Hunted stag takes refuge in town-centre train station

Hunters chased the stag from a forest into the town of Chantilly, where the animal ended up on train tracks

14 January 2021
By Joanna York

A stag being chased by hunters took refuge in Chantilly train station yesterday afternoon, causing transport delays and anger from commuters and local authorities.

After being pursued through streets and car parks, the stag ran into the station before ending up on the train tracks.

Mayor of Chantilly, Isabelle Wojtowiez – who was present at the scene - said: “What happened this afternoon is unspeakable. The forest is a shared space where hunting is allowed, but in no circumstances should an animal be chased into the town centre.

“The stag was baying after being pursued into a hostile environment. It put pedestrians in danger and could have caused road accidents and disturbed train circulation.”

Stag escaped without injury

The stag was being pursued by a pack of dogs when it entered the station at around 16:00 yesterday afternoon. 

A witness at the scene told news source France 3: “He was exhausted… He went to sleep on the train tracks. And the hunters followed him with their dogs all the way up to the station.”

The witness said police forces intervened to move the hunters and their dogs away from the station as well as to contain by-standers and make sure no one would be hurt if the animal tried to run away.

A vet was called by police to sedate the stag, but the impact of the sedative dart caused it to get up and flee into a neighbouring forest. The animal was later found in the forest – asleep, but in good health, with no apparent injuries.

SNCF to press charges  

The railway intrusion caused significant delays for around 50 trains on the Paris-Creil line, and anger among passengers.

Nora Muller-Conte, from passenger collective SNCFVamtuer said: “We are being asked to make an effort to respect social distancing but, because of this incident, there were people everywhere in Gare du Nord in Paris, waiting for trains. 

“And on the other side, we see hunters who aren’t wearing masks.”

SNCF has the right to press charges over intrusions on to train tracks and has confirmed that it plans to do so.

Local anti-hunting group calls for ban 

Local inhabitants have also called for action, demanding that hunting in close proximity to the town be banned for safety reasons. Anti-hunting association AVA Chantilly said the hoped they mayor would introduce a “strict municipal law” against hunting, if not a “moratorium on dog hunting throughout the department”.

The hunters involved in yesterday’s incident have released a statement apologising to passengers who experienced train delays.

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