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Man charged with criminally negligent homicide after allegedly shooting another hunter in Grand County

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Posted at 3:00 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 17:00:30-05

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — A hunter has been charged with criminally negligent homicide after allegedly shooting and killing another man in his hunting group in Grand County.

On Nov. 18, 52-year-old Harry Watkins was charged in connection with the shooting death. The charge is a Class 5 felony.

Simon Jacob Howell, 26, of Ridgeley, West Virginia, died after the shooting on Nov. 9.

Both men were part of a hunting party. At the time of the shooting, they were in a rugged area in western Grand County.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said the group contacted law enforcement about the shooting just before 10 a.m. on Nov. 9. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, CBI, Grand County District Attorney’s Office and coroner’s office responded.

CPW spokesperson Randy Hampton said it took “several hours” to get to the group, which was west of Kremmling and north of the Colorado River in Game Management Unit 27.

Howell was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The circumstances around his death remain under investigation.

14th Judicial District Attorney Matt Karzen said the rules of hunting safety exist so instances like this don't happen.

"Complacency and lack of discipline is all it takes for someone to be killed," Karzen said.

Wakins is scheduled for an advisement on Dec. 22, 2020.

Every hunter in Colorado born on or after Jan. 1, 1949 has to go through a hunter education course, and hunting deaths have dropped dramatically since the 1960s, Hampton said, when the state would see several hunting deaths each year.