One of many ways to show the privacy of a hunting ground
Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau
Somewhere deep in the woods between the Aveyron and Gard departments, someone has staked out his -- or her -- private hunting ground.
Hunting is practiced in our area, as it is in much of France. The first autumn that we lived in our new house, we were woken up by resounding gunshots on the morning of the "ouverture de chasse". They sounded like they were practically coming from our back yard, and my husband said anything that loud was certainly illegally close to our property.
Perhaps we had built our house on someone's unofficial "chasse gardée."
I don't hear nearly as many gunshots anymore. Hunting season here just closed for hare and partridge, and all fall I only heard one or two shots.
I haven't read anything about it, but I imagine that hunting must be dying out here. Like many activities that take time and patience, I'm not sure it appeals to younger generations.
As a meat-eater, I don't pass judgment on hunters or hunting. It's not something I'd care to do, but I've had a few opportunities to chow down on locally hunted meat, and the pleasure has been mine.
Before writing this post, I had just figured "hunting season" in France was set by national dates. Actually, it is much more complex. Hunting is regulated by each département, and the dates differ. For example, in this hunting ground that was nestled between two départements, in the Gard area they would get an extra week to hunt hare and partridge compared to Aveyron.
Dates also vary according to species. Partridge and hare can breathe more easily now in Aveyron, but fox and pheasant are fair game until the end of January.
The Gard hunting rules cite a lot more species: badgers, muskrats, coypu (?), and stone marten (?) are all regulated with specific dates. I don't know if these animals just don't exist in Aveyron, or if they are not frequent hunting prey.
In fact for the latter two, I didn't even know these animals existed at all!