The town of Cavalaire-sur-Mer, in the Var in southern France, is now testing it. It is known as huile de cade, and the only distillery in Europe producing the oil is Distillerie des Cévennes in Claret, Hérault.
Reasons behind repelling the animals
As an essential oil, it has been used since antiquity as a wound healer, antiseptic, fungicide and anti-inflammatory in treatments for people and plants, and as an anti-mite treatment for horses and chickens by vets and farmers. Hunters say a few drops of huile de cade vraie on rags placed round the edge of crops, or on pine cones, is guaranteed to keep boar out of a field. “Boars get into gardens and plough them up, damage road verges and even get into swimming pools,” said Céline Canepa, of the environmental services section at Cavalaire.
“Our syndicat de chasse suggested we use the oil in problem areas, and after a month it works 80% of the time.” She warned that anyone using the oil – made by heating juniper wood and distilling the smoke and steam – should use gloves. “You only need a drop on your finger and it will smell for days,” she said.