A hunter has died in southeast France after being shot by another hunter during a shoot. The hunter who fired the shot is in police custody.
The 56-year-old victim was taking part in a hunt in Monieux, near Carpentras, in Vaucluse (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) on Sunday, November 13.
The hunter who fired was reportedly trying to hit a deer. Instead, he hit the victim in the back.
Emergency services tried to save the injured man, who was still alive when they arrived, but he died soon after, the gendarmerie reported to the AFP.
The shooter acknowledged his actions and was placed in police custody.
An inquiry into involuntary homicide has now been opened.
This is the third severe hunting accident in Vaucluse since the opening of hunting season. In September, a man was fatally shot in the shoulder, while in October a hunter was severely injured in the knee after accidentally shooting himself.
It comes after a series of other severe, often fatal, accidents involving hunting over the past few months have prompted the government to consider a series of measures to improve safety.
In a visit to Marne last month, Ecology Minister Bérangère Couillard announced new measures. She said she would base changes around a report from the Senate, submitted on September 14, 2022 after a petition on the subject gathered 100,000 signatures, triggering a debate.
The bill proposed to “ban alcohol and narcotics during a hunt”, as part of its report on making hunting safer in France, and to make the rules on alcohol consumption when hunting the same as those for driving.
New measures are expected to be introduced before Christmas.
In Brittany in September, a hunter’s partner was accidentally killed by a gun he was holding over his shoulder.
In late October, four cyclists were involved in accidents. Three were in Maine-et-Loire, while the hunter aimed at a partridge; another was in Ile-et-Vilaine.
In Moselle, a hiker was accidentally shot in the leg by a 75-year-old hunter.
Since 2000, there have been 3,420 hunting accidents reported in France, including around 100 for the 2021-22 season. Around 10% of accidents result in deaths.
Last season (2021/2022) there were eight recorded deaths compared to seven deaths in 2020-2021.
Most of the deaths caused by hunting are among hunters themselves. Last year, 74% of the victims were hunters.
Hunting accidents among non-hunters are especially controversial. Some of the most high-profile in recent years include the deaths of:
- A British woman whose French hunter partner accidentally shot her while on a hunt
- A 25-year-old hiker who was out on a marked path walking with her partner
- A 67-year-old driver who was killed by a ricocheting bullet while driving on a dual-carriageway
- A 25-year-old Lot resident, Morgan Keane, who was shot while on his own land
The OFB calls for change
This year, the Office Français de la Biodiversité (OFB) has reported a significant increase in shooting in the direction of roads, buildings, or paths with public access.
Despite the increased number of deaths this year, the number of fatal accidents has dropped overall in the past 20 years. In the 1999-2000 season, there were 39 deaths.
Accidents mainly happen during hunts for large game, with 66% of accidents reported among this group. Most fatal accidents occur because:
- The hunter has not respected the 30-degree angle rule
- Poor or incorrect use of the weapon
- Shooting in the direction of roads or houses
- Shooting without having a clear view of the animal being aimed at
In a statement, the OFB reminded hunters: “We must insist on how to determine this 30-degree angle, how we find it, and why we have this fundamental rule.”
The 30-degree angle stipulates that hunters must not fire outside of a 30-degree range from their weapon when pointed to shoot.
It also called on hunters to pay closer attention to their environment, and to stop shooting in the direction of roads, paths, and homes. The OFB also said that it wanted to ban long-distance shooting (30 metres maximum). Some bullets currently used in some large game shoots can travel up to 3km.