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Stray bullet hits car in south-west France in new hunting accident

Investigations are underway to determine the circumstances in what is the latest in a series of hunt accidents to have prompted public debate on the practice

A hunting rifle being opened after shooting

An investigation is underway to determine the circumstances of the incident, such as whether the whole bullet hit the car, and is the bullet was aimed at the road or was a ricochet Pic: SVshot / Shutterstock

An inquiry has been opened after a hunting bullet hit a car that was driving in the Dordogne yesterday afternoon (Sunday, December 19).

The driver, an off-duty gendarme, was driving in Saint-Félix de Reilhac, between Périgueux and Le Bugue, when she heard a loud bang. Upon inspection, she realised that her rear brake light had been hit by a hunting bullet. Shocked, she called the gendarmerie. 

An inquiry into the alleged ‘endangering of the lives of others’ has now been opened by the Bergerac prosecutor, the Bugue gendarmerie and the Office français de la biodiversité. 

The shooter has been identified and it has been confirmed that he was taking part in a boar hunt. He has admitted shooting the bullet but has not yet been formally questioned as part of the inquiry.

Investigations are underway to see if the entire bullet hit the car, or simply part of it. A reconstruction of the events is also set to take place in the next few days. 

This will help to determine if safety rules were followed and if the bullet was shot towards the road, or if the accident was a result of a ricochet.

Slew of accidents prompt hunting debate

The incident is the latest hunting accident to hit headlines in recent months and the third reported instance of a stray bullet hitting a car.

In November, 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.

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 the departmental road between Nouâtre and Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine, south of Tours. 

The couple pulled over and realised in shock that there was a bullet lodged into the rear headlamp and the petrol reservoir of their car.

Nearby, a group of hunters emerged, including the 75-year-old shooter, who had been aiming at a deer on the other side of the road. His bullet reportedly ricocheted on an obstacle before hitting the car. 

Additionally, in October, a man [equally a hunter] in Haute-Savoie was severely injured after being hit in the chest during a hunt; and another 29-year-old hunter was left in a critical condition in hospital after also being accidentally shot in the chest during a private hunt in Landricourt forest in Aisne (Hauts-de-France).

The incidents have prompted new debates on hunting in France, including whether to implement hunt-free days, weekends or afternoons.

Related articles

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

Hunter shot in chest, bullet hits car: More hunt accidents in France

How often do hunting accidents happen in France?

Hunter, 82, accidentally shot dead by another hunter in Brittany 

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