A hunter who fatally shot a Chautauqua County woman walking her dogs in a field in the town of Sherman on Wednesday appeared to have done so after sunset, authorities say.
Rosemary A. Billquist, 43, of Sherman, suffered a single gunshot wound, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.
Billquist was transported to UPMC Hamot hospital in Erie, Pa., where she died.
Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies and the Sherman Fire Department responded to a report of an accidental shooting at about 5:24 p.m. in the area of 2998 Armenian Road in the town. It is illegal for hunters to hunt after sunset, which occurred at 4:46 p.m. Wednesday.
Thomas B. Jadlowski told deputies he thought he saw a deer in a field when he fired a single shot from his pistol. He said he heard a scream and immediately ran to the area about 200 yards away, which is where he discovered Billquist, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Jadlowski called 911 and applied pressure to Billquist's wound until emergency medical services arrived.
Dale Dunkelberger, master instructor for firearms for the state Department of Environmental Conservation's hunter education program, said shooting after hours and not properly identifying a target are a recipe for tragedy.
"Hunters have to understand there are other people using trails, using parks in areas where we as sportsmen hunt," said Dunkelberger, who called Sherman his old hunting "stomping ground." "In this case, it appears from what I gathered this was after sunset, and he shouldn't have been out there hunting after sunset. You're done. That's the law."
Dunkelberger said using a pistol to shoot deer was permissible according to DEC rules and regulations.
The Sheriff's Office said that Jadlowski is cooperating with the investigation. No charges have been filed yet, but the investigation is continuing, assisted by state Department of Environmental Conservation police, deputies said Thursday.
Information wasn't available on how close Billquist was to her home or other homes when she was shot, or whether or not she was wearing high-visibility clothing.