HEBRON — The Maine Warden Service is still investigating a hunting incident that led to the death of 34-year-old Karen Wrentzel on Saturday, and again Monday did not release the name of the 38-year-old man who was hunting with his father when he shot her.

The incident, which occurred on Wrentzel’s private land while she was digging for gemstones, according to family members, brings to light the issue of public access to private land.

About 94 percent of the state’s land area is privately owned, and more than 10 million acres of working farms and forests are open to the public, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.

Private land that is not posted can be accessed for hunting by anyone, according to Cpl. John MacDonald, the warden service spokesman. Asking permission is recommended but not required.

The Maine Recreational Access and Landowner Relations Program suggests that landowners put signs up that say hunting is by permission only, with their name and number, rather than just a sign that says “no trespassing.”

“Allowing use ‘by permission only’ puts the landowner in direct contact with people using his or her land. People who have asked for and received permission to use a piece of someone’s land are usually more inclined to assist by reporting acts of abuse and trespass by others,” reads the DIF&W website.


Beverly Spofford, Wrentzel’s grandmother, gave her the 15-acre lot on Greenwood Mountain Road where the incident occurred.

She said the land was not posted because the family doesn’t generally have a problem with people hunting on the land, but also that Wrentzel didn’t know hunting season had begun.

“Almost everyone I’ve talked to didn’t know hunting season had started,” Spofford said Monday night.

Jon Spofford, Wrentzel’s uncle, said Monday he agrees with the current private land access laws, but not necessarily the consequences of incidents like the one Saturday that took his niece’s life.

“My honest opinion is that hunting is needed to control the populations of some animals. Making that more difficult for those who participate in the population control … I don’t think they need (more restrictions),” Spofford said. “I think the consequences of recklessness are more of a deterrent.”

PressHerald.com disables reader comments on certain news stories, including those dealing with sexual assaults and other violent crimes, personal tragedy, racism and other forms of discrimination.

Liz Marquis can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.