The vast majority of fatal "accidents" are related to non-compliance with basic safety rules. In particular the violation of the security angle of 30 °, shooting without identification of the target and mishandling of the weapon (Source: ONCFS). Why do hunters not respect these rules? We believe that a systematic lack of training, supervision and a lack of legal joint responsibility is to blame.
In other cases, the rules are outdated and inadequate. The legislator, which sets the rules to be respected by the federations neglected to implement reforms that would have saved dozens of lives. If they continue to turn a blind eye to the deaths caused by their members, the federations are as guilty as the person that pulls the trigger. They must bear responsibility.
ADD YOUR VOICE TO OUR APPEAL FOR CHANGE
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The group of hunters are not held jointly liable for accidents.
The National Federation of Hunters denies all responsibility juridique for the behaviour of its members, after granting them a hunting license.
We believe that the entire hunting group should be held jointly and severally liable for any accident that occurred during a hunt. This would ensure that hunt leaders closely supervise younger or less experienced hunters and control bad behaviour.
It would also encourage them to carefully check the background of the people they invite to a hunt, to ensure that the guests have not drunk alcohol, that they are in good health, and that their judgment is not impaired.
The FNC, ONCFS and the judiciary must tighten the sanctions taken following the breaches of the safety rules.
Young hunters have total freedom. The hunters who killed Marc Sutton and Gaël Lavy were 22 and 19 years old.
We believe that more supervision should be mandatory for young hunters. Their ability to fire, the weapons they can use, the proximity of the hunting areas, should be limited and the permissions increased gradually with age, experience, training and testing done.
"We believe the blame for the killings of Marc, Gael and others DOES NOT belong solely to the hunter that pulled the trigger. Those people that were supposed be in charge of the hunt, those that authorised that hunt, and those that created the rules and system that allowed these tragic circumstances to occur, are equally liable."
Hunters take a 30-minute exam and two half-day field training sessions to get a license. After that, they simply pay every year to renew their license. No further checks on eyesight, hearing or ability to handle weapons are carried out.
Hunting with a firearm is a hobby that endangers mountain sports practitioners and nature lovers. We think that this hobby must be much more tightly supervised. Additional training and checks are required after obtaining the permit to keep it.
No safety record is kept for individual hunters.
We believe that the actions of hunters must be closely monitored. Bad behaviour must be recorded in an "accident book" (as in the workplace) and if several bad actions are recorded, this should lead to additional mandatory training or a ban on hunting. These records for each hunter should be available in a national database.
High-powered weapons capable of killing 3 km away are allowed to be shot within 150 meters of houses and public places.
We believe that this law is out of date considering the firearms and ammunition currently used, particularly for big game hunting. We are asking for a change in the law regarding safety distances around residential areas and areas frequented by the public. We demand the use of bullets less likely to ricochet.
"Zero risk exists if hunts take place out of range of the public."
Warning signs are not mandatory everywhere a hunt is underway.
Warning signs and cordons should be placed around the entire perimeter of a planned hunt (whether by a single hunter or group), including larger boards and / or guards posted at public entry points. All possible points of entry for the public should be highlighted in a risk assessment, which should be approved prior to the hunt, and a solution found to ensure that the public does not have access to the area.
The hunters themselves sign a "declaration of honor" stating that they are not legally deprived of the right to possession of arms, and self-assess their physical capacity.
We ask that the obtaining of the hunting license be subjected to the systematic verification of the criminal record as well as to a medical examination which validates the capacities of the hunter - as is required during the practice of many sports.
Hunters suggest that walkers "sing loudly" and wear colourful clothing to reduce the risk of being shot.
We believe that it is the responsibility of those who have firearms to ensure that they do not shoot at the public. We can not sing throughout a long hike or bike ride. Even if we sing, we will not be heard at 3 km but we can be killed by a bullet shot at 3 km.
"Marc was wearing bright coloured clothes and the hunter had full visibility to identify him. It did not help him."
Consuming alcohol while hunting is not a crime. The police do not have the power to control the hunters.
We believe that the police should have the power to check the blood alcohol level of hunters even during unannounced inspections. Hunting while intoxicated should be sanctioned in the same way as drinking and driving.
There are alternative methods of controlling wildlife populations.
Other countries, like the United Kingdom, have zero deaths per hunt. There are non-hazardous alternatives that pose a zero risk.
"Why has not there been reform before? Why are these solutions not being considered by politicians? Could it be the 3.6 billion euros the industry is worth (souce: FNC)? Can we put a price on everyone's safety? "
The latest IPSOS survey shows that 81% of French people are opposed to hunting.
We ask for a more equitable "sharing" of nature. There are 15 million hikers for 1.3 million hunters. However, in some regions, hunters "take" 4 to 5 days a week, including weekends! France is the only country where there is no holiday without hunting.
The FNC Charter states they should be constantly looking to make the hunt safer – for non-hunters and hunters.
We believe that they were negligent in this duty and that their refusal to reform their safety rules has resulted in dozens of deaths. While allowing the use of more powerful weapons and more deadly ammunition, they failed to increase security and protect the public. They must now undertake comprehensive reform to ensure the safety of all in the future.