Posted 11-21-2004 at 19:51:33
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Five Dead, 3 Hurt in Wis. Hunting Dispute
HAYWARD, Wis. (AP) - A dispute among deer hunters over a tree stand in northwestern Wisconsin erupted Sunday in a shooting that left five people dead and three injured, officials said.
The alleged gunman, a man from the Twin Cities area, was arrested Sunday afternoon at the line between Rusk and Sawyer counties, according to Sawyer County sheriff's officials.
The violence began shortly after a hunting party saw a hunter occupying their tree stand, Sawyer County Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle told KSTP-TV of St. Paul, Minn. A confrontation and shooting followed.
One of the shooting victims radioed back to the deer shack for help, he said. When more hunters came to the scene, they also were shot, Zeigle said.
The shootings happened in the town of Meteor in southwestern Sawyer County, County Sheriff James Meier said in a news release. Three people were taken to a local hospital, Meier said.
One victim was in critical condition at a Marshfield hospital, a nursing supervisor said. KSTP reported that the others wounded were being treated at a Rice Lake hospital, where one was in critical condition and the other was in fair condition.
Wisconsin's deer gun hunting season started Saturday and lasts for nine days.
Bill Wagner, 72, of Oshkosh, was about two miles away near Deer Lake with a party of about 20 other hunters.
After they got word of a shooting, it took him and others about three hours to round up the rest of their party. He said they heard sirens, planes and helicopters and noticed the surrounding roads blocked off.
"When you're hunting you don't expect somebody to try to shoot you and murder you," he said. "You have no idea who is coming up to you."
The incident won't stop their hunt, Wagner said.
"We're all old, dyed-in-wool hunters," he said. "We wouldn't go home because of this but we will keep it in our minds."