Saturday, 18 March 2017

French pheasant release

On a cold and breezy French Spring morning we bounced around in the 4x4 as we skirted the farmers' fields, searching for the best places to release the season's pheasants.

In Spring the local hunt clubs buy pheasants and release them into the woods to eat well and get fat and reproduce before the hunting season commences in September.

They arrive in narrow boxes with breathing holes and are obliged to stay in them for up to two days of transport so it's no wonder they are desperate to get out.

The first cock with his hens was released beside a small wood which JC owns, bordering on to a farmer's wheat fields. Having never participated in a release I hadn't expected the speed with which the birds disappear once out of the crate.

The females are so well camouflaged that a few second after they land they become invisible. Only a hunting dog would be able to find them by scent.

Eric, president of the local hunt club, had two helpers, Jean-Michel and Jean-Claude.  We made a convoy of a van and a 4x4 stopping off at two further sites; one on the outskirts of a neigbouring village and the last beside JC's place.

I left the guys to conduct their customary liquid celebration each time they saw each other and retreated to the warmth of the house.

It's not certain how many of the 32 birds released today will survive being eaten by foxes or killed on the road. Some will have babies together which will be ultimately eaten by dogs and cats and buzzards. Then in September they will have to run the gauntlet of the hunters. Glad I'm not a pheasant in France.


T. Tatsmaki said...
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