Hunting accidents, in particular fatal ones, have been declining for twenty years, according to data from the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), which is however alarmed by a recent increase in the proportion of non-hunter victims. While the number of hunting accidents increased slightly over the 2021-2022 season – 90, compared to 80 the previous season – the trend over the past 20 years is clearly downward, according to the latest OFB report published in september.
In the early 2000s, the office indeed recorded around 180 accidents per season. The trend is similar for fatal accidents, which have been divided by three compared to the beginning of the 2000s. From nearly 30 per season, they fell to eight last season. Over the past 20 years, 88% of hunting accident victims (deaths and injuries combined) were hunters. Over the period, 29% of accidents are even self-accidents where the hunter injures or kills himself.
The “result of human faults”
But last season was “marked by a significant increase in the proportion of non-hunter casualties”, which rose to 26%, compared to an average of 12% over 20 years. Of the eight deaths recorded last season, two did not participate in the search: a 25-year-old hiker, killed in February 2022 on a Cantal hiking trail by a 17-year-old hunter, and a 67-year-old motorist, hit in November 2021 in his car near Rennes.
In general, accidents are, “for the vast majority, the result of human fault related to non-compliance with basic safety rules”, underlines the OFB. The Office warns in particular of a “significant increase” in the proportion of shots in the direction of roads, paths and dwellings, especially when hunting small game, where they caused 32% of accidents in 2020-2021, against 15% last year. previous season. The OFB also cites non-compliance with the angle of fire and improper handling of weapons as major causes.