A Vermont woman has been accused of harassing a group of bear hunters in a confrontation that allegedly ended with the woman spraying three hunters with bear spray.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department announced a slew of citations for 61-year-old Lisa Nanni from a July 10 incident. Bear hunter Ellsworth Spear reported Nanni stopped their truck, which contained another adult hunter and a minor near Groton on Red Brook Road. Vermont allows the use of dogs to pursue black bears, and the group were taking advantage of the state's June through September training season.
However, things allegedly took an ugly turn. Spears told responding game wardens Nanni blocked the road and then started a confrontation with the legal hunters. At some point, Nanni allegedly used a can of bear spray on the group. The hunters quickly left the scene and called Vermont State Police to report the incident.
Game Wardens officially interviewed Nanni about what happened a couple of days later. The VFWD says both sides captured video of the incident, which was reviewed by law enforcement during the investigation.
It was after that the wardens decided to cite Nanni for violating the state's hunter harassment laws. In addition to a citation for interfering with legal hunters, game wardens also hit her with a citations for simple assault and disorderly conduct. She is set to be arraigned on September 26.
Authorities did not give a motive for Nanni's alleged actions during the incident. However, judging from quotes by authorities, it sounds like the incident was motivated by the fact the group was bear hunting at the time. Vermont residents have a constitutional right to hunt and fish as well as strong hunter harassment laws (compared to other states) to protect them while engaged in these outdoor activities.
"Managing Vermont's wildlife for a public with diverse values is a challenge and a privilege," VDFW Commissioner Christopher Herrick said in the official press release. "I support all Vermonters with their shared passion for wildlife. No matter how different our practices or approaches may be, we must all remain civil and respectful as we enjoy the outdoors. I strongly condemn the criminal behavior that occurred in Groton."