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French government considers new hunting rules including alcohol ban

The rules on alcohol and drug use may be the same as those for driving, while other measures may also be implemented. Yet, the government has so far ruled out a Sunday ban

A photo of a man wearing a hunting hat, taking a drink from a hip flask while outdoors

It could soon be illegal to drink or take drugs while hunting, as part of a raft of new measures being considered by the government Pic: glebchik / Shutterstock

The government in France is considering making it a crime to drink alcohol while on a hunt, as part of a wider national discussion on whether to impose tighter regulations on hunting in general. 

The junior minister for ecology, Bérangère Couillard, told Le Parisien that she is considering making it an “offence” to drink or take drugs while taking part in a hunt.

She visited Marne to observe operations of l’Office français de la biodiversité (OFB), which acts as the ‘hunting police’, before attending a hunting permit training.

Same rules as for driving

The rule is likely to be similar to that required when driving, as stated by the Highway Code. Ms Coulliard is working with the Ministry of Justice to determine the rules and the possible sanctions for breaking them. 

The OFB or the gendarmerie could be responsible for issuing fines. The same rules are likely to apply when hunting on private land.

The Fédération nationale des chasseurs (FNC) has said that it is “open to all scenarios”.

Other measures on the table

The government has said that it is particularly keen to implement rules for hunts that take place with the help of vehicles, which typically track large game such as wild boar or deer, as accidents happen most often during these types of events. 

This may mean that more measures are implemented, such as the rule that states hunters may only aim within a 30 degree angle in front of them (which is already in place in some areas).

Other measures could include requiring better signage, and more informative apps. A new, more advanced first aid training course could also be introduced when learning to hunt.

No Sunday ban

Yet, despite campaigns from environmentalists including former presidential candidate Yannick Jadot, the government has decided not to ban hunting on Sunday afternoons. 

Le Parisien suggested that the power of FNC head Willy Schraen, who has a good relationship with President Emmanuel Macron, appeared to have tipped the balance in favour of the hunters on that point.

Read more: Hunter, 17, questioned after woman shot dead on walking path in France 

Mr Jadot was among many campaigners to call for a ban on hunting at weekends and during the holidays. Hikers have also called for more regulations after a number of walkers reported having been shot at, and one woman died after being shot while out on a hiking trail with her partner.  

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