Tuesday, December 09, 2014

TJ Tuesday: Private Hunting Ground

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!


Sarah said...

Our lot have been hunting boar which is on the increase everywhere. In fact, to keep their hunting licence, hunters are obliged to bag X number of boars.

We often see evidence of boar activity when out on our walks. They cause a ton of damage, the little buggers.

Anonymous said...

They've pretty much killed everything with fur or feather in our area, so although we occasionally hear fusillades reminiscent of full-scale warfare, I've never seen any of the hunters with a kill. They just seem to wander around in their green wellies with their guns and dogs, tooting on their horn, then they get back in their vans and go home.

Betty Carlson said...

To both -- I really know little if anything about hunting, so that is interesting, and somewhat contradictory, information from you. I guess it really does depend on the area.

Sarah, there are boar in our area but I haven't heard about any overpopulation problems! And nodamn, I have no idea if hunters are bringing home kill around us or just tromping about.

Nadege said...

Sadly, my brother in law and nephew are hunters, or rather used to hunt! I am not sure they still do as my brother in law is getting older and my nephew has a 4 year old and a 2 year old. They used to hunt boars and hares, chevreuils and foxes… Pretty sickening if you ask me but they are from "la France profonde".

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I enjoyed reading this post (along with that charming photo). I would have to say that I would not want them hunting skunk in the area. If they miss and only aggravate the skunk, well.....


Betty Carlson said...

Nadège, I've mainly heard about boar, hare, "chevreuil," and pheasant hunting here. Not so much about foxes. I've always been confused about what a chevreuil is exactly. The translatio is "roe deer" but that doesn't help me much. I guess it's a European species.

Genie, I changed the list of animals on my post after your comment. All of my life, I have thought "putois" was the translation for "skunk." I double checked after your comment and in fact it translates to "polecat", which is a type of weasel. And the dictionary says "polecat" is a North American term for "skunk" -- although I had never really heard it, for me a skunk is a skunk! But I'm sure that's where my original confusion came from, because it's a word I've thought I've known since pre-Internet days.

Aussie in France said...

Hi Betty, we live in Sologne (Blois, Chambord) where hunting is still very big. The "chasse gardée" also applies to mushrooms and we were tracked recently by the farmer who owned the land where we were picking our mushrooms. We're keeping to forêts domaniales in the future.

Robin Pywell said...

Plenty of coypu in this area (upper reaches of the Charente in the Vienne département) and hunting them is encouraged as they do so much damage to the riverbanks.