Nice Adobe Spark essay on L’Equipage Mayennais, a French hunt that pursues wild boar with Anglo-French hounds. French hunting is “more chic than cruel.”
Run, Sangliers, run!
Hat tip to Jesse Swan.
The hunt is the Vautrait Piqu’Avant Bretagne, founded 2009, which hunts the wild boar in the forests of Brittany with a pack comprised of 35 couple of Anglo-French tricolor and black-and-tan foxhounds. The Hubert Mass and hounds blessing was conducted at the 13th century Gothic Basilica of Notre-Dame de La Guerche-de-Bretagne.
The French wear considerably more elaborate hunt uniforms than we do, and they accompany their hunting activities with the most splendid horn fanfares.
The ceremonies recorded in the videos took place November 10. St. Hubert‘s feast day is November 3rd. The ceremonies were probably the preliminaries to the hunt’s formal opening meet.
John Lichfield reports that Asterix’s beloved sanglier has multiplied five times over the last two decades.
In the forest close to our house in Normandy, we have neighbours that we never see. Occasionally, you might spot one sprinting across the road late at night. Each autumn, brutal-looking men in paramilitary uniforms invade the forest with dogs and horns to try to shoot them.
The other morning, for the first time in 11 years, I saw one of our neighbours in broad daylight. He was loitering in the middle of the road. When my car came along, he stared at me insolently and then trotted off into a field of almost-ripe maize.
Our neighbours are sangliers, or wild boar. Their population is exploding. Despite the best efforts of the men in paramilitary uniforms (who often seem to end up shooting one another), the wild boar population of France has increased five-fold in the last 20 years to reach an estimated one million.
Several reasons are given for their proliferation. The great hurricane of Christmas 1999 left French forests in such a jumble that the boar have many more places to hide from the hunters. The spread of cereal fields into traditional beef and dairy country (like Normandy) has given them a new food supply. They are especially partial to maize.
Last week, the wild boar, sanglier or Sus scrofa was officially declared a public menace. Over 15,000 road accidents a year â€“ two-thirds of all French road accidents are attributable to animals â€“ are caused by wild boar dashing across roads at night without looking both ways. The environment minister, Jean-Louis Borloo, has ordered an anti-boar campaign, including official culls and, possibly, a longer hunting season.
Berliners, the Wall Street Journal reports, have a bigger problem than the pesky white-tailed deer infesting American suburbs these days.
Berlin’s wooded parks, suburbs and increasingly mild winters make it Europe’s capital city for sus scrofa, the wild, tusked ancestor of the domestic pig. The booming population of porkers has Germans on the run, reversing the natural order of things.
Boars like to dig up worms and grubs with their snouts, churning manicured gardens into muddy battlefields. They’ve plowed up parks, cemeteries and even the training ground of Berlin’s major-league soccer team, Herta BSC.
he swine are an obstacle on Berlin’s streets, where 211 have died in traffic accidents in the past eight months. But despite the porcine problem, part of Berlin’s human population is siding with the boars against those who shoot them. Urban hunters have been beaten with sticks, called “murderers” and had their tires slashed. Mr. Eggert once had to call for police protection when a crowd of young partygoers, enraged after he shot a boar that had been wounded by a car, threatened to beat him up.
The boars are usually peace-loving. But 250-pound adults armed with sharp, upward-curving tusks can be dangerous if they think they’re cornered. In October, when hunters shot a tusker in a cornfield south of Berlin, the wounded animal counterattacked, killing one man and injuring another who’d come to finish it off. Every year in Berlin several dogs are gored to death after rashly challenging boars to a fight. On one occasion, three boars got lost in a day-care center on Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin and panicked. The children hadn’t arrived for the day yet, but the boars nearly gored the janitor.
The growing threat to life, limb and lawns has led Berlin to take extraordinary measures. In 2002, City Hall began appointing special StadtjÃ¤ger, or “urban hunters.” …
Hunters have shot over 500 boars in urban areas since April, but boar numbers keep rising. Up to 7,000 now live in the city.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.