Frenchwoman killed in her garden after hunter fires through hedge

The hunting season in France is only a few weeks old and already there have been several tragic accidents, with the latest being a woman shot dead in her own garden.

Frenchwoman killed in her garden after hunter fires through hedge
File photo: AFP

The latest tragic death in this year's hunting season took place in the village of Taussac in the north of the Aveyron department in southern France.

A 69-year-old woman was enjoying the sun in her garden on Sunday afternoon when a bullet, fired by a hunter flew through her hedge and killed her.

The exact circumstances around the incident are not clear but it appears the hunter, who was taking part in a deer hunt, had fired into the hedge after it had attracted the attention of two hunting dogs.

According to reports the 47-year-old told police he had no idea there was a woman in her garden on the other side of the thick hedge.

He was questioned by police on suspicion of manslaughter and an investigation has been launched.

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

The shooter, who called the ambulance himself, was also from the village of Taussac, where locals have been left in shock.

Last year 18 people were killed in hunting accidents in France and 351 have been killed since 2001, but most of the victims were involved in the hunt.

This season already has seen a 70-year-old man killed after a fellow hunter mistook him for a wild boar in the Var department.

In another incident a grandfather killed his own grandson during a hunt in the Vendée, western France.

Although it is rare for someone not involved in the hunt to be killed it does happen, with walkers, mushroom pickers and even motorists killed by stray bullets in recent years.

France’s national hunting office insist that the majority of accidents are carried out by people not respecting the rules of the hunt.

According to La Depeche newspaper 27 percent of hunting accidents in France are due to mishandling of the firearm and 17 percent due to hunters firing off bullets without having identified a definite target.


All you need to know about France's hunting season


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.

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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.