Saturday begins the popular firearm deer hunting season across Maine, and as mass shooting suspect Robert Card is still on the loose, over 200,000 registered hunters in the state will be taking to the woods.
According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, there are around 226,000 licensed hunters across the state.
While expanded archery season began on September 9 for deer hunting, the more popular firearm season begins on October 28 with a Maine resident-only day, followed by the opening of the state to all hunters on October 30.
This comes as suspect Card has still not been found by authorities. He was listed as a suspect in the case on Wednesday evening by authorities after a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston, Maine were the locations of a mass shooting, resulting in the deaths of at least 18 people.
Card’s car was abandoned in nearby Lisbon, which lies southeast of Lewiston along the Androscoggin River, and FBI agents were at 2 homes associated with Card in Bowdoin on Thursday, finding a note in one of them, according to CBS News.
Card is considered armed and dangerous by law enforcement, and a police bulletin revealed that Card is a trained firearms instructor in the Army Reserve. Card had been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks over the summer, and threatened to shoot up the Saco National Guard Base he was stationed at after reportedly “hearing voices.”
Law enforcement officials highlighted the challenges in locating Card, with retired FBI agent and former Hostage Rescue Team member Rob D’Amico telling CNN that Card may be more comfortable with the outdoors as a Maine resident.
“I would say living up in Maine he has more outdoor experience than most people get in their bootcamp experience in the Army,” D’Amico said.
X users highlighted the opening of deer season, with the thousands of armed hunters going into the woods.
While Lewiston is Maine’s second most populous city, and neighboring Auburn which is also urging residents to shelter in place, is the state’s fourth, the area is surrounded in vast swaths of forest, much of which could be covered in hunters come Saturday.