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Thread: Moving to France what vermin shooting opportunities

  1. #1

    Moving to France what vermin shooting opportunities

    Hi Gents I am hoping to move to the Pau area of France early next year and wondered if anyone knows what the french farmers attitudes are to people vermin shooting on their land. I currently live in North somerset and mostly have a walk about with a .223 and shoot crows, magpies, rabbits, and grey squirrels .

    Is this kind of shooting done in France. I also have a .243 and have shot a few deer but don't get too many opportunities for this although I am sure there is plentiful boar and deer shooting available. I suppose I would need to change the .243 for a bigger calibre for the Boar. Any recommendations.

    Thanks for looking and any helpful advice appreciated.

  2. #2
    Hello Steve.

    There's no significant differentiation in France between shooting vermin and game. Either way you're going to need a "Permis de chasser". There are close seasons in many département for species which are covered by the open licence here such as foxes. Rabbits aren't considered vermin, they're more the Holy Grail of hunting! Also, farmers most probably don't own the hunting rights to their land exclusively as this is usually the prerogative of the local hunting association, especially in the South where you're going. The farmers may well be members, but it's not up to them to say who can or can't shoot on the land. You see, the exclusive right to hunt for landowners was abolished in article 3 of the Decree of Abolition of Privileges on 4th August 1789....

  3. #3
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    Vive "l'egalite" and all that.

    So the French historically have had liberty of enjoyment on equal terms and in a fraternal manner. Open to all. Like the Ritz Hotel.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares View Post
    Vive "l'egalite" and all that.

    So the French historically have had liberty of enjoyment on equal terms and in a fraternal manner. Open to all. Like the Ritz Hotel.
    Yes, everyone is equal in the face of massive amounts of bureaucracy and has equal opportunity to access hunting of wildly varying quality depending on which bunch of fraternal equals have stitched it up!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Yes, everyone is equal in the face of massive amounts of bureaucracy and has equal opportunity to access hunting of wildly varying quality depending on which bunch of fraternal equals have stitched it up!

  6. #6
    Do much driving in France and you'll realise that in most places there is very little wildlife left - it's pretty well all been shot. We have a place in Brittany, and the only reason that there's anything around there at all is that the local hunters are afraid of my mate, who lives a couple of hundred yards down the lane. If they fire a shot too close to the house it spooks his horses, and he goes after them. Having him come after you is not to be recommended!

    Oh, and beware - if there's a shooting session going on, a large number of those carrying guns will be drunk.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy_SP View Post
    Do much driving in France and you'll realise that in most places there is very little wildlife left - it's pretty well all been shot.
    Certainly in places that are mostly dedicated to intensive agriculture, the situation regarding small game is pretty bad, but that's no different from anywhere else with similar agricultural practices. British roads are carpeted with squashed pheasants at this time of year but that's not in any way natural, since almost all of these pheasants are released. If you're in Brittany, you may know that the Finistere area is, much like the UK's West country, one of the great woodcock hotspots. It's also a part of France where there are in place still very healthy rabbit populations. But a lot of hunters, especially older ones, who grew up in a world before intensive agriculture, were accustomed to paying their smallish subscription fee, walking out of the door and finding relatively good densities of small game, especially rabbits and hares. That mindset of hunting as an affordable passtime and source of cheap food has remained in some quarters, and hunters all over the place can be a little set in their ways. They've mostly shifted to driven large game which is plentiful, but they've not necessarily changed their "value for money" focus, hence regular arguments on the sharing of venison, and in some places opposition to stalking which is seen as individuals stealing everyone else's meat. However, in my experience, that's not the attitude of most newcomers. They don't expect anything to be given to them on a plate, they're committed to improving the environment for small and large game, they gladly follow quotas to avoid overshooting, and the flipside is that there are fewer of them. There's plenty of good hunting in France, but you have to work for it. The big obstacle is intensive farming which forms a much greater part of the rural economy than it does in the UK, and as such is a powerful vested interest to deal with. Same problems with shared land usage as here really, in different proportions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy_SP View Post
    Oh, and beware - if there's a shooting session going on, a large number of those carrying guns will be drunk.
    That's a bit of a sweeping generalisation. It happens, but it's not normal, and also on the way out. As above, the newcomers have possibly come a long way and paid a fair amount of money to hunt. They tend not to stay in hunting associations which focus on "lunch", in the broadest possible sense of the term. And people get arrested for hunting in a state of drunkenness. But it still happens, admittedly.

  8. #8
    I had a week in France in 2010 and only saw about 6 pigeons during that time, and they were all in towns. I think I saw 2 crows, but never saw a single rabbit. The friend, who I stayed with, says he has to put up signs prohibiting Le Chasse, to keep them out of his woodland if he doesn't want them there. If a boar turns up in the village, they all have time off work until it's been shot. A good example of giving Joe Public unlimited hunting rights, perhaps. Semi-Autos seen to be accepted, but Pump-Actions are not. Solid slugs seem to be readily available.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Certainly in places that are mostly dedicated to intensive agriculture, the situation regarding small game is pretty bad, but that's no different from anywhere else with similar agricultural practices.
    Our part of Brittany is about as far removed from intensive agriculture as you can get - and yet there is still very little wildlife about. Unless you count insects - there are lots of those!

    Originally Posted by Paddy_SP Oh, and beware - if there's a shooting session going on, a large number of those carrying guns will be drunk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    That's a bit of a sweeping generalisation. It happens, but it's not normal, and also on the way out.
    I agree that drunkenness is less common in France than it used to be (both on the roads and in hunting), however, you seem to be focused on newcomers, whereas I was talking about the locals. Coincidentally, a mate came round this morning - without any prompting from me, he started talking about how he stopped hunting in France because he was so worried about the number of drunk people carrying live ammo...

  10. #10
    The situation sounds awful but not totally unfamiliar on your patch. I bet you though that your local hunting association is struggling to attract any new blood whatsoever. And one day they'll all complain that young people today are all busy playing video games. Well some are. And some have gone off to find areas where the hunting is run properly so that there's actually some game around for hunters to harvest in moderation.

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