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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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Hunting In France

Every country has it’s outmoded Historical traditions. Protected by equally outmoded laws. And France is no exception.

Foremost among these “Historical Dinosaurs” is “Le Chasse.” (The Hunt.)  This is the Emperor-given right of every Frenchman to slay all manner of four-legged non-human creatures whenever the mood strikes.

Taken in the context of it’s time – a reasonable case can be made for “Le Chasse.” More forests. More creatures running wild.(And isn’t that the best way?) Often chowing down on,  or otherwise shredding farmer’s crops.

But today, even tho’ France is still sufficiently forested, the penetration of “civilization” runs headlong into the elemental right granted by “Le Chasse.” That being – the right to cross any and all private land in pursuit of your four-legged trophy. You can understand why this gets some French panties in a knot. Particularly those who have private land. (And that would be…uh….most froggies with a house and a backyard?)

Especially, one would surmise, those whose house and backyard borders woodland? Imagine yowling dogs and crimson clad shotgun toting “Chasseurs” crashing your Sunday afternoon bar-b-que. Not exactly the picture postcard view of Chabrol’s “Dimanche Dans Le Campagne.” (Sunday In The Country)

So -what can be done about it? (Other than shooting the hunter and saying you mistook him for a (rare, two-legged, crimson) deer? Like a good trial attorney, let me answer by posing a question to which you already know the answer : “To your knowledge, as anyone, anywhere, ever successfully sued a government?” You’re getting my drift, dear reader, are you not?

The object of the majority of this “animal cleansing” is a reclusive  beast called “Le Sanglier.”(pro – lee sang-lee-a) The French wild boar.(Think small, hairy pig with rhino tusks.)

Although ferocious in appearance, the Sanglier’s timidity makes Woody Allen seem aggressive. It sleeps during the day. (My dream.) And scours the forest from dusk, for berries, wild greens, and supermarket coupons.

Naturally the big S. will chow down on M.Farmer’s goodies if they’re available, but is generally more than content with wild forest fare. And the anonimity it provides. Like most species of bear, when the Sanglier gets a whiff o’ Human – it runs the other way.

For that reason, you’ll find what appear to be wooden “high chairs” dotted through the forests of France. More elaborate versions resembling a kid’s treehouse. These are the lookout towers and blinds of the “chasseurs.” Who with the dedication borne of their genetic/historical obsession – will endure untold hours in contorted positions. (comforted by a few sips of you-know-what, bien sur!)

All this to mount a hairy faux rhino head in the rec. room. And chow down on the headless portion. While Sanglier is not in the same culinary stratosphere as truffles, (But then, who wants to mount truffles on their wall?) – it is the “raison d’etre” for a variety of country time recipies. All of which involve marinating for 24 hours or more in some “secret sauce.” (“secret” except for the principal ingredient.)

But in the three or so times  Sanglier has appeared on my plate – I’ve endured – rather than enjoyed it. But then – I put whipping cream in my coffee.  So, maybe I’m just not able to appreciate the subtle nuances of this rustic delicacy.

What I can appreciate and understand,  is that the French cling ferociously(and isn’t that the best way?) to their “rights.” Real. Imagined. Or presumed. Hours in the work week. Yearly vacation time. Retirement age.  And, supremely – the genetic rights. The ones that prevail against all logic, reason , and where necessary, governments. Cheese. Wine. Fishing. And “Le Chasse.”

It’s not the purpose or the intention of this rant to oppose or approve “Le Chasse.” Everyone obviously has the (Yes, I’ll say it) “right” to their own opinion. Unless they attempt to force it upon others. But – hey – let’s leave Religion outa this – ok?

BOTTOM LINE : Like the tourists who flock to gawk at the Eiffel Tower – “Le Chasse” shows no signs of ending.

Are you not thrilled with this cutting edge info?


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9 Responses to “Hunting In France”

  1. calvin hunter says:

    i love the way you mash up humor and info in one post. if only my high school history teacher was like you…….i might have left smart!

  2. holly carmenta says:

    I totally agree with Calvin! It’s your combination of facts and fun that keep me coming back. And I love how you never “dumb down” your info.

  3. darren bovet says:

    this post a real eye opener for understanding he french hunting tradition/mentality…..however…your picture of the snaglier looks more cute and cuddly than ferocious!

  4. tara bryson says:

    love the cutting board!

  5. mary mcbride says:

    On my visits to France I’ve always wondered what those lookout towers in the forest were for. Now I know! Thanks.

  6. vidor snow says:

    have you sent a copy of this to Woody Allen?

  7. cathy waddersly says:

    I certainly have a solution for anyone crossing our land without permission. Can you guess what it is?

  8. steven forgel says:

    would be interested to get your opnion of what sanglier tastes like.
    chicken? turkey? beef?

  9. debbie wainwright says:

    one thing you did’nt mention that i’d be interested to know – is the sanglier an endangered species?

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