How do Jaegers accidentally shoot people?

Hunting accidentsHunter shoot accidentally on People

Jogging or walking in the forest - this can be dangerous in France - especially in the hunting season. Hunters recently shot at two surfers in Brittany. They say they "mistook them for pheasants". In October a mountain biker died in the Savoy because a hunter mistook him for a wild boar. In 2018 there were already 18 deaths from hunting accidents in France. We ask ourselves: What is going on with the neighbors? And do we also have these problems?

In the past, the death rate from hunting accidents was even higher in France: 39 people died in 1999. After that, however, the numbers gradually decreased. The representatives who advocate hunting are not particularly sensitive. There is talk of the media being "hypersensitive" when it comes to hunting accidents. And in October, after the death of the mountain biker, MP Alain Perea tweeted: "The hunt only lasts four months a year. Why don't we ban mountain biking during the hunting season?"

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Perea later apologized for his tweet. Nevertheless, the reaction is a good example of the importance of hunting in France and the strength of the hunter lobby. A total of 1.1 million French have a hunting license. For comparison: In Germany there are not even 400,000 hunters. The Süddeutsche Zeitung took a closer look at the case and suspected that the hunters represent a large group of voters. President Emmanuel Macron is also considered a hunting enthusiast and, for example, celebrated his birthday in a well-known hunting lodge.

"There are no statistics called fatal hunting accidents."
Pascal Fischer, Deutschlandfunk Nova

If we look at Germany, it will be difficult to make a comparison with France because there are no overall statistics that cover hunting accidents in the whole of Germany. However, the German Hunting Association evaluates various sources in order to get figures: reports from press agencies, figures from the Federal Statistical Office on deaths and social insurance for agriculture, forestry and horticulture, where accidents have to be reported.

"About zero to two deaths per year can be recorded. You have to be clear about that: every accident is of course one too many."
Andreas Schneider from the hunting association in North Rhine-Westphalia

While Andreas Schneider from the North Rhine-Westphalia Hunting Association assumes that up to two people die every year because they are mistaken for game by a hunter, Kurt Eicher, head of the initiative to abolish hunting, has different figures. At least eight people have been killed in hunting accidents this year. Kurt Eicher assumes 30 to 40 deaths per year. The hunting association, in turn, says that Eicher does not correctly compile its statistics.

Driven hunts are particularly dangerous

Particularly dangerous - also for joggers and walkers - are days on which the hunters organize a driven hunt. The hunters move through the forest, drivers and cattle dogs scare away the game in the undergrowth. Andreas Schneider explains that warning signs will be put up on these days. And that you do a lot for safety: Forestry authorities have the forest closed, hunters wear safety vests and traffic authorities reduce the speed on the surrounding streets.

"The bullet doesn't stop at the fence. It doesn't stop at the forest either. If a corresponding shot has been fired, it is quite possible that there are victims who were not even in the hunted area!"
Kurt Eicher, initiative to abolish hunting

Hunters wear signal vests, so they are easy to distinguish from game. Joggers or walkers, on the other hand, tend not to. Kurt Eicher from the Initiative to Abolish Hunting thinks that these safety measures are window dressing, because after all, a ball does not necessarily slow down when it has reached the tree line. He also points out other dangers, for example shot deer running into the road in a panic.

And sometimes it's the small details that make the difference: On New Year's Eve 2017, strollers with small children got caught in a hunt in Perlach, Bavaria. The forest wasn't cordoned off - nor did he have to - because it wasn't a big hunt. Only four drivers took part, so the event was only designated as a smaller "society hunt". In this case, the walkers got away with a shock.

More on the subject:

  • Young women go hunting - hunting fever | The hunt is becoming female - more and more young women are obtaining a hunting license. With us, a young huntress talks about the beauty of a lonely forest at dawn and what role weapons play in her life.
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