AFTER six fatal accidents since the opening of the hunting season, wildlife charity Aspas has called for tighter controls on hunters: including a no-shooting zone around houses.
In all, there have been 34 shooting accidents since September with half involving non-hunters. In the most recent a 50-year-old man out checking his beehives was shot and killed by a hunter out hunting wild boar near Clans in the Tinée valley in Alpes-Maritimes.
Now, the Association pour la Protection des Animaux Sauvages has attacked the apparent impunity of hunters to any kind of sanction. President Pierre Athanaze said that shooting accidents rose 25% during last season and 12% the season before, and deplored that fact that nothing was being done.
“When there is a hunting accident the hunter goes to court, then the leader of the day’s hunt and that’s it. The president of the hunting association is never held responsible.”
He called for tighter safeguards including a non-shooting zone around homes, “an annual health check for hunters – especially their vision – before they can renew their shooting licence, set maximum alcohol limits and start checks on hunters and, above all, a ban on Sunday hunts”.
Mr Athanaze said that hunters too often just “let fly” and shot without getting a clear sight of what they were shooting at. People out enjoying the countryside were being injured and even killed by careless hunters.
At the weekend a bullet meant for a wild boar smashed through the windscreen of a car on the D913 near Fleury, Moselle; earlier in November a fisherman at Isle sur Tarn in Tarn was killed while he was repairing his boat; on October 31 a motorist in Thonon-les-Bains (Haute-Savoie) was shot in the head by a hunter who mistook him for a wild boar.
• In the most recent incident, in Alpes-Maritimes, the hunter has been arrested and charged with manslaughter after the death of the beekeeper. The president of the local hunt association has closed the district hunt season until September 2014.