Tragic hunting accidents in France demand tougher measures

[And they mustn’t forget the threat posed by naked men talking about sasquatch…]

Oct 6, 2013 in World

After a 61-year-old French hunter accidentally killed his own  son, mistaking him for a wild boar, and a six-year-old boy was also killed in a  separate incident this week, there will be increased pressure for safety  measures in hunting.

According to Ouest France (in French) on Thursday this week,  the 61-year-old hunter accidentally shot his own son during a hunting party in  the Ardèche region, after mistaking him for a wild boar.  Reports said that he  opened fire after seeing a shadow pass by.  However, tragically, the shadow was  his own son and not the wild boar he was hunting.

While efforts were made to resuscitate  the 35-year-old man, he tragically died at the scene.  His father collapsed,  overcome with grief and shock, and had to be admitted to hospital.

In the same week another fatal accident  caused the death of a six-year-old boy in the north of France, some days after  being shot during a hunt near the village of Saveuse, west of Amiens in the  Somme region last Sunday.  In that incident, the boy was shot in the groin and  succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

In that incident, initial findings show  that the accident may have been a tragic freak of nature.  Apparently the hunter  left his gun on the ground, so that he could relieve himself, first taking care  to remove the cartridges.

A second person then passed by, put the  cartridges back into the gun and left the weapon lying “on a fence or on a  tree.”

A dog passed by and accidentally  knocked the weapon, which fired, hitting the boy who was standing close by.   Both father and his 16-year-old son, who it is believed reloaded the gun, were  arrested by police on suspicion of manslaughter.

These two fatalities come after an  incident with an 82-year-old deaf hunter left two mushroom pickers seriously  injured, one critically.  He reportedly mistook them for a pheasant.

The 82-year-old was banned by a court  in Perigueux in the south west of France from hunting and from owning a gun for  five years.  His hunting license was cancelled and his rifle confiscated.

All these tragic incidents will no  doubt lead to renewed calls for more stringent safety measures to be introduced  during the hunting season.

The Association for the Protection of  Wild Animals (ASPAS – in French) is campaigning for more safety measures  to be introduced as well as for a ban on Sunday hunting.  A spokesman denounced  the “tragedies that can be added to the list of accidents that is already too  long.”

Earlier this month, Pierre Athanaze,  head of ASPAS, spoke to The Local and said laws needed to be changed in France to  prevent more deaths.

He said:

“France is the only country in  Europe where people can hunt every day, which is why we are the country in  Europe with the most accidents.” 

“Hunting needs to be stopped on  Sundays, because this is the most dangerous day. There are more and more people  heading out into the countryside on a Sunday, whether it’s walking, mountain  biking or collecting mushrooms. We want an end to it.”

Referring to the incident with the  82-year-old man, Athanaze said that many people who hunt in France these days  are elderly and are “not subject to any medical checks” to ensure they have  their wits about them and are capable of spotting the difference between a  pheasant and two mushroom collectors.

“They need to introduce medical checks  for hunters,” he added.

The group is also campaigning to demand  a change in the law, whereby hunt organizers can be held responsible in the case  of serious accidents.


2 thoughts on “Tragic hunting accidents in France demand tougher measures

  1. Health checks should be done world wide…we have to have vision tests when we get our driver’s licsense,and the handicapped have to have health checks…everyone who hunts should be forced to prove themselves physicaly and mentaly competent.Hah…would realy like to see that happen…

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