

Morgan Sturdivant

Updated 9 months ago

It may be twenty five years since the death of Karen Wood, but it’s still a tragedy that remains fresh in the minds of many in the community.

On November 15th, 1988 she was shot by Donald Rogerson.

He was charged in the case, but acquitted by a jury.

He was hunting that day, and shot her after mistaking her for a deer.

Some think the new mother to twin girls was gathering laundry, while others believe she was alerting hunters to their close proximity to her home.

One thing for sure is hunting laws in Maine have changed since then.

“The most significant development that came out if the Karen Wood incident is likely the target identification law,” says Lieutenant Dan Scott of the Maine Warden Service.

The law states hunters must positively identify what they are shooting at before they pull the trigger.

“It basically requires them to have a virtually unobstructed view of the head and torso of their target prior to shooting at it to make sure it is their intended game, and not something else. 100% of the responsibility to make target identification is on the hunter,” says Scott.

Lt. Scott says hunter education has come a long way in the years since Karen Wood’s death.

“We are really into a full generation, 27 years, of hunter education, so, we’re seeing a reduction in hunting incidents from in the mid 70′s, to mid 80′s of being measured in the dozens, to generally we have about seven to twelve a year, and typically every couple of years, we’ll have a fatal incident.,” he says.

Kevin Wood says the anniversary of his wife’s tragic death is a time where he hopes hunting safety and responsibility is highlighted.

“The changing climate in Maine related to, or in response to, the legislation holding hunters more accountable for target identification, and from what I understand, that has had a positive response in terms of safety as well as prosecution of those laws.  There is some consultation, hopefully people have been saved and hopefully poor hunters and slop hunters will be held accountable,” said Wood.

Wood says hunting isn’t something he wants to go away.

He says he hunts and fishes, but that he  just wants to advocate the importance of hunting safety.

wood tells us he’s doing well.

he also says that his daughters are graduated from college and are pursuing their professional careers.


  • heatguy

    I think that the news did not need to bring up this very hurtful story again, And for you to show pictures of Mrs. Woods with her small children was just way too much. Mr. Rogerson has done many good things to try and make up his one moment of bad judgement but you fail to show that part of the story. If you are going to do a story try telling the whole story and not just what you think we need to hear.

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