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French hunters and cyclists agree to share land after 15-year debate

The two groups have created a rota for use of a 1,000 hectare area in the south

The two groups enjoy a good working relationship, thanks to social media easing the lines of communication Pic: Marechal Lenaic / Pierre Jean Durieu / Shutterstock

Hunter and cyclists have reached a land-sharing deal after 15 years of debate, with the aim of enabling both organisations to carry out their weekend hobbies safely. 

From this year, hunters based in the commune of Seillons Source d’Argens, in the Var in the south of France, have agreed to use only one of two zones every weekend, leaving the other free for bikers, runners and walkers.

The two sectors cover an area of around 1,000 hectares and are separated by a road. 

Read more: New app aims to keep walkers safe in French hunting season

Hunt day moved to Thursday

Hunt leader Sébastien Sorja posts details of the hunting areas on a shared WhatsApp group every week. 

It allows the local cycling club’s 180 members, including around 100 children, to enjoy their sport, minimising the risks of disrupting the hunt or shooting accidents. 

The usual Wednesday hunt has also been switched to Thursdays, giving non-hunters more time to enjoy outdoor activities when many children might not be at school. 

The agreement has taken 15 years to come to fruition, based on a series of meetings and discussions between members of Les Vieux cochons seillonnais bike club, which was founded by hunters and many of whose members continue to take part.

Read more: Driver tells how hunter’s bullet entered car as he drove in Dordogne

Social media helps communication

Mountain biker Éric Michel said the two groups enjoyed a good working relationship, thanks to social media easing the lines of communication between the two groups. 

The hunters even issued a Facebook invitation for locals to share a meal after a hunt, and more get-togethers are planned for the future.  

Christian Burgio, president of the bike club, said the cyclists were planning to introduce the hunters to their sport the next time around. 

Mr Sorja said the meetings were “the icing on the cake of this very good understanding”. 

He said the hunters tried to communicate and share as much as possible, so they could demonstrate they had a different vision and approach. 

“Everything’s going really well,” he said. 

“A dialogue has been established between us.”  

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