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Thread: A Day With the Chasse

  1. #1

    A Day With the Chasse

    A day with the Chasse

    Today I took up an invitation from the president of my local chasse in the Correze France to spend the day as an observer.

    As I drove to the venue across country on farm tracks the sun was just beginning to rise and mist was lying in the valleys. I reached the destination on time at 7.30am and after a lot of hand shaking we went off to inspect the maize crops to check for signs of Boar - we found plenty.

    We arrived back at HQ at 9.30am and members were beginning to assemble.
    Dogs were being fitted with bells and GPS units, members were donning high-viz jackets and hats and I thought we were about ready for the off when a door opened to reveal a table set up ready for breakfast which consisted of bread spread with raw garlic and salted pigs lard, cured sausage, pate, gherkins, red wine, then coffee.

    All licences and insurance details were noted in the presidents log and after the obligatory safety talk all guns and dog handlers loaded up and drove off to take up their positions.

    The dogs and owners vanished into the maize and we drove to a safe position on a hill overlooking the area. Dogs started barking and horns were being blown but after a couple of hours the hunt was called off as the boar had given the hunters the slip.

    Back at the lodge a table had been set in the open with all sorts of aperitifs
    and nibbles. Members with arms pointing in all directions were saying how the boar had slid sideways out of the maize and into the forest. After a glass of whisky I went up to the President to thank him for the day but he explained that lunch would be served in about ten minutes,

    Walking into the lodge I found two rows of tables neatly set, the members then sat down to a five course meal. Red wine was poured into jugs from coke bottles and it was delicious, the wine hit the spot the banter started and a good time was had by all, fortunately for me, the short journey home was off road, so not a problem.

    Considering my very poor French, I found the members very welcoming, I had a great day, and I have been invited back in a fortnight.

    A bientot,

  2. #2
    Tres bien
    Merci beacoup


  3. #3
    Yes, that sounds about right... It's good fun once or twice but if you actually want to do any hunting, it can be annoying. It's not just a thing that happens with hunting though, it's a rural French thing. None of my in-laws have any hobbies because there's no time to do them at weekends between meals and apéritifs. Except for my brother-in-law but he's not a blood relation, and his family are more about failing to do anything at all in life apart from hunting. The thing that like any club, in yours probably less than 10% of the members account for 90% of the bag. The others mostly enjoy the social side, and I assume that the venison is shared out equally so that's a bonus too. They probably do that every other weekend so they know they'll shoot a boar eventually. Personally it would wind me up if I went over for 7.30am, we found a load of boar, and then let them run away because it we were having a boozy breakfast at 9.30am. I don't have anything against the practice, it's just that I'd like to have done the hunting first!

    But it is admittedly good fun, it's both a glorious and infuriating thing about my fellow countrymen!

  4. #4
    Hi Pine martin, i must admit that whilst we were waiting for dog handlers and guns to assemble at the start of the drive everybody stopped when several cars drove passed then a lot of kissing and handshaking went on, there is no urgency about the day but they must be doing something right as they account for around 30 boar per season, but as you say its good fun and interesting to see how things are done in france and i would not say the breakfast was boozy the drinking started when the hunt was over, cheers Geoff
    Last edited by geoffrey; 06-09-2014 at 19:27.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by geoffrey View Post
    breakfast which consisted of bread spread with raw garlic and salted pigs lard, [...]
    Hang on a second Geoff. Are you referring to rillettes de porc? Because if you are, it's not just lard, it's ham hocks cooked long and slowly in lard, then torn apart with a fork to make the single greatest product of charcuterie in France. And the one this that I just can't buy here for love or money. I hope you stuffed your face!

  6. #6
    Hi Pine martin, no i think its just fat from the flank of the pig about two inches thick and salted, they slice it off and use it the same way as butter, we have rillettes de canard and that is very nice, i have not tried porc, i will look out for it, i shoot at a range on sunday mornings and i make sure i arrive early because once the members turn up its all handshakes and talking and very little else, I was asked by a member of the chasse if we had many boar in the uk, i explained that we have lots of them in our area but they are mostly on a farm at peasmarsh where they know they are safe, i told them that the farm is owned by a famous musician called Paul MacCartney who was a member of the Beatles, nobody had heard of him or the band,

  7. #7
    Cooked slowly in lard?
    Is that a "confit" then?

    Jew meaning to try that with chick pieces for 1st attempt


  8. #8
    Geoffrey that brings back happy memories of a decade of September holidays at our friend's rural retreat in Lot et Garonne.

    On the first day of the season no sane person would venture into the woods and fields, for fear of the trigger happy well oiled hunters.

    On the second and subsequent days we regularly gathered up the lost bewildered dogs and returned them to the Chasse headquarters, to be re-united with their owners.

    The local supermarche was filled with cases of cheap shotgun cartridges, .22 ammunition and rifles. No paperwork required.

    I bought a .22 rifle and kept it in the loft the farmhouse for many years, until it disappeared.

    The festival later in the month was (and still is) delightful. Fireworks and a Spanish theme.

    Street parties, long tables laden with great grub, dancing, a raffle to win your own weight in wine, and some cheating by the winner who somehow managed to tip the scales to a ludicrous amount.

    The regular market was also unmissable.

    The gunshop owner was very enthusiastic about his double rifles, even when I only ever bought .22 and airgun ammunition and targets from him.

    It doesn't sound as if much has changed.

  9. #9
    That does sound like an interesting day, where the social aspect outweighs the hunting.

    Not always a bad thing, but i'm firmly in the " get the hunting/shooting done, before the eating/drinking starts", camp.

    It is always ( maybe not "always" ) good to see, or take part in the customs of other countries.

    Given the opportunity, I would always be keen to do so.


  10. #10
    Geoffrey it sounds very much like a couple of shoots I went to in Normandy a few years ago. It started with a fine shoot breakfast followed by the examination of permits and insurance. That was followed by an excellent safety briefing with very good maps of the shooting area and the appointment of area "commanders".
    At the end of the day there was a magnificent five course meal when the wine and beer came out. All in all a real social occasion amongst friends rather than simply a shoot.
    My French is extremely limited and I was trying and failing to follow the conversation between three of the guys that were sat at one end of the table. The lady tracker who was sat next to me could see that I was confused and leant over and explained that they were arguing about the price a local lady of the night charged her customers.
    It's the calibre of the shooter that counts not the calibre of the rifle.

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