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Hunter charged for shooting elk, killing skier

TT/The Local/dl · 29 Apr 2011, 13:59

Published: 29 Apr 2011 10:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Apr 2011 13:59 GMT+02:00

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The 71-year-old cross country skier was killed instantly by the stray bullet in an incident which took place in December of last year outside of Ljungby in southern Sweden.

Prosecutor Marcus Sjöstrand believes the female hunter neglected to take proper precautions before firing the fatal shot.

"It's important to test where the boundary for carelessness lies and the court need to look at all the circumstances," Sjöstrand told the local Smålandsposten newspaper.

According to Sjöstrand, the case is the first of its kind in Sweden.

The hunter believes the shooting should be considered accidental, according to her lawyer, Lars Cronqvist, who explained that his client made a faulty assessment.

"As a hunter, you make an assessment when you choose where you're going to stand. Her assessment was that was a target butt in the form of a small rise. She's experiences, but also had another experienced hunter with her who also shared her judgment," Cronqvist told the TT news agency.

The woman took her hunting licence six years ago, but it was the first time she had shot an elk.

"It's an incredibly tragic experience for everyone involved, not least for the family of the victim, of course, but my client has also take this quite hard," her lawyer added.

During the trial, the accident will be reconstructed at the sight of the deadly shooting.

According to investigators, the hunter shot an elk calf from about 50 metres away. At the same moment, the 71-year-old skier came around a curve.

The bullet hit the elk in the neck and continued another 60 metres before hitting the skier, killing him instantly.

Henrik Barnekow, a hunting consultant at the Swedish Hunters Association (Svenska Jägareförbundet) in Kristianstad, told news agency TT at the time that it is not uncommon for a shot to pass through an elk or any other game.

However, he has never heard of a bullet continuing on to kill someone.

The Hunters Association nevertheless welcomed the indictment.

Story continues below…

"The indictment in itself is justified because we all want to know where responsibility rests," the association's Daniel Ligné told TT.

The outcome of the case may end up being taken into account in the association's future education and information initiatives.

"This has been a punching bag in order to discredit hunters. That's a shame, because this is a tragic incident which is the consequence of a series of very unfortunate circumstances," said Ligné.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:42 April 29, 2011 by HYBRED
It seems like the accident would be reconstructed before the trial to see if charges are warranted.

But based upon the information above, when a bullet hits anything it will deflect or richochet, from flesh to a small degree, and if it hit bone, to a large degree. So unless the shooter was in direct line of the skier I see no recklessess of the hunter.

But it is still a extremely unfortunate situation.
12:13 April 29, 2011 by engagebrain
So hunters know that bullets pass through animals, either in a straight line or with some deflection,

but Hybred then argues that the hunter is not responsible for where the bullet goes, unless it is in straight line !!
14:00 April 29, 2011 by rohermoker
In Minnesota were I hunt ,the hunter is responsable from the muzzle of the rifle to the point where the bulled burries itself in the earth
14:31 April 29, 2011 by Roy E
Punishment seems pointless to me.

If there was no malicious intent, any state imposed punishment will pale in comparison to the mental anguish the hunter will carry with him to the grave.
15:09 April 29, 2011 by Elvine
@Roy E, it was a female hunter.
15:29 April 29, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
Roy E, it was a female hunter.

I disagree about the punishment seemingly pointless, because it is a criminally negligent accident. Somebody died through the direct actions of another individual.

I do not think there should be much prison time and I hope that she gets counseling in there because like Roy E, I too believe her punishment will be nothing to her mental anguish.

If I find out she gets MORE time than the rapists get here in Sweden, then outrage.

I have to say though - WOW - WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!!! Guy comes out of no where to get hit. I wonder if he was the only other person on that road within a couple of KM.

(That is why when I get the urge to kill someone, I mean something, I always use Dum-dum bullets ;-)
15:39 April 29, 2011 by Tanskalainen
The article fails to mention what kind of ammunition she was using. Was she using FMJ? FMJ (full metal jacket) is much more likely to pass through a deer than soft point, hollow point or pure lead bullets. FMJ is illegal to hunt with in most countries but some idiots use it regardless because it is cheap. If she hit the animal in the neck but did not hit vertibre there would have not been much to stop it. I don't think prison time is justified unless she was using FMJ.
15:43 April 29, 2011 by Roy E

We'll then she'd be a huntress then, wouldnt' t she? :-)
16:28 April 29, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
The manslaughter laws differentiates between an accidental death caused during the commission of a crime, like using a FMJ, and accidental death that was caused by negligence. Both of which carry punishments.

Accidental death, like a kid running out from between parked cars, is not seen as manslaughter.
18:27 April 29, 2011 by DJECKY

Who is a rapist?????

The lady who invites you in her apartment and seduces you to have sex with her and after goes to the police or the lady a man will harased on the road for forcefull sex??????.
18:35 April 29, 2011 by itsnicehere
sorry for the family concerned but it seems like a fluke accident
19:42 April 29, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
DJECKY, I am wondering if she will get more time served than a rapist gets. I have no desire to differentiate between definitions of rape. Are you saying a date rapist and an unknown rapist have different sentences? I would say any rape.

I had a thought that this might actually be similar to a kid running into traffic. Guy comes around the corner. Then again shooting on a road where there is a reasonable expectation of other traffic. What if it had been a car with kids inside.
20:42 April 29, 2011 by Grandson of Swedish Emigrants
A couple of points taht I wished the article would have discussed more.

(1) Was the cross country skier on an established ski trail? If so, should that have been a factor in where the stooting stand was taken? (yes)

(2) Was the shooter using an appropriate round for the hunting purpose? For example using either FMJ ammo in typical elk/moose caliber rifle would not have been appropriate, just as using say 50BMG would not have been appropriate for hunting a young elk.

(3) A neck shot is an "old school" way of destroying as little meat as possible and at times can be a very difficult shot as you really need to either sever the spin or major veins/arteries. A head shot of heart/lung shot is often the more prefered shot. Why did the hunteress feel that a neck shot was reasonable.

(4) Are there varying degrees of manslaughter under Swedish law? Involuntary manslaughter, usually involves negligence or doing something wrong and/or reckless. Unless there is some unusual facts, this seems like a tragic accident, and involuntary manslaughter seems a bit harsh. Even though it may accidental the hunter(ess) does need to bear some responsibility under the law. Some jurisdictions in the USA might classify this as either excusable or justifiable homicide, if no criminal neglegence was present.

So what the story is trying to say is what is the fine line between criminal neglegence and excusable homicide? Tough call. I suspect that there are few additional details that have been left out of the story that are why the charge is why it was. A true tragedy.
22:08 April 29, 2011 by MarkinBoston
""It's important to test where the boundary for carelessness lies and the court need to look at all the circumstances," Sjöstrand told the local Smålandsposten newspaper."

I don't know what this means. Either the prosecutor thinks a crime was committed or not. if the prosecutor has no confidence that a crime was actually committed, how do they put the hunter through the ordeal of criminal prosecution? Are people in Sweden really charged with a crime that they might have committed?

Without knowing the details and Swedish law, I have to idea whether a crime was committed. The assumption is that a hunter is responsible for where they shoot, Here in Massachusetts, USA, deer can only be hunted with shotguns because it is such a small state that there are few places that a rifle bullet couldn't carry from hunting grounds to human habitation.
00:14 April 30, 2011 by technoviking
I would also be interested in knowing the type of ammo used... If it was FMJ then shame on her. Crueler to the animal and more dangerous just to save a few sheckles...

If not, sounds like horrible luck for everyone involved either way.
01:18 April 30, 2011 by Ecaz
This is stupid. It was clearly an accident.

"According to investigators, the hunter shot an elk calf from about 50 metres away. At the same moment, the 71-year-old skier came around a curve."

When you're looking down a scope you don't focus much on the surroundings you focus on the target something else would just be stupid.
08:59 April 30, 2011 by Rick Methven

"You focus on the target"

You should also be aware of everything else in surrounding area. Or in your book is it OK to shoot a Ålg in a crowd of people as long as only the animal is in the cross hairs. The training you take to get a permit, teaches you that you should be aware of all the possible ramifications of the shot you are about to take
11:01 April 30, 2011 by Rat bat
Well my view is that the criminal and civil matters need to be considered differently.

I hold the view that in civil law a rifleman (or riflewoman) must take responsibility for everything the bullet does from the moment you stick it in the gun to the moment it comes to rest.

Unless the man on the skis can be shown to done something very stupid then sadly the woman needs to take full responsibility for the accident. I say that hunters should be required to take out insurance to cover the costs of any accidents.

The criminal case is harder for me to make a choice. I think that depending on what exactly happened she is either guilty or innocent. As I do not know quite what happened I can not say if the woman is guilty.

If I had to shoot an animal I would be likely to choose a torso shot and not a neck or head shot. I would also make a point of using a hollow point bullet which will expand on impact and deliver more of its energy into the target rather than zooming out the other side after having lost almost no energy.
11:29 April 30, 2011 by luxio
I'm not surprised : hunters = idiots
11:06 May 1, 2011 by wenddiver
Cross Country Skiers need to remember that they move very quickly and quietly through the woods, so a shot that was clear one moment, might not be a mili-second later. I don't think wearing hunting vests is inappropriate in an area that allows hunters.

I lost an Uncle to a hunter, he was wearing a Western Style Dear Skin (Buck Skin) Jacket, so you really can't be mad at the shooter.
02:06 May 2, 2011 by Da Goat
This pure and simple a freak thing that happens when the unlucky stars align,

there is nothing to say that the unfortunate skier was obscured by the alg and the huntress did not even know not to shoot, their is nothing to say she did not do everything right.

Yep one has to feel sad for everyone concerned, the huntress, the skier with family and the legal system itself.

my guess is she shot and the alg dropped or moved and she had a oh shiiiiit moment!

on the other hand the poor sap could have been in the bushes and nobody would have been any the wiser.
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