“She heard a single gunshot and shortly thereafter realised she had been struck by a bullet…”
A mountain biker was shot off their bike last week in New Hampshire, USA by a hunter who claims they were aiming for a deer.
The trails the unnamed 27-year-old woman was riding on were in Elm Brook Park in Hopkinton, in an area open to hunting, with a statement from New Hampshire Fish and Game department saying that the incident happened around dusk.
The statement reads: “At approximately 4:20 PM the victim was struck by bullet fragments while riding her mountain bike on Hall Road on U.S. Army Corps of Engineering property in Elm Brook Park in Hopkinton, NH.
“She was traveling east on Hall Road, which is an Army Corps access road in a heavily wooded area. As she came to an area of the road that is fairly open, she heard a single gunshot and shortly thereafter realised she had been struck by a bullet.”
While desperately unlucky to find herself on the receiving end of some savage misjudgment from a local hunter, who was apparently there to hunt deer, the rider can at least be thankful that her injuries were “non-life threatening” and she was released from the hospital she was rushed to not long after treatment. She is now expected to make a full recovery.
According to Fish and Game, the shooter in question “was shooting at a deer and failed to see the victim on her mountain bike in the background” but there is an ongoing investigation into the case and it has yet to be decided whether or not the hunter will be charged.
Lt. Scott LaCrosse of NH Fish and Game added: “Because it happened just before dark we haven’t really been able to piece a whole lot together yet.
“Once you pull that trigger, you can’t take the bullet back. The hunters [are] not the only ones in the woods, and you have to positively identify your target before you pull the trigger.”
It may seem foreign to many mountain bikers to have to be on the look out not only for rocks and roots but for bullets as well on an evening ride, but in parts of the USA mountain bikers know they need to take particular care around dawn or dusk during hunting season.
That doesn’t mean it’s down to the mountain biker to avoid getting shot of course. We would assume if you must go deer hunting – something we fundamentally disagree with in the first place – then you should at least check your target out properly first.
Commentators in the New Hampshire area certainly took to their keyboards to complain, with one saying “garbage excuse. The chances of randomly hitting a biker in the exact line of fire as a deer are practically zero” and another questioning the hunting laws in New Hampshire, where they say “hunters are allowed free reign and NH citizens during the deer killing period are basically held hostage out of fear of getting hurt or killed.”
They go on to say that “public land such as skate parks should not allow hunting,” which seems like common sense to us, and also highlight that “hunters constantly ridicule hikers, bike riders and nature walkers claiming we shouldn’t even be in the woods at all, or if we do get injured it is somehow our fault”.
Calls have been made for law changes to prevent this sort of incident happening again, with local nature enthusiasts asking for at least one day a week where hunting is illegal, as is the case in Maine. Currently in New Hampshire, it’s legal to hunt until half an hour after sunset.
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