I am appalled at the outcome of Donald Rogerson's manslaughter trial {"Maine Hunter Held Not Guilty in Killing," news story, Oct. 18}.

I've been hunting since 1963, when my uncle in California first took me deer hunting, and if you ask me, Mr. Rogerson committed the No. 1 mortal sin of hunting. You always make absolutely sure of what you are shooting at. The people who blame Karen Wood are wrong. She was in her own back yard, and if Mr. Rogerson was as experienced a hunter as he was made out to be, then he should have known there were houses in the direction he was shooting.

Mortal sin No. 2: I agree that for her own safety, knowing it was deer season, Mrs. Wood should have at least worn some bright colors or orange, but she was in her own back yard. Thank God she wasn't holding her children.

I am a member of the NRA and proud of it. I am sure that the NRA would agree with my position. It was right that Mr. Rogerson was made to pay $122,000 to Mrs. Wood's husband and twin daughters in an out-of-court settlement of a wrongful death suit. The actions of a reckless hunter give all of us other hunters who are careful a bad rap. To Mr. Wood and his daughters, I am sure I speak for hunters in this country in saying we also grieve in your loss and are outraged.

JACK O'HARE Hyattsville

The same day that we read that Donald Rogerson had been acquitted of a manslaughter charge because jurors believed he was justified in shooting Karen Wood, whom he mistook for a deer, one of us walked out our front door in Alexandria to find a neighbor across the street shooting at a target in his yard with a hunting bow. (A call to the Alexandria Police Department yielded the information that this activity was legal and not on a par with rifle practice within the city limits.)

A few days earlier, we had learned that, after much controversy, a bow-and-arrow hunt has finally been scheduled to take place on the grounds of one of our favorite bird-watching haunts in Fairfax County, Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge. The authorities are also considering opening this "refuge" to rifle hunting.

Last autumn, on our property (and close to our house) in West Virginia, one of us confronted a trespassing hunter with a deer in his sights. Fortunately the incident ended without violence, but a hunter with a shorter temper could have turned his rifle on me in his rage over the lost kill. With no one else around it would have been listed as another unfortunate hunting accident.

It appears to us that the nonhunting public (most of us) is losing ground, in both an ethical and a territorial sense, to hunters and their alleged "rights." Blaming Karen Wood for her death is symptomatic of a retrogression in the accepted standard of behavior as it affects the physical safety of other members of society. We used to be taught that as a broad principle it's all right to do anything as long as it doesn't harm, or threaten to harm, the life or rights of others. To place the onus on Mrs. Wood for her own protection against hunters in her own back yard is to revoke that principle -- to put the hunter's "right" to play games with lethal weapons above the nonhunter's basic right to life and liberty (even on his or her own property).

We're deeply sympathetic toward the bereaved family of Karen Wood, and we deplore the jury's decision in its wider societal context. Why should we have to worry about hunters in our back yard or neighborhood? Why should their presence be a constraint on our freedom to go hiking in the autumn woods? Is the right to discover, appreciate and let-it-be less than the right to stalk and kill?