By Emma Bertenshaw [email protected]
Some Algarve residents enjoy the space and freedom of living in the countryside away from the relative bustle of towns and resorts. Earlier this month on a Sunday, one reader got more than he bargained for when a group of hunters came too close to his house in the hills above Albufeira.
He shared his story with the Algarve Resident in the hopes of raising more awareness about this ongoing issue.
“My family and I live in a rural community surrounded by typical Algarvean scrubland that has been raided by sports hunters for years now,” said the foreign resident who wished not to be named for fear of retaliation.
“There are clear-cut city ordinances prohibiting hunting any closer than 250m from settlements of less than 10 houses but these are largely ignored.”
He heard a series of shots fired close to his home and, alarmed by the nearness of it, went up to the roof of the house to get a better view.
“Approximately 150m away, I saw a group of hunters shooting at prey (probably rabbits) and when they noticed my wife and I observing their movements, one pointed his rifle threateningly in our direction,” he said.
“He descended the hill towards our house and as he was hidden by the scrub, I went down into my garden to see what he was up to.”
Catching sight of the hunter over the garden fence, the resident shouted in Portuguese that he had called the GNR and that they were trespassing. The hunter disappeared again and it was when the reader heard a sound like gravel hitting foliage that he realised he had been shot.
“My wife confirmed I was bleeding from a wound above my eye, but I hadn’t even noticed due to the adrenaline,” he said.
Realising he needed to identify the shooter, the reader ran to get his camera, jumped in his car with his wife and raced to the meet point where he knew hunters usually gathered.
“My intention was to identify the illegal hunters and, in particular, the ‘Sunday mercenary’ who shot me. As we arrived, they were beating a hasty retreat but I confronted one, who would have left me worse for wear had my wife not shown him her video phone and said it would be evidence,” he said.
When the GNR arrived shortly afterwards, the couple relayed their story.
A spokesman from the GNR police told the Algarve Resident: “We can confirm the incident. However, due to the involvement of firearms, the investigation is being carried out by the Polícia Judiciária.”
The GNR´s advice to residents in a similar situation is to avoid confrontations with hunters trespassing but to call the police. “Our job is to monitor these situations and if the hunter, or hunters, is in a forbidden or private area we have to warn them and inform them of the law applied to hunting.”
Have you been affected in a similar way? Share your experience with our readers. Email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]