A Post Falls man could face criminal charges for allegedly shooting and seriously wounding another hunter he mistook for a deer.
The hunting accident occurred on Thanksgiving Day near Kelso Lake, south of Sandpoint.
Authorities said Tim Coder, 37, fired his .270-caliber rifle at what he thought was a white-tailed deer. But the bullet struck another hunter, Lesly Folda, 37, of Coeur d’Alene.
The bullet ripped through Folda’s right hip, damaging his right side and right leg. Folda, who underwent a day of surgery, still was in serious condition at Kootenai Medical Center on Monday.
The two men were not hunting together, and authorities are investigating whether Coder fired his rifle before sunrise. It is illegal for hunters to shoot before official sunrise, which was 6:36 a.m. the day of the accident, Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said.
Coder could be charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm.
Three others who were hunting with Folda, all wearing hunter orange vests, told investigators the shot had been fired shortly after 6 a.m. when it still was dark.
The call to report the shooting was made at 6:44 a.m., Robinson said. It was made with a cellular phone back where the hunters had parked their vehicles.
One of Folda’s hunting companions had gone to the truck, made the call and drove into the woods to take Folda out to meet an ambulance.
Detectives were interviewing Folda at the hospital Monday. Robinson said he will review all the reports and decide, possibly later this week, whether any charges will be filed.