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Hunting in France highly regulated

Your story saying there is a “lack of a single nationwide set of rules” needs further qualification

YOUR story “Call for stricter hunting rules,” in September’s issue, was misleading. The statement that there is a “lack of a single nationwide set of rules” needs further qualification.
Hunting is governed by EU laws on species conservation and national law. Opening seasons are set by the local prefecture and start as a result of climate and ecology hence the variations which have a general south to north variation.

Departments issue individual licences at the beginning of the season for specific numbers of large animals that may be killed and they record full details of date place and sex of every animal and of who killed it.

Small animals are strictly controlled and carnets [hunting notebooks] are issued for woodcock and hares. Hunting for hares can be limited to just two days and one animal per season depending on department. Failure to return a carnet will result in no further permits being issued.

The penalty for being in possession of game without a licence for that particular animal can result in a severe fine, confiscation of the game, firearm and even confiscation of the car the game is being transported in. In addition there will be a loss of the general hunting permit and exams will have to be retaken at the end of a suspension period.

Sale of game is very restricted and movements tracked back to the specific animal permit. Hunting is extensively policed by the gardes de chasse.

In “Get off my land!” you fail to state that for the majority of landowners with land further than 150m from their house and outbuildings, they can say just that - each hunting licence says in it that “it is forbidden to hunt on someone else’s property without the consent of the proprietor.”

As for fluorescent caps or gilets, these must be worn when hunting boar or deer but a hunter of say wood pigeon or rabbit is not required to wear one.

Hunting is a very emotive and polarising subject and all I ask is that facts are presented fairly and accurately.
Name and address withheld on request.

The statements about a need for more standardised rules was attributed to wildlife preservation group Aspas, which campaigns on hunting issues. The article was an overview and not intended to give details such as exceptions to the gilet rule.
Regarding hunting rights on property, we consider that the article gave the correct facts as to why in many cases hunters do have the right to hunt across private land. Perhaps more detail is useful to explain why: hunting rights depend on whether you live in a commune with an Association Communale de Chasse Agréée (ACCA).
In these areas (most common in the south) most land apart from 150m around homes is part of the hunting zone (reestablished every five years) open to local hunters who are members of the ACCA, unless it has been officially excluded.
If you want land excluded you need to apply to the prefect, as we said. In other parts of France, as you say, each proprietor owns the hunting rights on their land, which was the basic law before ACCAs were created. However unless they explicitly ban hunting, they are deemed to have given tacit permission, according to the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (apart from a zone around homes, usually 150m, established by the prefect). Landowners are advised to write to local hunting societies and to put up signs.

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