All you need to know about France’s hunting season

Love it or hate it, France's hunting season has begun. Here's what you need to know.

All you need to know about France's hunting season
All photos: AFP
The hunting season started in southern France in September.
Here's what you need to know. 
1. A staggered start
While most of the south of France hit the fields on September 11th, the rest of the country had had to wait until either the 18th or the 25th.
This is because the dates are chosen by the local department's prefect.
To see a full list of when you can hunt (or indeed, avoid the hunting fields) then click here.
2. Different game on different days
Hunters aren't simply allowed to head out and start shooting at anything they can see.
Exactly what can be hunted can change from department to department, and some areas will prevent hunting of some particular species at some particular times. 
For example, hunting for birds is typically allowed for a much shorter time than for big game. 
Check with your department on this interactive map to find what your local prefect has decided for you. 
3. You'll need permission
Not just anyone can get out there and start shooting game. France has strict hunting laws, and you're going to need a permit (known as a permis de chasser). 
This has to be valid, and you have to have paid the latest fees (known as redevance cynégétique). 
These run from €223.64 for an annual pass to €17 for a three-day pass. 
4. A dangerous time to be out walking
There has been a long line of accidental fatalities that have come with hunting in France, most recently this weekend when a 55-year-old was shot dead in the Dordogne. 
Some accidents are tragic, some freakish, and many involving shooting at people who have been mistaken for animals
These include an elderly man shooting walkers after mistaking them for pheasants, and a man killing his own son after mistaking him for a wild boar. 
5. Controversial hunting
The Association for the Protection of Wild Animals (ASPAS) has long been campaigning for a ban on hunting on Sundays.
Speaking to The Local previously, Pierre Athanaze, the head of ASPAS, said the laws needed to be changed in France to prevent more deaths.
“France is the only country in Europe where people can hunt every day, which is why we are the country in Europe with the most accidents.
“Hunting needs to be stopped on Sundays, because this is the most dangerous day. There are more and more people heading out into the countryside on a Sunday, whether it's walking, mountain biking or collecting mushrooms. We want an end to it,” he said.
6. First Sunday hunting ban rolled out
This season sees the first time that such a Sunday ban has actually been implemented, and it will be tested in parts of Haute-Savoie in eastern France. 
In fact, so serious are authorities about people's safety during the hunting season that they have launched an app to let people know when and where to avoid going for walks in the wild. 
The 2016-2017 hunting season ends in February


Swedish regions raise limits on bear-hunting to combat attacks on reindeer

Several Swedish regions have increased the number of bears that can be killed during this year's hunting season.

Swedish regions raise limits on bear-hunting to combat attacks on reindeer
A hunter prepares to go out on the first day of the bear-hunting season in Sweden. Photo: Adam Ihse / TT

Jämtland is doubling the amount of bears that are allowed to be killed in the region this year to 200. 

The decision comes after the regional bear population has grown to 1,044 at the last count. Jämtland is hoping that the expanded license will reduce the number of bears to around 650.  

We have assessed that the heavy expansion of licensed hunting is necessary, partly to reduce the bear population to the regional target within five years,” said Emma Andersson, who is in charge of managing game and hunting for the region.

Sweden allows some licensed hunting of bears, partly because of their interference with reindeer herding, one of the main economic sectors in northern Sweden for Indigenous Sámi people.

There are around 1,000 reindeer herding companies in Sweden, and an estimated 2,500 people are dependent on incomes from reindeer herding, according to the website of the Sámi parliament.

The presence of predators in northern Sweden has become a complicated political issue as they pose a great threat to the sustainable farming practices of the Sámi. The Sámi parliament estimates that one quarter of reindeer are killed by predators each year, significantly higher than the ten percent limit set by parliament. 

At the same time, the hunting of bears and other predators like wolves must be strictly overseen by the region due to their protected status. 

The increased allowance for hunting bears in Jämtland is directed specifically towards areas where there is a clear link that it could harm the reindeer herding industry, according to the regional board.

Similar decisions have been taken in Västerbotten, where 85 bears can be killed this year compared to 25 in the previous year, and in Västernorrland where they are allowing 75, almost doubling the previous year’s figure.

While no decision has been taken yet in Norrbotten, the hunting association is demanding similar measures, as 20 bears were shot last year during the hunt and another 60 through emergency measures to protect reindeer.

The licensed hunting period takes place between August 21st and October 15th in Norrbotten every year, with some exceptions.

A count by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency found that there were around 2,900 bears in total in Sweden as of 2017.