A 66-year-old man has died after being shot during a hunt. It is believed he was accidentally hit by a fellow hunter’s bullet which was intended for a fox.
The hunt, which involved around 20 people, took place on February 7 in the commune of Vallières-les-Grandes (Loir-et-Cher).
A 59-year-old man taking part in the hunt is suspected of having fired the fatal bullet but investigations are ongoing.
The accused told investigators that he had been attempting to shoot a fox, and that the deceased could have been accidentally hit then. The bullet hit the victim’s neck. He was found dead just after 16:30.
Both men were manning watchtowers at the time, 160 metres apart.
Investigators are so far focusing on the idea that the man was killed by an accidental bullet ricochet. Ballistic experts are being consulted.
Police have confiscated both the weapon and licence of the accused.
Ricocheting bullets have been implicated in a number of hunting accidents in recent months.
In November 2021, a 67-year-old man died after being hit by a 9.3-millimetre ricocheting hunting bullet while driving near Rennes. The hunter who fired the bullet, in his 70s, has now been charged with manslaughter.
Only a few days later, in Indre-et-Loire (Centre-Val de Loire), a vehicle belonging to retired couple Hélène and Michel Hymer was shot while the pair were driving on a departmental road south of Tours.
The incidents have prompted new debates on hunting in France, including whether to implement hunt-free days, weekends or afternoons.