Is France Our New "Hot" Hunting Country?


Published: May - 2002

Sometimes the biggest discoveries in life come from simply looking around, rather than journeying forth to foreign lands. What occasions that statement is the discovery Jean-Pierre Bernon of Club Faune made recently when he looked around at his native country of France with an eye for opportunity honed by hunting operations in numerous African countries.

What he found was a modern central European country that has an astounding 1.2 million resident hunters who shoot nearly a half million roe deer alone in a single year. The combined red stag and wild boar harvest is not far behind that. Additionally, the country has substantial populations of free-ranging European mouflon sheep and both Pyrenean and Alpine chamois.

What France doesn't have is an international hunting industry. In fact, forget the word "industry." France almost doesn't have nonresident hunters from outside Europe. And that's curious because France does not have an essentially closed hunting-license system like Germany that makes it all but impossible to offer nonresident hunting. It's system is not unlike that in neighboring Spain, which of course does have a major international hunting industry.

You probably already have a feeling for the dimensions of this development. You can bet they do in Spain, where there is a lot of nervousness about Bernon's plans to push France as an alternative to Spain for at least three of the animals the countries have in common - namely, Pyrenean chamois, European mouflon sheep and red stag. Bernon says French red stags are significantly bigger than Spanish stags, and would beat them hands-down in the Safari Club International record book if Spanish hunting entrepreneurs had not long ago pushed SCI to create a special category for Spanish red stags.

As for Pyrenean chamois and European mouflon, it's anyone's guess where French trophies will fit into the record book, as almost no one to date has been submitting animals from France. At this writing, every single Pyrenean chamois in the latest SCI record book we have on hand is from Spain. European mouflon trophies come from........(continued)

 
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