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French hunters to ‘get gift ahead of election’, say wildlife charities

A new rule will make it harder for animal rights groups to lodge legal objections to hunting periods

New decree was named as a ‘gift for hunters’ ahead of presidential election Pic: Photoagriculture / Shutterstock

A new decree has been attacked as a “gift for hunters” by animal protection charities.

The change concerns annual orders issued in each department by the prefecture, opening the general shooting season.

It shortens the waiting time between publication of an order for a hunting season and its opening date from 20 days to seven.

The new decree in effect means “13 days’ less waiting before the opening, compared to previous years”, says hunting website chassepassion.net.

Wildlife charities Fondation 30 millions d’amis and LPO say it will make it harder for them to lodge legal objections to hunting periods.

They say that even with an accelerated procedure, it takes up to 20 days for an appeal to a court to conclude.

Read more: New registration system for France’s five million gun owners

They have denounced the move as a blatant attempt to win hunters’ presidential election votes.

LPO head Yves Verilhac told The Connexion the government has increasingly made use of hunting orders at national level applicable from the following day for the opening of some species’ seasons. 

“The worst thing is that the Ecology Ministry, and the prefects representing the state in the departments, bring back the same texts year after year, which have previously been ruled inadmissible by courts.

“We have gone to the Conseil d’Etat appeal court three times, for example, to stop ministerial orders authorising hunting geese in February during the migration period.”

The hunting season usually runs from September to February. There are also additional rules for certain species. 

France currently numbers around four million hunters.

New registration of firearms in France

People who own guns will now have to register on a new online database known as système d’information sur les armes (SIA).

Hunters will be able to do so from February 8, followed by clay pigeon shooters and biathletes in March, others who shoot for sport in May, and collectors from June. 

All holders of arms should create a space on the site by June 30, 2023.

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