Six hunters in eastern France have been arrested and fined after being caught tracking down wild boar illegally; they were using 4x4 vehicles and hunting dogs equipped with GPS trackers.
The hunters in Doubs, in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, were caught on Sunday November 22 after gendarmerie used a helicopter equipped with a night vision infrared camera to check the forest.
The operation involved around 15 gendarmerie and a helicopter from Colmar. In total police officers found around 30 hunters in the area after acting on a tip-off.
The six arrested were “caught in the act” of pursuing the boar, reported local news service FranceBleu. Using 4x4 vehicles in hunting usually involves placing GPS trackers on hunting dogs, who then chase after the boar. The hunters then follow the dogs and boar in a 4x4, until the boar becomes exhausted.
The hunters then simply get out of the vehicle to pick up the stricken animal.
The practice is illegal and is condemned by hunting associations.
Three hunters will have to answer the charge of hunting using a prohibited vehicle; two were fined for hunting on someone else’s land without permission, and one other was fined for transporting a loaded hunting weapon in a vehicle.
The vehicles was seized by the gendarmerie.
Jean-Maurice Boillon, president of hunting group Chasseurs de Doubs, wrote in the Est républicain: “In the past four to five years, these poaching methods have become more popular. These people are cowboys who have no respect for hunting, game, walkers, or bikers.
“Our services have given several tip-offs to gendarmerie before intervening.”
Mr Boillon added: “We hope that these people will be punished as soon as possible. We do not have the right to make animals suffer in this way.”
The association has suggested that the sanctions for such perpetrators should include the lifetime suspension of their hunting permits and the confiscation of all associated material used in the act.
The gendarmerie is to continue tracking hunters by helicopter in the department in a bid to stamp out these illegal hunting acts.
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