A hunter who accidentally killed a man he mistook for a wild boar while hunting, has received a suspended sentence as well as a lifelong ban from hunting. The hunter who possessed a hunting licence for only four months before the incident, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He told the court he mistook the victim for a wild boar when he shot him dead in 2020. The incident took place after dark.
The victim of the fatal gunshot was hit in the chest while cutting wood on his land where he and his brother lived. They have been living on the land for years and they were part of the community that bordered the farm where the incident occurred.
According to Johann van de Giessen, manager of hunting affairs at the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association, hunting is usually banned from half-an-hour after sunset, to half-an-hour before sunrise. He states that in some provinces animals fall through the cracks of this legislation. Bushpigs, porcupines, and other ‘problem’ animals such as jackals are not mentioned in the legislation, but applying for a night hunting permit is the safest option.
Hunting at night is prohibited in South Africa except for management purposes such as the culling of wildlife. South African hunters that intend to hunt at night must apply for a Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) permit and they should notify the relevant office or local SAPS prior to such a hunt.
The tragic incident mentioned earlier, clearly falls in that grey area of hunting problem animals, who come out after dusk, increasing the risk of accidents. Unfortunately, in this case, a quick mishap to “roep en skiet” in the dark has not only taken the life of a member of a family but it has severe consequences for the person that made the poor decision to pull the trigger. Besides the legal consequences, he will have to live with the fact that he took someone’s life forever.
Have you ever considered what may happen if you were to accidentally discharge your firearm and someone is wounded? Or worse, killed someone while aiming at an animal when visibility is not optimal? It does not matter whether someone is fatally wounded or not, it results in a potential civil legal or criminal court case which can be financially devastating! A weekend in the bush with the boys can indeed turn into your worst nightmare.
Hunting at night, even to rid farms of animals that cause destruction such as a jackal, a great deal of planning should go into such an event to avoid all possibilities of an accident occurring. An accident cannot however be prevented fully given the fact that so many things can go wrong in the dark.
In the event of an accident, Firearms Guardian offers legally armed citizens comprehensive legal and liability protection and includes incidents like accidental discharge. A Firearms Guardian policy also covers firearm self-defence, hunting trips, sport shooting, firearm training sessions, unlawful arrest by the SAPS, and more.
You might be the best shot in your hunting circle but you are not immune to an accident. Be responsible, be covered by Firearms Guardian and happy hunting!
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