Who wants to go hunting, must get up early. And it's a pleasure to be on the small day under the tall woodland of maritime pines "to the foot". Caudos, in the South of the Médoc, it is already in the Landes. Pine forests have succeeded to the marshes of the edge of the Gironde and the well ordered lines of vines that were famous in the region. Here, the wild boar, deer, but also deer found a biotope adapted to their way of life. Extensive forested areas of game but also for corn crops and even golf courses to the tempting green areas provide a space where romp and lead a quiet life, or almost. Because each year, the hunting season goes. A great moment for hunters, but for the peasants who would well patted of these neighbors bulky and devastating "permanently". This is not the purpose of hunters who are more like managers who on-site maintenance and reproduction of game import as much as its "raising". This is what is precisely the "make the foot". Because today Georges Mondié, President of the hunting of large Bournet, the idea to offer its members a deer. And a single. One of the eight to twelve points, overview the previous weeks and grazing with his herd in the vicinity. Then, at daybreak, we are in the alleys of this forest, is to identify the trace steps of our animal and determine the square that will need to identify earlier to try to pull. Back to the report at the Inn of the Estanquet which serves as a rallying point, teams this morning agree all say that, in the grassy sand, these oblong, more pronounced marks on the back on the front, are all on a dense plot gorse and alceifolius.
For the time being, Georges gives his instructions. Former Director of the Tunet company which manufactures cartridges, organizing camps to hunt in Africa, the hunting professional, he knows well his little world. A map, it refers to the teams, and mainly defines the rules which it intends that each follow them with any military discipline. After all, we are armed with rifles. Then, security first: "I would remind you that they shoot behind itself, not forward." I also hear that each guard on his vest. If I see a single Hunter did not wear, I immediately stop the hunt. "The port of these fluorescent, yellow, green or orange, chasubles who look like hunters to agents of exploitation of the highways, is indeed mandatory since 2004. And saved a few lives: according to national hunting Office, accidents increased from 203 to 167 between 2003 and 2004. Security dogs, then: "If there is a dog on the farm, we go." Translation: game, especially the boar cornered, defends itself. To the Hunter to the aid of his best friend. We will see later what this means. And finally, eh Yes, respect for the game: "We make that a deer." Not the yearling males and cows, or even wild boar. As soon as he is killed, three shots will be daze and disarm everyone. "Last detail, and not least, in this funny little Republic: administrative control. Each sign book of beaten, having demonstrated his hunting license and insurance day. Hunting is a part of fun but it follows the laws.
Fabrice at Waterloo
Finally, this leaves us all to the position. The Pack was launched on the cooler track. At its head, Toby, Georges AIREDALE, small and angry and who is there where large current dogs are is not at risk. Behind them, the touts. Barking, sounds of undisturbed thickets, the Hunter is first ear. All that the use of the walkie talkie is banned, all communications are orally. The Sun is already high, but along the line it has eyes for the thicket where the famous deer can arise at any time. And is facing the reactions of its neighbours. Printing be Fabrice at Waterloo. By far, the actions of each, the cries of others do not give piecemeal indicative of the situation. Suddenly, in the distance, a tremor shakes the line. Weapons stand, arms to tend. A fraction of a second and a deer followed by its way across the line. Time of stress, the time to identify the two animals (draw back, once the animal has crossed the line of hunters, lets him have identified... and not to draw on the trackers and dogs). And lower arms, the body relax. Now the time passes, sometimes fast, all the senses to the lookout, sometimes also in the alanguissement of an expectation which did not end. At midday, Georges arises, mounted on a buggy. White-tailed deer is passed across the land, but the Hunter flabbergasted by the wild beauty of the animal does not pulled him. End of the morning of hunting, look the dogs always cavalent behind their prey. The "canine brigade", followed by 4 4 buggy in head equipped with cages, goes into action. En route to the large fields of corn, to the South, where will finish generally all rampant. In an hour, the dogs are gathered, lunch can begin.
No history tell. We are in the land of wine, there are bottles on the table. And the good: Chateau Lalaudey 1998, a moulis for red, Rayne Vigneau 1988, a sauternes to white. The time is the epic stories, romanticised reconstructions and congratulations full of irony for this poor Hunter who has let the deer also. It met in an elbow-to-elbow fraternal and we take this opportunity to meet.
With 52,000 hunters, 850 companies of hunting, and 650,000 hectares of chassable area which 60,000 reserves and wildlife, Gironde is the first hunting Department of France. Say that here all hunting or almost. Who knows rituals bites of Allain Bougrain Dubourg, President of the League for the protection of birds with hunters of the Médoc doves
200 Euros per year can be shareholder of the company of hunting led by Georges Mondié. Guests do not pay. Hunting brings therefore here worlds that do not have the habit of mix: rural, majority of the employees working in the large wine-growing areas of the North of the Department, but merchants and established officials in the small towns of the Médoc, which postman and that restaurateur, who transport contractor and which informant for Customs to cite only the trades of my closest neighbors. And then of urban real, rather the liberal professions and patterns company but mixed workers than this offence to the struggle of the classes is really not disturb. In any event, on touch of office and the uniform of the hunters, jacket oilcloth, off-road pants and boots, prevents social differences occur with too much force. Because the less rich are not necessarily less well equipped, at the level of weapons including, bichonnées with fervour. Finally, little women, with the exception of a few attendants énamourées and equipped with cameras: the world of hunting remains here, quietly, obviously manly. It would be inappropriate to talk about business at table, but it is obvious that knotted here contacts can thrive elsewhere.
And the stalking takes. This time, is the wild boar. "As red animals", said Georges, i.e. aged from one to two years. "And not deer", he said. "I remind you the fine: 150 euros per advanced." So 1,500 for a beautiful male. What do think about the more impulsive. New line, new expectations. But this time, the powder speaks, and the dogs howl. Suddenly, a deaf control noise puts all alert hunters. It's growing, it barks. No doubt, the dogs are on the farm. Then, forward. Weapons in hand. Three dogs are struggling on a boar, a fourth is already an estafilade the hillside. The nearest Hunter repels dogs kicked and shoots at point-blank. Time of great savagery. Relief also. The injured dog is only superficially reached. There is a doctor in the stalking. The Toolkit to pharmacy, Staples and Velpeau band are their office and the hero of the day joined his comrades in the cage. In the table, there are three wild boars.
At the beginning of the day, a Hunter stopped me: "you would still tell that we are in the wild." I reassured him: "No, men in love of nature." A their own way.