Posted by: kathandroger | December 7, 2014

The first frost and the happy hunters.

At last! We have been waiting for a good frost for weeks now; I wanted something to stop the caterpillars eating my cabbages, and they are now all in deep freeze. The sun greeted us for the first time for days this  morning, and the virgin crispness of this first freeze was a joy.IMG_2853

The hunters were out in force this morning as well. The local wild pigs were the target, and our friend Jean-marie parked on our land opposite to bring up a rearward attack whilst his mates came down from the wood above. Not a shot was heard, much to the relief of our dog, so I assume all the local porkers live to be hunted another day.

Hunting in France is almost a religion. So much so that the hunting fraternity suggested to Government that they should be excluded from all drink drive charges because it is part of the French way of life, and a good drink before venturing out into the wilds and an even bigger one at lunchtime is essential!  The hunting here is very well controlled though. Most is done by groups of roving hunters with their dogs, and anything that moves is in danger, so the hunters themselves all wear red fluorescent jackets. Apart from the pigs, deer, rabbits, hare, and the usual birds are attacked, but we also have the local wildlife police, who check the numbers of wild life still living, and if any species is being over hunted, it benefits from a temporary armistice. The numbers of quarry at the end of the day is usually quite small, and it is all for the table, unlike in the UK, where in Dorset pits were sometimes dug to bury all the hundreds of dead pheasants shot by the wealthy punters who arrived each expecting to shoot many dozen each. I can remember days when the beaters would put up so many birds for us to shoot that taking aim was not really necessary; any shot in the air would likely hit a poor pheasant. In fact I gave up shooting after one day when it really amounted to needless slaughter rather than fun with friends and hunting something to eat. I have yet to see any driven shoots here,and it looks much more fun.

Chasing deer on horses is popular too. Again it seems well organised, but it is rare for the riders to jump anything because hedges are rare in France, and most pursuits are in the woods. I have to admit that I loved The Hunt in the UK, but it was legalised hooliganism, pounding across all those fields and bashing though hedges, and the antis were a bit of a pain. It’s all banned now, of course, but in reality still goes on as before but without the antis!


Responses

  1. Unfortunately the line em up like fairground ducks type of hunt for wealthy punters is on the increase here. It’s quite a secretive business though, on big estates behind game proof fences and lots of trees so you can’t see in. There’s one for sale in the Foret de Preuilly if you’re interested.

    • Yes Susan, we have one just up the road like that-they even let loose several sanglier at a time in the fenced enclosure with no possible route of escape-that can’t be real hunting. Personally I just don’t want to kill animals anymore.

  2. Sounds. Fantastic we have very heavy frosts here hope Dr prior is well!

    • Rosie, lovely to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and the family and please give them all my regards. Joyeux Noel!


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