Lately, Field & Stream readers have gotten some insight into the strictly-regulated and licensed nature of hunting in Germany. Now, according to this article, their European comrades in Italy are facing calls for stricter safety controls for that country’s hunters.
From this story in the LA Times:
_They came from opposite directions, two avid hunters tracking the same wild boar. Neither knew the other was there. So when one noticed a flash of movement in a nearby bush, he fired two quick rounds ˜ adding the other man’s name to the grim roll of those killed in pursuit of a deadly pastime. As Italy weighs up the tons of birds, hares and other game bagged over its official five-month hunting season, the country is facing the uncomfortable fact that enthusiasts fatally shot an alarming number of humans as well, at the rate of about one a week.
_Some of the deaths were self-inflicted, accidents caused by the hunters’ own weapons. Other victims were fellow hunters mistaken for prey. But bystanders out for a pleasant walk through the woods or a bike ride through the Italian countryside have also been caught in the line of fire. The casualty count has stoked debate over whether such a potentially dangerous sport ought to be more strictly regulated or even outlawed here in a land where about 800,000 residents hold hunting licenses, or 1 in 75 Italians. The number of licenses has declined to its present level from about 2 million a few decades ago as Italy’s population becomes more urban.
The country’s tourism minister, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, an ardent animal rights advocate, has called for tighter rules for hunters, who enjoy remarkably liberal rights of trespass in this country. In a leftover from the Fascist era, when the government encouraged Italians to familiarize themselves with guns, hunters are allowed to roam on private property and shoot up to 50 yards from a road or 150 yards from a house. Brambilla wants those distances increased now that the population has grown and become more densely packed. Heavier restrictions are also supported by wildlife organizations and conservancy groups. But Italy’s powerful hunting lobby opposes any change, describing current rules as stringent enough._