According local reports he had shot another lion dead before the accident happened while he was taking aim at a second victim.
He was in the North West province and friend Slavko Pernar said he wanted to get a lion trophy after hunting ‘everything that could be hunted in Europe’.
Croation Pero Jelinic, 75, was struck by a stray bullet from a fellow hunter’s rifle after he had killed one lion and was preparing his shot to kill a second.
The hunter and his friends were at Leeubosch Lodge in South Africa near Setlagole, a facility that offers “canned hunting”. Canned hunting is a controversial industry in which lions are raised in captivity and released into a fenced area. Hunters pay to track and kill them as trophies. The “sport” is often likened to shooting fish in a barrel.
Jelinic’s friends told the Croatian paper Jutarnji List that Jelinic “was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world.”
After being shot, Jelinic was airlifted to hospital but died shortly afterwards. Police have opened a culpable homicide case but his friends insist it was an “accident” not “murder” the BBC reported
Animal rights activists have been pushing South Africa to ban canned lion hunting, which has become big draw for wealthy trophy hunters wanting to kill the endangered species.
South Africa is the world’s biggest exporter of animal heads – mainly to hunters who pay thousands of dollars to hunt lions and take their heads home as trophies.