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Senate to debate hunting rules as another accident occurs in France

The latest hunting accident in southwest France comes as a petition calling for two hunt-free days per week reaches 100,000 signatures

The group behind the petition were friends of a 25-year-old who was shot and killed in his garden Pic: franz12 / Shutterstock

A 47-year-old man has been seriously injured after being shot in the face in a hunting accident in Occitanie yesterday (November 11).

The man was attending a hunt near Montauban when he was hit by “multiple” shots, the public prosecutor said, including in his face and eyes.

The man was taken to A&E in Montauban and later transferred to Toulouse in a “serious state”. It is not known yet if his injuries are life threatening. 

The hunter who fired the shots was a 37-year-old friend of the victim. He has been taken into police custody and could face charges of causing involuntary injury during a hunt.

President of la Société de chasse de Montauban, Alain Bolufer, said the accident could have been caused by very thick fog in the area on Thursday, which had caused another hunt to be cancelled in nearby Vazerac.

President of the departmental hunting federation, Thierry Cabanes, told La Dépêche: “This incident is very unfortunate but we must not stigmatise hunters who are very responsible people.”

The public prosecutor said that the man taken into custody has a hunting licence and insurance.

However, this is the third hunting accident to happen in the Tarn-et-Garonne department this year, and is the latest in a series of accidents to happen in France in recent weeks including two members of the public not involved in hunts.

These incidents have raised the question of whether there should be more restrictions on hunting in France in order to protect the public.

Read more: Driver shot by hunting bullet dies as French mayors urge non-hunt days

Safer hunting petition to be debated in Senate

Now an official petition calling for Wednesday and Sunday to become hunt-free days in France has reached more than 100,000 signatures, meaning the issue will be debated by the Senate.

The organisation behind the petition, Un jour, un chasseur, was launched by four friends of Morgan Keane, a 25-year-old man who was shot and killed by a hunter while chopping wood in his garden in Lot in 2020.

The hunter mistook Mr Keane for a wild boar.

Read more: Hundreds join march in honour of French man shot by hunter

As well as two hunt-free days each week, the petition calls for stricter training and security rules for hunters, better regulation of hunting weapons, heavier penalties for hunters who injure or kill others, and more recognition for victims.

Senator for Yvelines, Sophie Primas, is in charge of organising the debate, with the process set to begin on December 1.

She told Le Figaro: “We want the Senate to examine the issue deeply, without emotion or nerves due to the upcoming presidential elections. It is not worth heaping blame on hunters; we need to study and put in place effective and proven solutions.”

Representatives from the organisation behind the petition and from hunting associations will be invited to give their views.

Thierry Coste, political advisor for the president of the national federation for hunting – and also for President Emmanuel Macron – said bringing the issue to the Senate was a “good way to take the heat out of the debate”.

He said: “Even if one death is too many, last year there were seven deaths linked to hunting. In nine cases out of 10, the victim is a hunter. Compare that with 20,000 deaths linked to domestic accidents.”

Senator for Rhône, François-Noël Buffet, told Le Figaro that it would take “two or three months to seriously examine the issue” in the Senate.

Related stories:

How often do hunting accidents happen in France?

French Green presidential candidate calls for weekend hunting ban

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