A 62-year-old French man participating in a hunt has died after being gored by a deer. The incident happened in a location known as Compiegne, a wooded area 85km north of Paris, at 10am on Monday (November 6).
The man, named locally as Regis Lavasseur, was acting as a 'beater' by attempting to corner the animal into a specific location, when it struck with its antlers. The lone deer hit Lavasseur – who was unarmed at the time – in his abdomen, causing internal bleeding.
Emergency services were called to the scene but the hunter died of his injuries before they arrived. Police called the incident "uncommon".
Guy Harlé, the president of the local hunters' federation, said: "Normally the animal would flee, but this time he decided to charge. It came after him."
"The antlers of the stag are like many knives piercing you, there is nothing you can do. This tragic accident reminds us that we do not play with a wild animal. There is an inherent risk with hunting," said Harlé.
Friends say Lavessuer was a keen hunter who loved his sport. He was due to get married in the coming months.
"He was a very thoughtful person who did not speak much, and for him, hunting was more than a hobby, it was his life," Harlé said.
Hunting is popular in France, particularly in the south of country. The season begins in September and lasts until February. There has been a number of fatalities associated with hunting in France in recent years.
The first weekend of the hunting season was marred by the death of a 13-year-old boy. The teenager was accidentally shot in the head by his grandfather when the pair were walking in west of the country.
Since 2001 there have been 351 deaths caused by shooting accidents in France, with 18 fatalities recorded last year alone. Some experts have blamed the high figure on laws that permit hunting on every day of the week, including weekends when there are more people in the countryside.