A RETIRED carpenter has been blasted to death by a hunter who ‘mistook him for game’ in the French countryside.
Franck Jarry, 77, became the latest lethal statistic of the controversial shooting season on Friday.
He was out picking mushrooms close to the hamlet of Villars-les-Bois, in the western Charente-Maritime department, when the accident happened.
An investigation source said: “A 34-year-old hunter saw movement in the undergrowth and thought it was game.
“A dog was barking, and this seemed to confirm the presence of animals.
“After realising that he had shot a man, the hunter immediately went to the victim’s aid, and called the emergency services, but it was too late.”
Gendarmes in Saint-Jean d’Angely have now opened a formal criminal investigation.
Tests for alcohol and drugs were carried out on the gunman – who has not yet been identified – but the results are not yet available.
After realising that he had shot a man, the hunter immediately went to the victim’s aid… but it was too late
An investigation source
The Federation of Hunters in the Charente-Maritime department issued a statement condemning “an act contrary to the basic rules of security”.
It called for the “lifelong withdrawal” of any shooting licence that may have been granted to the hunter.
Last year a 22-year-old British mountain biker was shot dead by a hunter in thick woods near the village of Montriond, in eastern France.
This was despite Marc Sutton – a restaurateur who originally came from Caerphilly, South Wales – wearing bright clothing and a helmet that made him easily identifiable.
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There are about 1.2 million hunters in France, with some 37,000 new gun licences obtained each year.
But many people drop out of the administrative process because of the length of time it takes, and the cost, which is the equivalent of more than £400 for a permit.
France’s hunting season only started in September, but there have already been two deaths so far.
During the 2017/18 season, there were 113 serious accidents, with 13 people killed.