Hunting contents


Hunting in Provence

Visiting Provence in the winter is a pure delight. Spending a day out hunting will greatly add pleasure to the trip. Hunting is a sort of popular religion in Provence, few people would believe how much before actually living it. The use and breeding of good gundogs and hounds is a real local art. For foreign visitors we can organize guided days bird hunting over dogs and hound driven wild boars. The pictures below will show you the landscapes and organization of a days boar hunting. Bird days will take place in the same sort of setting.  We will put a price on any project on simple request by email.

A day in the life of boar hunters in Provence

The setting...

Under the big blue sky, a hilltop village of Provence

peaceful life and setting

white wine chilled, ready to be served

two friends from Wisconsin and Tuscany meet for a holiday

visiting vineyards

and small ports

enoying a "wife endorsed" life on the Mediterranean sea

The Hunt....

but this morning starts at 5.00 am, for a  strong wake up coffee

a first picture with a boar's head is shot

croissants are bough at the baker (still) nicely opening early for country workers

and we are meeting a dozen of local hunters at dawn in the hills of the backcountry

a hunting spot is determined by a sort of pow wow

promptly joined with powerful 4 x 4 vehicles

now the "guns" must have taken their positions scattered in the hills

and we stay alone with "Pitou" who will be handling the small pack of dogs

they will push the boars in total frreedom equipped with radio trackers that will avoid to search them sometimes until midnight or the next morning if they were following too far...

Pitou remains faithful to the old short barreled shotgun with slugs

the search starts for us by a long trek with the dogs on the lead

in search of a good "foot"... a track of boars that could have passed during the night

when such place is found the dogs firstly pull, then soon start to bark

and are finally released

they are barking in the brush, very near from us, we have heard the noise of a short fight, but seen nothing yet... The thick covert explains the use of short barelled shotguns.

our way takes us to funny camouflaged constructions used as "blinds" to wait the migrations of  birds

as the sun rises, we are discovering gorgeous landscapes

we are back again in action. Pitou has heard someting as the barkings weregetting closer to us

he flushed a boar that remained invisible. We only noticed the noise and ... the smell

we are bumping into the "cabanon" which is the very place where the movies "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des Sources", based on Marcel Pagnol novels, were shot.

a well deserved pause is enjoyed,. It may not appear on the pictures, but Pitou is crossing the steep hills at the speed of the dogs and boars. He's been doing this all his life like 5 days a week... which is NOT our case !

much farther from us, one of the guys we had seen this morning was waiting at a strategic position, well hidden on the sort of high seat perched in an oak

a truly strategic position near a half dry small pond that allowed him a safe shot

as he explained later when everybody joined him to see the result

in Provence stories must be told with gesture. Our friend from Italy appreciates it. 

the boar he shot is a wonderful animal

everybody agrees

the day is finished, it is around noon. Only Pitou is still running after one of his dogs. The other relax and evoke the adventures of the day with the game keeper a fit young man riding a mountain bike.

the little caravan leaves again now

to join another "cabanon" where the boars will be butchered and a picnic served

now it is really time for a rest and a cool drink... a "pastis" of course.

this dogs feels badly sorry in his kennel. But no boar hunt for him, he is a "hare dog".

two big boars have been shot and the men are weighing them with difficulties

one reaches 80 and the other 95 kilos (the double in pounds). Mediterranean boars would grow up to 110, 120 kilos, so 95 kilos is an excellent quarry. The boars are butchered, and a BBQ prepared.

a happy table is gathered

good mood and good food for hungry hill crossers

none of these guys is young; Though ! the man on the left is 86, smokes cigarettes, eats charcoal grilled meat, drinks pastis, wine and grappa  and hunts every possible day like a young man... Maybe this is what they call the Mediterranean diet ?

after a last glance at our beloved hills of the "Sainte Baume"

it is time to leave the hunting grounds

12 septembre 2007, La Cadière d'Azur. Var.


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