Vermont State Police say a distraught hunter took his own life on Saturday moments after fatally and unintentionally shooting his companion.
The longtime friends began tracking a deer through the woods when Bolognani fired a rifle shot. Bolognani and another friend, Mark Colford, instantly heard Birch scream, local NBC affiliate WPTZ reports. When the 49-year-old Bolognani found Birch's body motionless on the ground, he "used his rifle to take his own life," police said.
Authorities responded to the reported hunting accident shortly after noon, when they discovered the bodies of Birch, 39, and Bolognani, MSNBC reports.
"These guys were best friends and professional hunters," Birch's grieving mother, Jacqueline Clara Howe, told the Boston Herald.
Investigators do not suspect any foul play.
In January 2010, the Bolognani faced additional tragedy, when Timothy's 18-year-old daughter, Jessica, died in a fatal snowmobile accident.