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HUNTING IN FRANCE

Waterfowl

or Wildfowl - or "dabbling ducks", or "canards sauvages" for us

Season

From September to January with best runs in October and November. Duck hunting in December or January is more a bet on cold weather. France is a country of migrations and wintering stay for ducks proceeding from Scandinavia and western Russia.

Species

Dabbling ducks (Feeding in surface as opposed to diving ducks feeding deeper). At one or another moment can be found: Two teals: A green winged called winter teal (sarcelle d'hiver), and a blue winged, (sarcelle d'été), the winter teal is more common and does not wait for the winter to show up. Actually you can find them in July and August. This winter teal represents about 50% of the wild ducks shot in France each year. The other dabbling ducks are mallard (canard col vert), gadwall (canard chipeau), wigeon (canard siffleur), shoveler (canard souchet), and pintail (canard pilet). In the Dombes and in the Camargue, regions there is another duck called "nette rousse", in latin branta or netta ruffina. It is a very accidental bird for the other wetlands

Diving ducks. Mainly pochard, and tufted duck (Fuligule milouin et fuligule morillon - Painting by François Lebert).

Gray geese.
Gray geese are gamebirds. The biggest one (anser anser), oie cendrée, and two smaller, l'oie rieuse (anser albifrons) and l'oie des moissons (anser fabalis). Brown or white geese are protected.

Regions

Ducks are hunted in all great seashore marshes and estuaries. Among the famous spots, the Bay of Somme in Picardy, la Bay of Seine and the Baie des Veys in Normandy, la Brière outside of Nantes near the Loire estuary, the Bassin d'Arcachon near Bordeaux. The Camargue is a famous region of wetlands on the Mediterranean sea, not far -east- from Marseille. There are also good inland wetlands like the Dombes near Lyon, or the Sologne and the Brenne in the Loire region, in the south of Orléans.

Late summer morning "au gabion"

- Hunting ducks in France -

Ducks are waited at special ponds with decoys and calling ducks. The two highligts are the evening & morning flights. It is common to spend the full night at a blind called hutte, gabion or tonne depending on the region. Most of these huttes are rather rustic installations but others are really outstanding sorts of shooting palaces. We handle the two kinds.

We are speaking of wild migrating ducks. It is not comparable to a guaranteed mallard shoot at some inland lake or pond. A good night is a pure bet unless you decide to travel only upon simple but precise weather conditions, as: Any east wind, (northeasterly being the best), and a chute of temperature.

Dans les Marais du Hode

 

Ready to hunt...

A flock is coming...

Scene of summer holiday, opening wildfowl on Aug 10th 2001

Checking the decoys. The black line in the back is the loop hole of the "hut"

Fusil Robust Cal 12-76 by Manufrance, & a brace of teals

The road home

Goose - Anser anser

Camouflage of a Picardy "hutte" from the nice website of Philippe Blin

Discover...

The tale of adventures of an American wild-fowler in Picardy. A day's (and night) hunting ducks, à la hutte in France, By Kenneth D. Gartrell - See ducks Page 3

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