A trophy hunter was killed just as he was aiming his gun at a lion in a South African game preserve, in what authorities believe is merely a tragic accident, The Sun is reporting.
Pero Jelenic, a 75-year-old hunter from Croatia, was on a private game reserve in South Africa last week when he met his end. He’d spent his retirement collecting big-game trophies, filling the walls of his home with mounted boar heads, bear heads, and trophies of other European fauna. Having already hunted “everything that could be hunted in Europe,” according to his friend, Slavko Pernar, Jelenic had turned his sights towards Africa.
And so it was that Jelenic found himself at Leeubosch Lodge, a remote, private farm near the border with Botswana. There, Jelenic had enjoyed a successful hunt, having already killed a lion and tracked another one. And just as he was setting his sights on his second kill, Jelenic himself was killed – apparently by a stray bullet from another hunter.
Farm owner Gideon Engelbrecht said he was away from the reserve when the incident occurred. He arranged for Jelenic to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, but Jelenic did not survive the ordeal.
As of this writing, authorities do not suspect foul play, believing that the retiree was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said that the police intend to investigate fully, with an eye towards anyone who may have been hunting on the property illegally.
“A case of culpable homicide has been opened, and police are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. At this stage it is not clear who fired the fatal shot that killed Mr Jelinic. Our investigations are ongoing.”
This marks the third time in recent months that a trophy hunter has been killed while on the hunt. Back in August 2017, as The Independent reported at the time, a big-game hunter in Namibia was killed by a charging elephant. Jose Monzalvez, of Argentina, was with a group hunting big game, also on a private game reserve, when they set their sights on a herd of elephants. Unfortunately for Monzalvez, the elephants apparently also had their own sights on the group, and one of them charged at the group, trampling the Argentine to death.
Similarly, back in May 2017, as CBS News reported at the time, big-game hunter Theunis Botha was with a group of hunters in Zimbabwe when a group of elephants charged the hunters. A fellow hunter fatally shot a female that had picked up Botha with her trunk, and she fell on him as she died, crushing him to death.