Croatian bishop accidentally shoots hunter


Published: January 15, 2019


According to local media, the bishop has a reputation as an avid hunter. PHOTO: REUTERS

According to local media, the bishop has a reputation as an avid hunter. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZAGREB: A Croatian bishop accidentally shot and badly wounded a man while hunting wild boar, reports and officials said today, igniting criticism on social media in the mainly Catholic country.

Bishop Vjekoslav Huzjak was on an organised hunting trip in eastern Croatia on Friday when he misfired his rifle and struck another hunter in the thigh, the Vecernji List daily paper said.

The bishop’s Bjelovar-Krizevci diocese said in a statement that “he voices his deep sorrow for what has happened and wishes a quick recovery to the wounded hunter”.

Police, without identifying the bishop, said they “completed a probe of a 58-year-old man” who “shot at a wild boar but missed and the bullet hit a 64-year-old man”.

He was hospitalised in Zagreb with serious injuries but his life was not in danger, police said, adding that they would file a criminal complaint against the shooter.

‘Hunter becomes the hunted’: Lions eat poachers on South Africa reserve

“This is something unusual and such a thing has never happened in the recent history of our Church,” the Vecernji List paper quoted an anonymous church source as saying.

According to local media, the bishop has a reputation as an avid hunter.

The accident sparked many, mostly negative, comments on social media in Croatia, where nearly 90 per cent of the 4.2 million population are Roman Catholics.

“This is what happens when priests instead of sticking to altar get hold of a rifle … Amen!” one woman commented on Facebook.

“What is a bishop doing hunting? Killing creatures of God?” another man wrote. “Isn’t that against his service and faith he preaches?”



Photo credit: Dreamstime

Here’s another reminder to always confirm what you’re shooting at before making the shot. A Russian hunter recently shot and killed his son after thinking he was a moose. According to the Moscow Times, an investigator said, “The hunter fired a rifle into a moving object in poor visibility, mistakenly believing that it was a moose.”

Instead, it was the hunter’s 18-year-old son, who died from his father’s misguided shot. The incident took place in Khanty-Mansiysk in northern Russia, about 2,000 miles east of Moscow.

“Having come closer, the hunter saw that he mortally wounded his 18-year-old son,” the investigator told the Moscow Times.

Reports have not released the names of the father or his son. The father is charged with “death caused by negligence,” which means he could face possible jail time, the Moscow Times reports.

Crews rescue lost hunter in Eldorado Marsh


ELDORADO – On Sunday crews rescued a hunter from the Eldorado Marsh after he repeatedly fell through the ice into thigh-deep marsh water and became disoriented, authorities said.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office said dispatchers received a 911 call from the hunter, a 38-year-old Fond du Lac man, around 5:45 p.m. He had finished hunting for the evening and was lost and cold.

Dispatchers pinpointed his location in a patch of cattails. Recent high temperatures thawed the ice there, so crews could not easily walk onto the ice to reach him.

Law enforcement drove a utility vehicle into the icy-watery mix and rescued the man within an hour, the sheriff’s office said. They brought him to a waiting ambulance, and paramedics treated him at the scene.

Eldorado Fire Department supplied the utility vehicle while Ripon Fire Department contributed a drone to the rescue effort.

Westford man, shot by hunter, in fair condition

The condition of a Westford man, shot accidentally by his hunting partner in Stowe, was upgraded to fair this week at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

Joshua Fitzgerald, 31, was shot on McCall Pasture Road in Stowe Nov. 20. He’d been hunting with Avery Cochran, 24, of South Burlington, and they had returned to their truck on McCall Pasture Road.

At about 5 p.m., Cochran was unloading his rifle inside the truck when the gun went off, and the bullet hit Fitzgerald in the abdomen.

Police are calling the incident an accident, and say they’re still looking into how it happened.

Cochran declined to comment on what happened.

The Stowe Police Department, Stowe Emergency Medical Services, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Vermont State Police all responded to the shooting, and Fitzgerald was taken to the UVM Medical Center for treatment.

That night, his injuries were called “life-threatening” by Stowe police, and the next day, Fitzgerald’s condition was described as serious but stable.

By Monday afternoon, his condition had been upgraded to fair, but hospital officials said it was too early to say when he would be released.

Stowe police don’t think alcohol or drugs were a factor in the shooting, and think it was an accident. The investigation is continuing, and early this week Stowe Police Chief Donald Hull said he had no updates.

The numbers on accidents

Louis Porter, commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, says it’s illegal to have a loaded long gun — a rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader — inside a vehicle, even if it’s being unloaded at the time.

It’s also illegal to hunt after half an hour after sunset, according to Vermont law.

On Nov. 20, the sun set at 4:19 p.m., putting Cochran and Fitzgerald within that time frame for hunting, but it was dark.

From data going back to 1972, Porter says Vermont has had an average of eight hunting-related shooting accidents a year in deer season.

Just two years — 2012 and 2014 — had no hunting-related shooting accidents. Last year, there were four.

There hasn’t been a November rifle fatality in the state since 2011, Porter said.

When a shooting accident does occur, it’s not typically fatal.

In 1972, there were 16 shooting accidents, one of which was fatal.

Since 2007, there have been seven shooting accidents during turkey hunting season. One, in 2009, was fatal, caused by an accidental discharge, Porter said.

Last year, Vermont had 70,193 registered hunters, and 9,233 residents of other states had registered to hunt in Vermont, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Porter said his department is proud of the reduction in hunting-related shooting accidents, and says the efforts of volunteer hunting training instructors are part of the reason.

Nicole Meier, hunter education and outreach specialist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said there are about 400 volunteer hunter educators throughout the state.

About 14 teach in Lamoille County, Meier said.

Each hunter has to go through at least eight hours of training, and all educators are “veteran hunters” trained by the state in hunter education.

New York was the first state to adopt hunter education in 1949. Vermont first began offering a program in the early 1950s, but it wasn’t mandatory for licensure in the state until 1972, Meier said.

Vermont requires six hours of firearms handling education, she said.

“We’ve really seen a down trend in the hunting related shooting incidents because of education” statewide, Meier said.

“We have so few hunting-related shooting accidents that I wouldn’t want that to deter anyone or make anyone feel unsafe. The majority of accidents that we see happening are largely self-inflicted, which doesn’t make it right or good by any means, but I think that people shouldn’t be afraid to go into the woods,” she said.

Marshall Faye, who has lived in Stowe most of his life, taught hunter safety for about 25 years.

“You never unload a gun inside the vehicle. You can accidentally shoot somebody,” Faye said.

He was dismayed to hear Fitzgerald had been shot by his friend by accident, since that’s the very thing he worked hard to teach hunters not to do.

“That’s absolutely the wrong thing to do,” Faye said. “It’s safer for everybody to unload the gun outside the vehicle, pointing in a safe direction. … It’s the most important thing in hunter safety — muzzle control. Making sure you know where that is at all times.”

To Faye, hunter safety is all about reminding hunters that they’re in control of their weapons.

“It’s really stupid to not be safe with a rifle or any gun. You don’t point it in the direction of somebody else. If you’re unloading it and you’re getting into either side of a car, then you’re pointing it at somebody else,” he said.

“Always make sure your gun is unloaded before you get into a vehicle. Whenever you come to a fence or an obstruction, you always unload your rifle, pass it over to another hunter, or carefully set it on the other side, climb over and then pick it up. We teach everybody, you can’t trust a safety. The safety is just a mechanical piece, so you want to make sure your gun is not loaded” regardless of whether the safety is engaged, Faye said.

Faye said he was once almost shot by accident by a man hunting after the sun set, and had “words” with him.

He believes hunting is “probably the safest sport you can have,” if hunters follow all the rules.

Porter agrees, citing a 2011 National Shooting Sports Federation report saying a person is 19 times more likely to be injured while snowboarding than hunting, and 25 times more likely to get hurt riding a bicycle.

Hunting with firearms has a 0.05 percent injury rate, according to the National Shooting Sports Federation report — that is, 0.05 percent of people who hunt with firearms will get hurt.

That’s about one injury for every 2,000 hunters, the federation says.

“I think there’s a higher likelihood of you being struck by lightning than getting shot randomly during hunting season,” Meier said.

Hunter’s body found in Fertile, Minn. field

FERTILE, Minn. — A body of a man who had been hunting was found in a rural Fertile, Minn., field Tuesday night, a press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Timothy Leon Berhow, 66, of Grand Forks, N.D., was found just before 8:30 p.m. in a field where he had been hunting, the release said.

The sheriff’s office transported Berhow’s body to the University of North Dakota forensic medical examiner for an autopsy. The release said no foul play is suspected.


At first glance, the headline (above) leads you believe that maybe a hunter will finally serve a purpose, not in life, but as his body decays into the fertile Earth where he died (for whatever reason).

The more cynical of you may be thinking something like, ‘Ugh, get the smelly hunter’s body out of the nice fertile field, so the rotting cascass doesn’t exude toxins in the form of cheap beer, aftershave, fried pork rinds and chewing tobacco.’

Since no foul play is suspected, it’s a shame the sheriff’s office burned the carbon to transport the body to the University of North Dakota for an autopsy.



Wild boar turns tables on French hunters, wounding two

The men were injured when the animal turned and attacked, leaving one of them in critical condition. A debate over hunting has continued to gain momentum in France due to the high number of humans being killed.

A wild boar in a wood

Two hunters were injured in the western French region of Loire-Atlantique on Wednesday when the wild boar they were hunting turned and attacked them. One of the men was rushed to hospital for treatment and remains in critical condition. The animal is said to have weighed 100 kilos (220 pounds).

Wild boar are known as ferocious creatures made all the more dangerous by their swiftness, low center of gravity, muscular shoulders and sharp tusks — which they can use to tear open a hunter’s leg, causing severe bleeding.

The incident was the latest in an ongoing series of serious hunting accidents in France. The frequency and severity of those accidents has sparked fierce debate over hunting practices in the country. Critics point to lax laws governing the sport as well as the ease with which a license can be obtained.

France’s national hunting and wildlife agency ONCFS said that about 115 people had been injured in hunting accidents as of June 1, 2018. The agency said that roughly 85 percent of those injured were hunters and that 13 people had died from their injuries. Three of the deceased were not hunters.

Wild boar in snowy forest The boars can be found across Europe’s forests

Not just animals being killed

The grim statistic rose last weekend when a 34-year-old Welsh mountain biker living in France was shot in the chest while riding on a well-marked trail in the French Alps. The man, Marc Sutton, died from his injuries. The 22-year-old who shot him was hospitalized for shock and may face charges for aggravated manslaughter.

Two weeks ago another man in the same region was sentenced to one year in jail after being convicted of accidentally killing a runner with a single bullet to the head. Critics have demanded tighter regulations on hunting in populated areas or those popular with non-hunting outdoor enthusiasts.

Controversial outside France as well

Hunting is not only a controversial topic in France. Recently an American TV host drew anger from residents in Scotland after she posted several pictures of herself with animals that she shot and killed across the country, among them, a wild goat on the island of Islay.

Local Parliamentarian Michael Russel responded to Larysa Switlk’s post by condemning the practice of hunting goats in Scotland, calling for it to be “stopped immediately.” He specifically criticized tourism companies offering hunters the chance to stalk and kill wild goats, which others call an invasive species.

Michael Russell


As the local member of @ScotParl I am raising this as a matter of urgency with @strathearnrose – if this is actually happening on , and laid on by some sort of tour company I would want to see it stopped immediately

Larysa Switlyk@LSwitlyk

Congrats on Jason on his gold medal 🥇 goat here in Scotland on Islay. A unique hunt, email for more information ! 

View image on Twitter


Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.




Monroeville man dies in apparent accident while hunting

OXFORD TWP. — Authorities said they found a hunter dead Sunday after his family reported him missing.

Deputies found the body of Theodore “Ted” Wensink, 48, of Wood Road in Monroeville, near Taft and Mason roads at about 8:30 p.m., according to an Erie County Sheriff’s Office report.

A family member contacted the sheriff’s office after Wensink had been “overdue” from a hunting trip he took that day, alone, and said no one had seen or heard from him, the report states.

Deputies searched the woods and found Wensink’s body at the bottom of a tree, about 30 feet beneath a hunters’ tree stand, which appeared to have collapsed, according to the report. Wensink had a visible injury to his head.

Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said authorities are still investigating the death and preliminary autopsy results will be available soon.

Wensink graduated from Perkins High School in 1988 and attended The Ohio State University for mechanical engineering, according to his obituary. He worked as a design engineer in Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana before he returned to Ohio to work at his family’s seed farm in Oxford Township — fulfilling his lifelong dream of working on the farm founded by his great-grandfather.

He was a 4-H advisor and superintendent of a llama club. In Erie County, Wensink was a volunteer with the Erie County Fair, particularly with the Oxford Hustler 4-H club.

“His humor and kindness will be missed by all who knew him,” his obituary states.

Survivors include his wife, Jennifer, whom he married Nov. 18, 1995; their two sons, Jeremy and Timmy; parents, Richard and Kay Wensink; two brothers, Christopher (Liana) and Neil (Kate); nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at Toft Funeral Home & Crematory, 2001 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Burial will follow in Sandhill Cemetery.


Two hunters rescued in Beaverhead County by helicopter after ATV accidents

Two hunters rescued in Beaverhead County
The Blackhawk helicopter used to rescue a hunter in Beaverhead County is seen here.

Two hunters have been rescued in Beaverhead County after serious ATV accidents around the opening of general hunting season. Both rescues involved helicopters, one from the Montana Army National Guard and one from Life Flight.

According to Sheriff Franklin Kluesner II, the first call came in Friday at 12:27 p.m. The caller said his 58-year-old brother was unable to move after an ATV accident in the south end of the Gravelly Mountains. The men were scouting hunting areas for the next day when the accident occurred, Kluesner said. The caller hiked about a mile and a half from his brother to find cell service.

Kluesner said his office was able to help the caller determine his location coordinates through a cell phone app, which showed he was near Fossil Creek, over 60 miles southeast of Dillon — a two or more hour drive for emergency vehicles.

After learning their location, Kluesner said Life Flight was requested and a helicopter was dispatched from Rexburg, Idaho. Ground support was also dispatched, including a local search and rescue team and an ambulance from Lima.

About 90 minutes after receiving the call for help, the injured man was transported via Life Flight to a hospital. Kluesner believes the man is from North Dakota and is at a hospital in Bozeman as of Wednesday afternoon, with serious injuries.

Two days later, Kluesner’s office received three more search and rescue calls within a few-hour time frame. One was from a woman concerned about her husband, who returned back to his camp shortly after she called; another was from a group of people whose truck slid off of a road west of Lima, and were assisted by Bureau of Land Management rangers in the area; and a third resulted in a full deployment of local search and rescue volunteers, along with assistance from the Montana Army National Guard.

Around 1 p.m. on Sunday, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a woman who said she hadn’t heard from her 69-year-old husband since Saturday afternoon. The woman told law enforcement she had driven to his campsite Sunday morning, about 15 miles south of Dillon, but did not find him or his ATV. The man had planned to hunt in the area.

Kluesner said after his office spoke with the woman, Beaverhead Search and Rescue volunteers began a ground search for her husband while aircraft searched overhead. The hunter was not located on Sunday.

An expanded search resumed early Monday. At this time, Kluesner’s office looked at what other resources they had available. The search and rescue team decided to call the Montana Army National Guard, which promptly deployed a five-person crew via Blackhawk helicopter from Helena. The helicopter arrived in the area around noon.

At 1:30 p.m., the ground crew located the missing hunter, who had spent 44 hours pinned beneath his upside-down ATV in a ravine. The crew called the National Guard helicopter, which landed in the area, stabilized the man and transported him to Barrett Hospital and Healthcare in Dillon. Kluesner said the man is now at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula with serious injuries.

In the last four years Kluesner has been sheriff, he said he’s seen a steady increase of ATV use in Beaverhead County. This has also led to an increase in accidents.

“We have a lot of areas where you can still use four-wheelers and side-by-sides, which have become very popular,” Kluesner said. “But they aren’t that stable and do have the potential to cause real serious injuries.”

Kluesner went on to say these injuries are especially concerning when hunters and other recreationists ride into the backcountry, where they become harder to reach and there is little to no cell service. He said his office was extremely lucky to have access to Life Flight and Montana Army National Guard teams to rescue the two injured hunters, and he is proud of the collaboration that went into finding them.

“Helicopters are invaluable in these situations. They (helicopter flights) are expensive endeavors, but there’s no price you can put on a human life,” Kluesner said.


Fatal hunting accident in Green Lake County after high winds capsize boat

MARQUETTE, Wis. (AP) – A man has died after his duck-hunting boat capsized in high winds on the Fox River.

The Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office says authorities searched for the 52-year-old Princeton man near Puckaway Lake in the Town of Marquette and found his body in the water around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities say the man was duck hunting with a Berlin man and a dog when high winds overturned the boat and threw the men into the water.

The Berlin man made it to shore with the dog and called 911.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports the sheriff’s office will release the victim’s name after notifying family members.

Teen shot while duck hunting

RUSSELL — A 14-year-old boy sustained gunshot injuries while duck hunting near Russell over the weekend, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reported.

While the Sheriff’s Office did not release information on the boy’s identity or condition, Sheriff Mark Mather said the incident was determined a hunting accident. The Sheriff’s Office received a call at 6:46 a.m. Sunday for a juvenile hunter who was shot by another juvenile hunter, about a mile north of Rock Lake near Russell. The boy was shot in the stomach and hand, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Mather said the victim was in stable condition when officers arrived at the scene. He was flown to Sioux Falls for medical treatment, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Responders at the scene of the accident included the Balaton Ambulance, Russell First Responders and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.