Hunting accidents: “We cannot accept that a hunter with a weapon in his hand can be intoxicated”, judges a senator

While the government is considering regulating the consumption of alcohol while hunting, a Senate report even proposed its ban in September. One of its authors was the guest of RADIO FRANCE.

Hunter control operation in the Dordogne. Illustrative photo. (EMMANUEL CLAVERIE / RADIO FRANCE)

“We cannot accept that a hunter with a weapon in his hand can be intoxicated”, reacted Sunday October 26 on today news post, senator of Ain, rapporteur of the “joint control mission on securing hunting” whose proposals were presented in September.

How have hunting accidents evolved over the past twenty years?

The government is currently working on a plan to combat hunting accidents and plans in particular to introduce an alcoholism offence, according to information from RADIO FRANCE. “I think that we must align what is prohibited on the road to hunting”, abounds the senator of Ain.

Is the government right to want to create this alcohol offense for hunters?

Patrick Chaize: Yes. I think that today, we cannot allow a hunter on a hunting ground with a weapon in his hand to be intoxicated. And yet, from a legal point of view, nothing prevents it. I believe that we must indeed evolve with the times, also reassure those who practice nature, without saying that all hunters are alcoholics. That’s not the point at all. I consider that indeed, one can consider that a car can be a weapon by destination. There, we have a weapon which is a real weapon so at least I think that we must align what is prohibited or authorized on the hunting road.

Alcohol can be involved in a minority of accidents you write in your report…

Yes, it is much less than on the road. It’s 9% on the hunt, 23% on the road. You see, this is not the primary subject. But overall, I think that psychologically, from a moral point of view, it still seems important to be able to eliminate the few bad apples that remain in the hunt.

If the idea of the government is to model this offense on that which appears in the Highway Code, would that mean that gendarmes would be deployed on the ground to draw up tickets?

Yes, absolutely, that’s the principle. We need the measure of control and the measure of sanction. The agents of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), in charge of the hunting police, should be able to intervene, but also the gendarmes and why not the municipal police.

What are the other avenues pursued by the government to fight against hunting accidents?

Without a doubt: the harmonization of safety rules. In the work that we carried out, we realized that the safety rules imposed on hunters were not the same from one department to another. And yet, the accidents and the type of accidents noted are quite characteristic. For example, more than one in three accidents are due to not respecting the 30 degree angle. It is a measure of protection of the people who are in the surroundings, but also of the ways or the dwellings which are close to the zone of hunting. This rule has acquired a certain effectiveness in avoiding ricochets and therefore accidents is not in all departmental hunting management plans, which are the bible of hunting rules in each department. I therefore propose that it be generalized and that it be de facto integrated into the national safety rules.