Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Want to Hunt in France

Hunting in France-How to get your licence

How to become a fully registered Chasseur

La Petite Maison Luxury Chambre D’Hotes

So You Want To Hunt?

So, you are English, you live in France and you want to hunt, you want to be a ‘Chasseur’ well then, read on.

A simple introduction to me Chris, and my wife Joanne, we bought our house in France back in 2005, an idyllic spot deep in the heart of the Creuse, we made the permanent move here in April 2009 and opened our house as a Chambres et Table d’hôte in July 2010, ‘La Petite Maison’

I am pleased to say we had a successful first season, I will be posting an article soon with regard to how to open a Chambres d’hôtes post the legal reform in April 2009.

Back to the ‘Chasse’ if you, like me are a keen hunter, you will no doubt want to make the most of what hunting in France has to offer, an abundance of game, both fur and feather, I can only describe France as a hunters paradise.

However, when I moved out here and tried to find out what I needed to do to be able to shoot, everybody I spoke to had a different tale to tell, some said I needed nothing, off you go, Gung Ho! every man for himself, some said I could shoot nuisance species such as Fox and Ragondin without informing anybody, some said I just needed to register my shotguns with the local Gendarme, some said you can shoot on your own land without a permit, and so on and so on.

Well, now I have obtained my French ‘Permis De Chasse’ I thought that I would share the process with you, set the record straight and help you remain on the right side of the law.

What is required?

You cannot shoot in France without a validated permit, end of!!
To obtain your ‘Permis de Chasse’ you have to take both a theory and practical exam, before each of the exams, training is obligatory, for the theory exam, the training program consists of one full day 08.30hrs – 17.30hrs this takes place on a Saturday, and two evenings 18.30hrs – 21.30hrs, these take place on a Friday. Depending where you live will depend on where you have to go, here in the Creuse, training takes place at the Federations HQ in Gueret, please find contact details at the end of the article.

You have to pass the theory exam before you can take part in the practical training, this involves two half day training sessions, you are given the dates once you pass the theory exam, again, depending on where you live will depend on where your training takes place, for the Creuse, it is at the Centre de Tir in Margnat, Commune Ste Feyre La Montagne.

To enrol, you must first apply to the Federation for your personal dossier, when you receive your dossier, dates for the next session will be included, there are four sessions each year, just to give you an idea of timescale, I applied in June of 2010, commenced my training in July and obtained my permit on the 6th October. You must complete and return your dossier, to do this, you must fill in the application form and send it back complete with, a copy of insurance for civil responsibility, this is free from you insurance company, a certificate of medical health from your doctor, you may have to pay for this, if so, it will be the price of a normal consultation, that being 22 Euros, a cheque for 46 Euros which covers all your training and of course your permit should you pass, two passport size photographs signed on the rear, a photocopy of a proof of identity that verifies your age. This is all straight forward and there is a tick box sheet to ensure you have included everything. When you post off your dossier, some days later, you will receive confirmation by post that you have completed it correctly (or incorrectly) and the dates to commence your training.

Chris getting his permit The theory training involves safety, law, identifying game, ballistics, do’s and don’ts etc etc, I strongly advise you to buy the DVD that accompanies the theory training, it is available from the federation at a cost of 15 Euros and I found it invaluable, it includes every question that the examiner can ask complete with the answer. How many questions are there in the exam you may ask? Twenty one in total, having said that, the examiner can select these twenty one multiple choice questions from any one of four hundred, you must get seventeen or more correct from twenty one to pass, one question from the twenty one is an eliminatory question usually to do with safety or protected species, get this one wrong and you automatically fail, exam conditions are very strict and if you don’t know your stuff, you will fail.

I studied the DVD every evening for a month and knew every answer to all four hundred questions before I took the exam, I advise you to do the same, it is not as difficult as you may think and of course improves your French, by the way, I scored twenty one from twenty one along with another English gent, having said that, six French candidates failed, one wasn’t able to take the exam because he arrived one minute after the scheduled start time so DO NOT BE LATE.

The practical training and exam involves safety zones, general comportment, shooting both blank and live rounds from a 12 gauge at clays, shooting plastic rounds from a rifle at a moving polystyrene wild boar target, identifying protected and non protected species by way of red and black clays, shoot a red one and you automatically fail, dismantling arms, mounting arms etc etc. You will also have to decide when and when not to fire, both for safety reasons and for protected or non protected species. In this exam you start with zero points and collect points along the way, again, you must gain seventeen points in total, it is possible to collect twenty one points, I scored twenty.

Chris, Jess & Bonny, with the first pheasant of the season If you pass, you will be given your permit there and then, you must however validate it afterwards at Federation HQ, for all game it is half price in your first year, 66 Euros, and it must be validated each year if you want to hunt. To join your local communal hunt you must also have insurance, the federation can provide the minimum you need at the very reasonable price of 17 Euros. If you want to shoot game you must also purchase your communes hunting card for each season, prices vary. Small game such as pheasant, hare and rabbit can be shot solo, but only on your communes specific hunt days, big game such as wild boar and deer is a team event and can only be shot at weekend.

I must say that I found the whole process very interesting and informative, much better than in England, yes, you are thinking what a long drawn out process, however, once you have been through it, your whole hunting experience will be enhanced. Join your local Chasse now, tag along each weekend for the experience, I did this for a full season before applying and the experience I gained helped me no end.

Good Luck and ‘Bon Chasse’ should you wish to contact me for further information, please do so via our website or French Entrée- Limousin .

Federation Departmentale des Chasseurs de la Creuse
18, av. Pierre Mendes

You can find the contact details for the hunting associations of each department here

Article kindly provided by Chris Spencer

La Petite Maison Luxury Chambre D’Hotes

Monsieur et Madame Spencer
Luxury Chambre D’Hotes
Chassing Cheval
St Avit De Tardes
Telephone 0555664907 (0033555664907 for international)
Portable (Mobile) 00447733373160

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