When travelers talk about visiting France, the EifelTower or sunny Riviera often come to mind. But what many tourists may not realize is that France also proves a world class sporting destination for many different types of hunting. With gorgeous countryside and lush forests, destinations like Versailles, the Mont Saint Michel or Loire Chateaux are just some of the incredible destinations outside the city.
For a unique trip and cultural experience, here are some fun ways to go on the hunt in France.
What to Hunt and When?
A surprising stock of game ranges throughout France. Wild boar, Muflon sheep and deer are some of the more popular stalking game. Deer species include:
Migratory birds such as wood pigeon, woodcock, ducks and snipe also fly through the area. About 64 species of bird and 24 of mammal may be hunted with a license.
The seasons consist of three main periods: summer, autumn and winter. The summer season opens in June ending in September. Autumn begins in October and ends quickly in November, and winter lasts from November until February. Various birds and larger game are considered “in season” during these different periods.
Hunting with Hounds
A rare but popular winter sport is saddling up to ride with the hounds. In most other European nations, hunting with dogs is a banned tradition. But France proves an enigma where field hunting with a pack of hounds remains unchallenged by animal-rights activists or politicians. In fact the hunt clubs are thriving with more than 400 organized hunts each year and 10,000 members from across the country.
The pageantry and thrill of riding across country are fun for tourists and residents alike to experience. For the most part, these rides take place across fields and forests as hounds track down wild boar and deer. The pace of a French hunt is somewhat laid back and possible for riders of different levels to participate on horseback.
Obtaining a Permit
But before you book a hunting trip, it is important to apply for a hunting permit. The National Hunting and Wildlife Agency (ONCFS) of France provides theory and practical exams to hunters seeking a license. Classes are offered to help pass the license tests.
For vacationers who are not planning to stick around long enough to take a license course, foreign non-residents who hold hunting licenses from their home countries can apply to have their foreign permits validated in France. Hunters are also required to carry proof of insurance. Finally, out of town hunters will want to research the process of carrying and registering weapons of different calibers as they travel.
With so many different species and beautiful countryside, a hunting trip in France might be the perfect outdoor getaway.
Image from www.gourmetfly.com