Boy killed by his grandfather on opening day of France’s hunting season

The opening of the hunting season in France was marred on Sunday when a 13-year-old boy was shot dead by his own grandfather in a tragic accident in the west of the country.

Boy killed by his grandfather on opening day of France's hunting season
Photo: AFP

Every year people die in hunting accidents in France and this year the first deaths came on the opening weekend of the season.

A 13-year-boy, who had joined a hunt in the Vendée department in western France, died after being shot in the head by his own grandfather.

The boy was shot at 11.30 am near the village of Triaize as he went to pick up a game bird that had been shot.

He was taken by helicopter to hospital in Nantes but later died from his injuries.

An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances of the accident.


But sadly Sunday’s tragedy was not a freak event given that each year the hunting season in France claims several victims in shooting accidents.

Indeed the 13-year-old boy was not even the only fatality on the opening weekend of the season.

A 57-year-old hunter was also killed in the south east Alpes-Maritimes department on Saturday afternoon.

The hunter was not a victim of an accidental shooting but reportedly lost his balance and fell into a ravine as he tried to dispose of an animal carcass.

In another incident a man and his 12-year-old son were both hit by bullets fired from another hunter in the Var region of the south east. But their injuries were not fatal and they are now out of danger.

The Association for the Protection of Wild Animals (ASPAS) has long been campaigning for a ban on hunting on Sundays.
Speaking to The Local previously, Pierre Athanaze, the head of ASPAS, said the laws needed to be changed in France to prevent more deaths.
“France is the only country in Europe where people can hunt every day, which is why we are the country in Europe with the most accidents.
“Hunting needs to be stopped on Sundays, because this is the most dangerous day. There are more and more people heading out into the countryside on a Sunday, whether it's for walking, mountain biking or collecting mushrooms. We want an end to it,” he said.


France bans glue trapping of birds after EU court ruling

France's top administrative court said on Monday that glue hunting of birds would be prohibited, revoking exemptions granted by French authorities for a traditional practice that has long been denounced by animal rights campaigners.

France bans glue trapping of birds after EU court ruling
A demonstration of hunters to denounce the ban on glue hunting, in south-west France in 2020. Photo: RAYMOND ROIG / AFP.

The State Council’s move comes after the EU Court of Justice said in March that using so-called glue traps caused “irreparable harm” to the thrushes and blackbirds that are caught.

The birds are then used to lure others to the waiting hunters, who say they are later cleaned of the sticky material, called birdlime, and released. But critics say the technique invariably leads to the capture of a wide variety of birds that are often injured, including having their feathers damaged or torn off.

READ ALSO Chasse à la glu: Why French hunters are taking the streets

France was the last EU member to still authorise the traps with an annual quota of 42,000 birds, mainly in southern France, though President Emmanuel Macron suspended the hunt last August pending the EU court ruling.

Two campaign groups had brought a case against the French environment ministry arguing that the practice constituted animal cruelty.

Activists say that 150,000 birds die annually in France from non-selective hunting techniques such as glue traps and nets at a time when Europe’s bird population is in free-fall.