The main hunting season is September to February. Game in French is gibier and furred game such as rabbits, deer and boar are gibier à poils. Waterfowl is gibier d'eau, and the third category of game are the very controversial oiseaux de passage (migrating birds). Hunting is la chasse. The exact start and end dates for the hunting season varies from département to département but here in Indre et Loire, the general opening date is 9am on 19 September. Conversely, the angling season ends on 19 September.

The rules are many and precise.
  • Some species have a more restricted season than the general dates (e.g. hares and partridge).
  • Hunting underground is only allowed by specialist registered clubs.
  • In order to allow the population to rebuild, hunting hares is not allowed everywhere.
  • Hunters are not allowed to put out grain to attract boar unless they have a special licence.
  • Hunting is generally only allowed from 9am to one hour after sunset (with some exceptions e.g. waterfowlers are allowed to be in position two hours before sunrise).
  • Nuisance species e.g. coypu, can be hunted on any day of the week, within the usual hours, without any prior notification to the authorities.
  • Hunting is not permitted when it is snowing (with some exceptions e.g. waterfowl on open water).
  • It is forbidden to buy or sell certain game (e.g. woodcock).
Further Reading and References:
Where the Wild Boar Are, a blog post on Days on the Claise about the wild boar population and hunting practices here.
Hunt Signage Explained, a blog post on Days on the Claise, detailing the rules concerning the various signs you will see regarding hunting.
La lutte contre les nuisibles, a blog post on Days on the Claise, detailing the rules concerning the hunting of species declared as vermin (in English).
Stopping Hunting on Your Land in France, a blog post by Chris Luck on French Wildlife and Beekeeping.

A chaise de chasse ('hunt chair') in the Forêt de Preuilly. Hunters with guns stand in the chaise, waiting for wild boar to be driven within range by beaters and dogs.

Chasse réservée means that unless you have permission from the owner you can't hunt there. In practice it usually means the land is reserved for the local communal hunt.

Technically chasse gardée means that hunting is the main activity undertaken on the land, and it is managed to maintain a good population of game. Non-hunters are not welcome on this land as they will disturb the game. Hunters need the permission of the landowner to enter. In practice it is often used as a means of withdrawing land from hunting ie never giving permission for hunters to enter, or by private individuals who hunt but do not allow others onto their land.

The signs indicate private property, restricted hunting and mushroom gathering forbidden.
A game proof fence on a private hunting estate.

Part of the pack of Anglo-Francais Tricoleur hounds at the Chateau of Cheverny.

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