Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2005

Two dead, 17 injured on day one of hunting season

By Constantine Markides

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy was killed on the opening day of hunting season when the uncle whom he was accompanying on a hunting excursion slipped and fell to the ground, resulting in his shotgun misfiring and fatally wounding the boy.

On the same day, a hunter died of a heart attack, while at least another 17 others were injured in hunting-related accidents.

Twelve-year-old Ploutarchos Theocharous, a first-year student at Klirou high school, often accompanied his uncle on hunting trips since his parents were not hunters. The police said that the uncle probably had his safety mechanism in the off-position, which is why the shotgun fired when he fell.

State pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous said that the 12-year-old received a fatal gunshot wound in the front of his body and had been transported dead to the Nicosia General Hospital.

Fifty-eight-year old Nikos Kyriakides, a staff worker at Limassol General Hospital, suffered a heart attack while hunting in the village of Paramali and was declared dead at Limassol General Hospital.

In another accident, a 38-year-old received 10 shotgun pellets in the chest from the shotgun of his friend, with whom he was hunting. Another of the 17 reported injured suffered from a pellet wound in his right eye.

Hunting for partridge, hares, wood pigeons, and hazel grouse is permitted every Sunday and Wednesday from October 30 to December 26, except on Christmas day. Because Christmas falls on a Wednesday, the final day of the season has been moved to the following day – Thursday, December 26.

Rifles are not permitted. Most of the guns used are 12-gauge shotguns.

Police Spokesman Demetris Demetriou said that there were “undoubtedly” more injuries than those publicised because many hunters do not report their injuries to the police. “They get injured, go for First Aid, and then leave.”

Director of Game Services Pantelis Hadjiyerou told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that there were in fact fewer accidents this year than in the past, adding that there were between 40 and 50 injuries reported on the opening day of hunting season last year.

Hadjiyerou claimed that hunting accidents have declined because they introduced a law two years ago requiring hunters to wear bright orange gear rather than camouflage and because every hunter now has to take three sessions of a three-hour class and then pass a hunter’s safety exam.

Bird flu panic may have swept the media and much of the population, but apparently it did not affect the hunting community. Hadjiyerou claimed the number of hunters on Sunday numbered about 50,000, and so injuries were inevitable.

“Also keep in mind that there is lots of game out there, that adrenaline is high because you want to shoot something, and that many of the hunters are congregating in the same areas.”

Hadjiyerou said that most of the injuries were minor ones and many could have been prevented if hunters wore hunting glasses, adding that most accidents were caused from shotgun pellets fired from a large distance.

“These pellets don’t penetrate your skin beyond a distance of 30 or 40 metres and won’t inflict much damage on your body unless you are hit on the eye,” Hadjiyerou said.

The minimum age to hunt was once 21, but is now 18.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2005

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