Three Deaths in One Weekend of La Chasse
Thursday 04 October 2012
It has been a inauspicious start to the season of la chasse in France with three deaths in one weekend.
In one of the accidents, in Languedoc, a 9 year old child was killed by his own father.
The father, a hunter of 43 years, wanted to go under barbed wire along a dirt track to get to a field. He had placed the gun against a fence, but without removing the cartridges or activating the safety system.
The gun went off when the father picked up the gun, and the trigger got caught in the wire.
Shot in the shoulder, the boy died before help arrived.
In a further accident in the Gers a 64 year old hunter slid slipped in a ditch and inadvertently pulled the trigger and shot himself in the face.
In Alpes-de-Haute-Provence an 84 year old man shooting alone was accidently shot by another hunter who was participating in a wild boar shoot.
In other separate incidents two hunters were injured when they accidently shot themselves as a result of falling, while in a fourth, bizarre incident in the Dordogne a hunter was shot by his own gun dog, when the dog jumped up at him and trigged the firing mechanism.
Figures from the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS) show that last year there were 143 shooting accidents, up from 131 in 2010/11, but down from 174 in 200/10. Of those accidents 16 were mortal last year, a figure that is slightly down on previous years.
In 99% of the cases it is the hunters themselves who are the victims of the accidents, of which 31% are self-inflicted.
The accidents to bystanders continues to be one of the most vocal objections of protest groups against la chasse, who also object to the manner in which the shooting groups monopolise use of the countryside because of safety fears by walkers and others.
However, those objections are likely to fall on stony ground. La chasse is the second most popular ‘sport’ in France, with around 1.4 million registered chasseurs, far more than any other country in Europe. It is exceeded in popularity only by football.