Elk hunter acquitted of killing skier by mistake

A Swedish elk hunter who felled her first elk with a single shot that passed through the animal only to hit and then kill a cross-country skier, has been acquitted of manslaughter charges by the district court in Växjö in central Sweden.

The 32-year-old hunter had held her license for six years when her first elk was felled in December 2010 with a single shot, a shot with tragic consequences.

Just 60 metres beyond the felled beast lay a 71 year-old cross-country skier in the snow in Ljungby, in southern Sweden

The bullet which killed the elk had contined, hitting the skier and killing him instantly

”We tried to resuscitate him, but it was impossible,” said the woman to the police.

The incident occurred in Ljungby, in southern Sweden, in December 2010.

The 32-year-old woman faced manslaughter charges for the incident, but the court ruled on Thursday she was innocent on all criminal charges.

According to her lawyer, the incident has been hard for the hunter overcome.

“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,” said lawyer Lars Cronqvist to news agency TT.

A forensic analyst wrote in his report that ”bullets travelling through felled animals are probably not that uncommon but the chances of something like this happening are extremely slim”, reported Aftonbladet after the incident.

Henrik Barnekow, a hunting consultant at the Swedish Hunters Association (Svenska Jägareförbundet) in Kristianstad, told 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.

“However, there have been incidents of a bullet ricocheting out of the game, continuing and killing the hunter’s dog situated near the prey,” he added.

According to the association’s communications director Christina Nilson-Dag, hunting accidents injuring a person not involved in the hunt itself are extremely rare, occurring at most once every ten years.

In 2002, a Lithuanian berry picker was shot and killed by an 80 year-old hunter who believed the berry picker to be a moose. The 80 year-old was convicted of aggrieved manslaughter.

“It is the only accident of this nature that I can recall,” said Nilson-Dag.

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.