Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hunting of a different kind

Hunting season or la chasse started last month. It's a big deal here & not unusual to see entourages of pickups & 4WDs full of orange attired hunters drive past. Around these parts, the game is sanglier (wild boar) or fowl.

Hunting is highly regulated in France. There is a list of species of birds & mammals that can be hunted. You're not allowed to hunt unless you have a valid hunting license which is renewable every year. In order to get the license, you need to pass both a written & practical exam testing your knowledge of security, wildlife, hunting techniques & shooting abilities.

This is not my thing but neither does it bother me (okay maybe just a teeny weeny bit) if someone wants to do it as a hobby. In France, statistics have shown that this is the second most popular sport after football. The women around here would attest to that cos they become hunting widows during the weekends.

But what bothers me most is the proximity with which they hunt. Last year, we had a view of a hunt in progress from our terrace - we could see the dogs chasing after their prey, hear the shots of the rifles & the shouts of the hunters in the woods right in front of our house.

We can't even go hiking without worrying that hunters could be in the area. My neighbours keep their dogs on a tight leash at all times. Apparently across France, there are about 20 serious incidents a year, sometimes involving death.

Darn if I'm going to let these hunters get in the way of my looking for mushrooms. I've been told to wear an orange vest when out in the woods. No mushroom is worth being mistaken for game so I only venture out on Mondays to Wednesdays when it is forbidden to hunt.


Anonymous said...

Hunting accidents happen because some hunters are irresponsible. You're right to avoid them. In their frenzy to kill, they will fire at anything that moves.

alicia in exile said...

This reminds me of hunting season at my father in law's. We have to stay indoors in order to avoid the stray bullets from across the pond. I'm going to try the corn flake nuggets for my son. Like your daughter, he chows down on anything, and I mean anything.

petite fleur said...

Anonymous - Yup the threat is very real. Everybody here knows somebody who has been hurt in a hunting accident.

Alicia - I can't believe how close they come to the houses. Where does your FIL live ?

and good for you, your son is not picky.

alicia in exile said...

He's in the Mayenne region, in a place tucked away called Hermet. But still, the hunters manage to find it. It's really the sound that gets me, pop pop pop like fire crackers. I just pretend there's a lion dance outside.