Living in Burgundy, with hunters around


(Tess Sissy) #1

Hello, it has been a long while since I came here, probably about 2-3 years.

I m now living in Portugal, with a view to move (back) to France (after 17 years in the UK).

However my biggest problem with living in France has always been the animal topic.

To be specific here, after meeting and reading people’s comments about their lives being made miserable by hunters’ shooting on their properties, sometimes at their roof and shutters, or hunters making walking one’s dogs daily out in nature impossible, I worry.

I have an energetic dog who lives for adventure out in Big Nature. Back in Scotland, and here in Portugal I can go anywhere I want with her, I have never heard shooting and never had to rethink where to walk and even less if it was safe for her to run about.

However, as I am contemplating living in south Burgundy, I am wondering about what my daily hikes in nature will be. I would hate to have to forget about getting out in the beautiful nature, such as the natural parks. I can let go of woods, sad, but I can give them up, but giving up walking in natural parks and on GR (hiking) trails, that will be hard and make a move to France meaningless. might as well stay in Portugal, even living in a city here you can access wild beaches and big nature…

So are there people with outdoorsy dogs who live in (south) Burgundy who can tell me what they can and cannot do please?

Many thanks.


(Jane Williamson) #2

South Burgundy does not have National Parks where you can let your dogs run loose.
It is farming country, mainly beef cattle or vines.
There are many rural roads which are not made up and lots of hiking routes.
We can walk out from our house onto them.
As for hunters, it depends on which commune you live in as to which days they hunt.
They are allowed two days a week.
We have one and a half hectares of land round our house and sometimes we can see them and hear them shooting and hear the bells on their dogs.
Our dog gets very excited if they come close.
No one has ever shot on our land.
If your dog is well trained and you are sure that you can control it, you can walk on the hiking routes without a lead.
However, we use an extending lead as our dog will chase any deer or birds she might put up.
There are also wild boar.
There are ticks here, so you need to examine your dog after coming back home.
Veterinary medicine is good here, but expensive.
There is insurance, but it too is very expensive.
Well behaved dogs are welcome.
I hope this useful.


(Jane Jones) #3

There is hunting in Portugal, so that is a risk there as well.

France is a country where hunting is popular. I live in a natural park and there is hunting here as they are not wilderness areas, but managed landscapes. Hunting is generally well regulated, and easy to avoid. We walk our dog in woods and forests during hunting season, without a problem. Our biggest worry is the dog chasing game, not the hunters chasing him.

There will always be accidents, but these are rare. We have bought our dog a fluorescent jacket as he is the same colour and similar size as a fox.


(Tess Sissy) #4

Yes thank you. But do you mean that your dogs never run free off the leash when out?


(Tess Sissy) #5

Hunting in Portugal is a child s game compared to hunting in France. You don’t see or hear them and nobody has to put their dogs on a leash or a fluorescent jacket on. We walk wherever we want. Hunting is only allowed two days a week.

I have noticed that hunting in France has priority over non hunting life, such as hiking. And fatal accidents easily outnumber terrorism deaths, so they are not rare but people like to think so.

If I can find a natural spot without cars and hunters where I can keep on walking worry free with my dog off the leash then I will be happy. There are wild animals here and lots deers in Scotland and she went chasing them with no success and nobody complained so far…


(David Martin) #6

Any dog that chases game and farm animals is likely to be considered a legitimate target everywhere.


(Jane Jones) #7

It’s obviously a big concern to you, so perhaps France is not the place for you to be?

But really it’s not an issue for us. Our dog’s fluorescent jacket is used maybe once a year if we decide to walk in an area where we know the local hunters are nearby (they tell us where they are going to hunt amd unless there is a particular problem with too many boar they only hunt 2 days a week). We hardly ever see any people. But although we are in the Burgundy department, we are much further east.

And accidents to people and dogs not involved in hunting are rare… were you taking your information from a facebook post? That post doesn’t seem to be hugely reliable - link below. And ONCF satistics for last year are:

“chaque année les accidents de chasse sont à l’origine d’une dizaine de décès au moins. Sur la saison 2017-2018, 115 victimes impliquées dans 113 accidents ont été identifées par l’ONCFS dont 17 personnes non chasseurs. Parmi ces accidents, 13 ont été mortels dont 3 concernant des personnes non chasseurs”


(Tess Sissy) #8

Ah if you quote the hunting association, you won’t get true numbers of fatalities!

France is my country and I feel as much or more inclined to settle there than most expats, like you.

Hunting is obviously a big problem for French people. The media finally talk about the loss of peace and safety, children get shot, and there are a few petitions to have a hunting free weekend for example with growing popularity. Do you often read French language newspapers?

I guess on forums like this one where your whole name appears you are not likely to read as many complaints as posts like ‘it has never bothered me much’. However the English woman who committed suicide after being bullied, harassed every day and losing her cats would have probably liked to read a variety of opinions. Plenty other ‘expats’ have had to sell their house in the centre /West of France after feeling harassed by them. Not ‘just’ older single women but couples and families. I personally know people in different regions of France who hide indoors with their pets and children because the shooting go through the garden. And it is any day or month of the year, sometimes at night too.

But I guess we could tell them France is not for them if hunting is an issue for them, thus implying they are the ones with a problem, no?


(Jane Williamson) #9

We only have one dog, a border collie cross.
She can run free in our orchard, but, as she was a rescue dog, she wasn’t properly trained and given the sight or sniff of a deer she would be away like a shot.
She has an extending leash, so she can run ahead and sniff around.
Your dog could have been shot for chasing deer in Scotland.
I think you should stay in Portugal and referring to us “as expats like you” is not likely to endear you to anyone on this forum or in Burgundy.


(Jane Jones) #10

I think you are reading more into what I wrote than was intended. It certainly wasn’t a personal commentary at all.

Perhaps we are lucky in our area that the hunting groups are relatively responsible. So they don’t cause us problems. And yes locally the debate gets heated, and there are probably many people against hunting as for it. I am not talking about the ethics or politics of of hunting, but the reality that we have personally experienced in 10 years of living in a hunting area (previously were in the centre of Paris, so a different experience)

And yes I do read french language newspapers, listen to french radio, watch french tv and have french friends who are hunters and those who are vehemently opposed to hunting.


(Catharine Higginson) #11

Come to Les Landes!
Masses of off lead walking … forests and beaches!
We personally have never ever had any issues with hunters. The local ones are all friendly enough and I often stop for a chat when out walking my dogs / riding.
I think we are lucky though and it does seem to vary massively from area to area and of course is highly dependent on who is the head of la chasse in a given area.
Good luck!


(David Martin) #12

I live in the French countryside, see and hear the chasse going about their business and can honestly say that they have never been a problem or stopped me walking or cycling through the paths and tracks nearby. At this very moment there are three dogs sunbathing in front of my house. They are not mine but belong to a neighbour. They spend their lives free to roam and are adored by all of the residents as have all the dogs kept by the farm for the past 22 years to my experience. In all of that time not one of the dogs has been affected by the chasse other than to bark when a lost hunting dog has wandered by. Yes, the chasse exists but whatever you believe it does not turn the French countryside into an open battlefield where no rules of engagement apply. I myself have never been involved in any form of hunting but I am perfectly happy to allow others to do their part to maintain the countryside.


(Tess Sissy) #13

Where about are you or would you recommend in Les Landes, Catherine?


(Tess Sissy) #14

Thanks David for your post.

Having a dog who must run daily in the countryside, I believe, changes one s experience of living in France. If I had no dog or a dog happy to trot on a leash for 30 minutes anywhere, I would not feel at all affected by hunting, besides the occasional camping and hiking weekends and my opinion that nature does quite well on its own without the help of hunters. Humans will finish destroying this planet before we are exterminated by deers and boars.


(David Martin) #15

I suggest you do a bit of research into the way that what we consider the countryside is maintained.


(Catharine Higginson) #16

We are in 40180 close to Dax. Not the most beautiful part of the world but it suits me . Further north is a lot cheaper and more foresty - but with the hunting issue, like I said earlier it varies so widely it is nigh on impossible to make a decision except on a commune by commune basis. Not very helpful I know, sorry!


(stella wood) #17

Hello Tess

You have given a number of reasons why the French life might conflict with how you and your dog like to live…

So, I am wondering what has put France into your mind as a place you might actually move to ???


(Ann Coe) #18

Please be aware that some National Parks do not accept dogs at all, even on a lead !


(Jane Jones) #19

We walk our energetic dog daily, for miles, off the lead, in our area with no problem. The bigger problem to us than hunters are tourists who leave food rubbish, and disgusting used toilet paper. It’s those areas we avoid with the dog, not where there’s been hunting.


(Tess Sissy) #20

Dear Stella

I am French with family and friends and fellow artists not far from that area.

Dear Jane W.

Indeed my dog could have shot or been in a terrorist explosion or in the middle of a stampee on prince’s Street but she wasn’t. Scotland is very dog friendly.

As for your assessment of my right to come back to my country, well you know what I think.

Why are you offended by being referred to as an expat? Is that not a positive term? Should I say ‘migrant’ or ‘immigrant’? I think the tension with nationality or identity is in your camp, not mine.