Two hunters were injured in the western French region of Loire-Atlantique on Wednesday when the wild boar they were hunting turned and attacked them. One of the men was rushed to hospital for treatment and remains in critical condition. The animal is said to have weighed 100 kilos (220 pounds).
Wild boar are known as ferocious creatures made all the more dangerous by their swiftness, low center of gravity, muscular shoulders and sharp tusks — which they can use to tear open a hunter's leg, causing severe bleeding.
The incident was the latest in an ongoing series of serious hunting accidents in France. The frequency and severity of those accidents has sparked fierce debate over hunting practices in the country. Critics point to lax laws governing the sport as well as the ease with which a license can be obtained.
France's national hunting and wildlife agency ONCFS said that about 115 people had been injured in hunting accidents as of June 1, 2018. The agency said that roughly 85 percent of those injured were hunters and that 13 people had died from their injuries. Three of the deceased were not hunters.
Not just animals being killed
The grim statistic rose last weekend when a 34-year-old Welsh mountain biker living in France was shot in the chest while riding on a well-marked trail in the French Alps. The man, Marc Sutton, died from his injuries. The 22-year-old who shot him was hospitalized for shock and may face charges for aggravated manslaughter.
Two weeks ago another man in the same region was sentenced to one year in jail after being convicted of accidentally killing a runner with a single bullet to the head. Critics have demanded tighter regulations on hunting in populated areas or those popular with non-hunting outdoor enthusiasts.
Controversial outside France as well
Hunting is not only a controversial topic in France. Recently an American TV host drew anger from residents in Scotland after she posted several pictures of herself with animals that she shot and killed across the country, among them, a wild goat on the island of Islay.
Local Parliamentarian Michael Russel responded to Larysa Switlk's post by condemning the practice of hunting goats in Scotland, calling for it to be "stopped immediately." He specifically criticized tourism companies offering hunters the chance to stalk and kill wild goats, which others call an invasive species.