A big game hunter has been shot dead in a freak accident while on the prowl for a trophy lion in South Africa.
Croatian huntsman Pero Jelenic, 75, was hit by a stray bullet as he took aim at a lion on a private property in South Africa on Saturday, Jan. 27, according to the Daily Mail.
Local media reported he had already shot one lion dead before the accident happened in the country’s North West province.
Jelenic wanted to bag a lion trophy after hunting “everything that could be hunted in Europe” according to his friend, Slavko Pernar. It is unclear who fired the bullet that killed Jelenic, but police say they do not suspect foul play.
Pernar described Jelenic as a “passionate hunter of big and small game,” and that he had hunted in locations across the globe, said the Metro, citing local newspapers. He was in South Africa because he wanted to “complete his extensive trophy collection,” the Metro reported.
Jelenic’s friend said the ardent huntsman “received the ugliest end” but at least he died doing what he loved.
Jelenic had been looking forward to his retirement, having recently leased his hotel to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish, according to Pernar. The victim was said to have had a trophy hall full of specimens—including “everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.”
Police spokesman Sabata Mokgwabone told Daily Mail that Jelenic was still alive when air-lifted to a hospital for treatment of his wounds, but that “doctors were unable to save the man’s life.”
Mokgwabone added that a “case of culpable homicide has been opened, and police are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.”
The investigation continues.