The end of February brings the end of the hunting season. The woods and vineyards are silent again. I no longer have to wear bright clothes and Saffy a bell for fear of being shot. No more excitable men wearing army fatigues, rushing around in four-wheel drives, talking agitatedly to one another on their mobile phones. Our wild birds and animals can begin the spring mating season in peace.

 

There have been many hunting accidents across France since last September – most of them sad while others arouse anger at such gross irresponsibility. Here is a small sample from the past five months:

  • Saint-Michel-Chef-Chef; September 2016. A hunter shoots a woman in the thigh while she is gardening.
  • Saint-Claude; October 2016. A hunter is found unconscious in his hide after shooting himself with a crossbow.
  • La Motte-en-Bauges; October 2016. A hunter in his seventies shoots and kills a horse after mistaking it for a deer.
  • Campsegret; November 2016. A hunter is shot dead by his colleague during a wild boar hunt.
  • Génébrières; November 2016. A hunter shoots himself in the head while seated in his car with the gun between his legs.
  • Valdeblore; November 2016. A hunter is seriously wounded in the legs by a wild boar.
  • Courtomer; November 2016. A hunter is shot in the head by her companion aiming for a hare.
  • Jeu-les-Bois; November 2016. A hunter is seriously injured by a wounded stag that he was intending to finish off with a dagger.
  • Perriers-sur-Andelle; November 2016. A sixteen year old hunter is killed by another hunter who was closing his weapon.
  • Renage; December 2016. A father finds a bullet lodged in the wall 50cm above his sleeping young daughter’s head.
  • Saint-Julien-le-Coppel; December 2016. A bullet from a boar hunt 600 metres away passes though a front door and into a cupboard.
  • Bressols; December 2016. A hunter after woodcock is shot dead by his companion.
  • Castelnou-Camélas; December 2016. Three dogs are killed and three more and a hunter injured by a wild boar.
  • Blain; December 2016. A 25 year old hunter shoots and kills her father during a boar hunt.
  • Martizay; January 2017. A hunter is shot in the leg by his female colleague during a night duck hunt.
  • Nonac; January 2017. A walker is shot and seriously wounded by a boar hunter.
  • Couffé; February 2017. A deer escaping hunters crosses a road then collides with another hunter, breaking the deer’s neck.
  • Chateauroux; February 2017. A 22 year old man is shot and killed by his great-uncle.

“Il vaut mieux regretter de ne pas avoir tirer que regretter d’avoir tirer”