Hunting Season

Well its come round again quicker than ever...waking up to gunshots, having to go out with the dogs as they are terrified...Today was such a lovely day I went for a bike ride whilst the Sunday dinner was cooking, cycling along thinking how lovely it is to be able to do this on quiet roads when...BANG BANG..well I nearly fell off the bike, looked to my left and there in the middle of a field close to houses was the enemy standing there with his huge gun/rifle slung over his shoulder...well my legs were going nineteen to the dozen to get back home to relative safety. I say relative as last year my neighbours horse was shot dead in his front garden moments after I had passed his house with the dog!!! I thought there were laws about where they could hunt and not near houses, but they hunt where they like round here. Is it the same all over France???

We're in dept. 11 Aude - beautiful countryside but at this time of year enjoyed at one's risk as it becomes over-run with they are only supposed to hunt on Weds and Sundays but as has been mentioned these restrictions are not observed!!!

I have thought that as well Sharon...that is terrible...3 fatalities!!!! Very scarey indeed!!!! I am surprised that there are not more headlines in the media about the fatalities that are incurred by hunters?? Whereabouts in France are you???

Like you Maria, I dread the hunting season - when we first arrived here we were very blase about the hunts as we thought that people knew what they were doing - I now know of three fatalities locally (one was a hunter, another was someone innocently picking mushrooms and the third was an Englishman taking his usual Sunday stroll). That's without knowing of all the domestic animals that have come a cropper - I really fear for my horse (and his mates) on our land as we are on the edge of a forest! What is the point of the 150metre rule when I've been told by a hunter that a bullet from their rifle can travel at least 1km???

I seem to have everything in the field around me, wild boar, foxes, hare, deer, pheasant, red squirrels, coypu, rabbits etc. etc. and there are plenty of hunters parked on the corners with their white vans, dogs and guns. Luckily they don't seem to come up my little bit of lane. There are 10-12 horses in the top lane in separate strip grazing pieces and it may be that it's too difficult for them to avoid the horses. I do hear them shooting about two fields away from me but not closer.

Hi Kenneth, I think you are very lucky like some other people on this site to live in an area which has responsible hunters. I have never seen a wild boar here in the Vendee, but have seen some deer which I find absolutely fascinating and I am horrified to think of them being hunted, but that is my romantic idea of the countryside!! I do realise that crops have to be protected but it is the safety or lack of it in this area that scares me.

Well Maria, I am shocked by all of the replies you have received in which people are terrified by irresponsible hunters and dogs in their own homes. However you asked whether it was the same all over France.

Our biggest pest in the Ardennes is the wild boar and unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts of the hunting fraternity, their population has been increasing. The hunt authorities permitted the various clubs to kill 6596 wild boar in the season of 2001/2012 and this is carefully monitored. However they only managed to kill 5980 animals. Agricultural land would be completely infested if interest in hunting declined.

In the Ardennes the total reported damage by wildlife to crops in the season 2010 to 2011 was 358,871 euros. The damage to cereal crop was 53.3 hectares whilst there were 140.31 hectares of wheat reported as destroyed. The hunting areas are typically far from habitation as the wildlife can hide away in no less than 151,170 hectares of forested land. The hunting rules are strict and the social drinking always comes after the hunt. We have 9105 hunters in the area with an average age of 53. As two of my colleagues are hunters, I overhear some of their exploits at the canteen but nothing comes close to the horror of your other replies.

Frances, thanks for your kind words. I just responded to your email directly. Looking forward to discussing with you.

Beatrix, I've just sent you an email via your website. I'm interested in showing my hunting friend your establishment (he loves nature) and including your lovely property in my blog in France. Would be great to meet you too. Looking forward to hearing from you.

As an outfitter, I read those comments carefully and I understand the love/hate passion around upland game hunting. At the Chateau de Janvry, we organize pheasant and big game hunts and have done this for generations. As a kid, I grew up learning about nature, learning about the subtilities of each species, their behaviours, their ecosystem, and how to protect them. Without carefully managing our forests, animals would simply disappear, because of our overall industrialization. Look at the population of roe deers and boars: they were dangerously declining until hunters suggested population management and regulations and even passed laws to protect and regulate the animals. Now recent counts estimate that there are as many if not more roe deers in France than during Louis XIV time.

So yes, there are abusers. People who do not respect. And that is a shame. But for those of us who love our forests, we fight strongly against those people without respect.

I invite each skeptical reader to contact us, and come with me for a hike. I'll hopefully show you our passion for what Mother Nature created. Feel free to contact us at or watch our site at


Frances, here in France Roma (Manouche) are blamed for everything and anything. It is not quite as simple as that. Your boyfriend's hunt sounds well organised and behaved, but given that hereabouts nobody would speak to a Roma ever and hunters stop at various farms for a chat and drink, make your own conclusions. As for just bad guys, they are soon seen off by the regular hunters. I imagine that it is like that in many areas.

Have just spoken to boyfriend by phone (not easy in French) about his thread. He suggests many of the problems are caused by those who are not chasseurs. They are either Roma who will shoot anything on sight and can be quite threatening or brigands or something like that in French (starts with a B) who are a law unto themselves. He's sorry all the crap and danger is giving the hunt a bad name and there are always bad eggs. Take photos of their cars and them, he suggests and give it to the gendarmes. This will have no result at all if they are Romas as in 3 hours they'll be in another area.

In the southern part of France there are laws giving chasseurs the right to hunt on private property. Seems a shame to me that good folks should have to live in fear just because of a privileged few.

Just read this on BBC News Europe

No hard feelings after dog shoots huntsman in France

BBC map

Continue reading the main story

Related Stories

A leaping dog inadvertently shot his master in the hand by catching the trigger of his shotgun during a hunt in the Dordogne, south-western France.

The shot blew off part of the huntsman's right hand, which he had to have amputated after being flown to hospital in Bordeaux.

But the victim, whose name was given as Rene, said he had only himself to blame for not applying the safety catch.

"It wasn't the dog's fault - and he's adorable!" he told France Bleu radio.

The accident occurred while the huntsman was taking part in a deer hunt on Sunday with three Blue Gascony Basset hounds near St Michel de Double, near Mussidan.

Two of the dogs ran off after a deer while the third, the youngest and new to hunting, stayed by his master, according to French news magazine Le Point.

"[Then] he jumped on me to give me a cuddle, I think," Rene said. "As he jumped, he put a paw on the gun."

The huntsman, 55 and from the region, was evacuated to hospital by air ambulance.

He said he did not hold the incident against his dog "at all".

Good chuckle...

This might make you chuckle. Good on the dog, I say.

I almost cannot remember a day not seeing one or both kinds of deer here and also experiencing damage, boar are shy but ever present and show themselves occasionally. I'm not that far from Carol but admittedly in a forest. Hunters do vary from place to place, also bear in mind the 'incidents' I have mentioned are exceptional, infrequent and possibly visiting from somewhere else. Thus Andy McNee via somebody like me through to Maria's original post show a diversity of behaviour, attitude, discipline and practice. So it is impossible to say,, hand on heart hunting and hunters bad, therefore ban.

not sure we can cull all animals that might cause an accident.....Ive swerved to avoid everything from hedgehogs, rodents, dogs, cats, deer and frequently other cars! Drivers cause more accidents than deer, we cant eradicate all animals that pose a to Bruce's comment....couldnt agree more....Venison and Wild Boar are delish!

I think deer and wild boar are superb animals…you’ve just got to get the gravy right!

I have no statistics for France but figures publised in England in 2010 put "the deer population at 2M, and cause up to 74,000 accidents a year killing up to 12 drivers and passegers". I see deer and wild boar all the time here in the south west early morning whilst I walk my dogs. A friend has had two cars damaged by deer and last year a driver was killed just below our house the whilst swerving to avoid a deer and hitting a tree.

Well in our part of the Dordogne...furthest south west.....we have seen 2 deer in 3 Berkshire we had them in the garden all the time....and havent seen one wild boar here...did see a sounder of wild boar racing through the Languedoc hillside a few years ago...are these animals so prevalent they need culling?