Sunday will remain the preserve of the hunters in Isère

sep article

DECRYPTION – By establishing areas prohibited to hunters or closed to hunting on Sunday afternoon, the Haute-Savoie has she shown the way ? Isère will not follow the same path. There will be no second no-hunting day in the department. A small consolation prize for associations and the increasing number of participants, who demand a Sunday truce : hunt leaders must be trained by 2018, and signage will be placed at particularly frequented sites.  




Friday is the only no-hunting day in Isère, but thinking ahead... slowly. © Gest/Federation of hunting in Isère

Friday is the only no-hun­ting day in Isère, but thin­king ahead… slowly. © Gest/Federation of hun­ting in Isère

There will be no ban on Sunday hun­ting in Isère. With the new sea­son ope­ning today, and las­ting for six months, the pos­si­bi­lity of a second no-hun­ting day in the depart­ment seems to have vani­shed into thin air.


Friday remains the only no-hun­ting day across the depart­ment, des­pite repea­ted requests from asso­cia­tions in defense of the envi­ron­ment and the repre­sen­ta­tives of users, even though eight out of ten French people have deman­ded that Sunday hun­ting be stop­ped, and des­pite the 300,000 signa­tures col­lec­ted in a peti­tion laun­ched by the Aspas .


Whilst in Haute-Savoie, hun­ting bans or regu­la­ted areas (hun­ting pro­hi­bi­ted after 11:30 on Sunday) have been intro­du­ced, nothing to report in Isère. The two depart­ments have one thing in com­mon : both recor­ded a fatal acci­dent in 2015, a wal­ker in Haute-Savoie and a young hiker in Isère.


But, the pre­fects of the two depart­ments did not have the same ans­wer, because in France, there are no legis­la­tive or regu­la­tory schemes to regu­late hun­ting.

Each Department does pretty much as it likes, mea­ning that nobody really knows what they are doing…


In theory, in the Hexagon, there is nothing to say that hun­ting can­not take place seven days a week. Indeed, throu­ghout the 96 depart­ments, only six have imple­men­ted one or two no-hun­ting days per week. In Isère and the Hautes-Alpes, it’s Friday ; in Jura, it’s Tuesday ; in the Haute-Marne, Wednesday ; in Savoie, Tuesday and Friday, and in the Haute-Savoie, on Wednesday and Friday – not Sunday for the lat­ter, depen­ding on the areas this year.




“We don’t want a ban”



Complicated ? Even more so, when we look at the map. Hunting asso­cia­tions are not allo­wed to hunt on cer­tain days, gene­rally due to the over-fre­quen­ta­tion of cer­tain areas. Private hun­ting at Père Gras à la Bastille takes a break on Sunday. At Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux, wee­kends are usually rather quiet.


Additionally, hun­ting may be open or clo­sed, depen­ding on alti­tude. In Revel, for example, in addi­tion to Friday, hun­ters don’t get out their rifles on Monday and Wednesday, except above 1,800 meters, to track cha­mois.


La Frapna et la LPO Isère réagissent après l'accident de chasse du 10 octobre. © Chasseur de France

© Chasseur de France (French Hunter)


The fact remains that not hun­ting on Sunday is, for the moment, an excep­tion. Nothing says that the ini­tia­tive of the haut-savoyard pre­fect is emu­la­ted. In the depart­ment, the ques­tion is even trou­bling the pre­sident of the depart­men­tal fede­ra­tion of Isere hun­ting : “We don’t want a ban!”, says Jean-Louis Dufresne.


The issue was qui­ckly swept under the car­pet during dis­cus­sions within the reflec­tion group “Hunter safety” * esta­bli­shed by the pre­fect of Isère after the fatal acci­dent, which occur­red in October, 2015, in Revel. The Frapna (Rhône-Alpes fede­ra­tion for the pro­tec­tion of nature), were the only asso­cia­tion to defend no-hun­ting Sunday within the group, and visi­bly held no weight.


"TheIt is, never­the­less, not the only one to ques­tion the public autho­ri­ties on this mat­ter. The bird pro­tec­tion League, Mountain Wilderness, the regio­nal Committee of the French Alpine Club and moun­tain fede­ra­tion, as well as the French Alpine Club Grenoble-Oisans have all already split in a let­ter to the pre­fect.


But, it’s the Committee of the French hiking fede­ra­tion that the repre­sen­ta­tive of the State has cho­sen to represent users in the reflec­tion group.


Coincidence ? The lat­ter is on rather good terms with hun­ters and is hardly defen­ding the idea of a second no-hun­ting day***. Were the dice loa­ded from the start ? When soli­ci­ted, the pre­fec­ture of Isere did not reply to our inter­view requests.


What weight do hikers, bikers, riders, or even simple wal­kers and fami­lies hold, when faced with hun­ters ? The first are more likely to aspire to taking in the air, while hun­ters – whose num­bers decline from year to year – represent no more than 1.6 % of the French.


A weight they will look for elsew­here ; in the Senate, the hun­ting and fishing research group has 86 mem­bers, the tou­rism and lei­sure group, 24. At the National Assembly, the hun­ting and ter­ri­to­ries group includes 116 mem­bers, the moun­tain group 39…


Should coha­bi­ta­tion be stop­ped ? Partitioning of the public ? How can the space be sha­red safely ?


Lacking no-hun­ting Sunday, and wai­ting to find (ano­ther) solu­tion, public power and hun­ters intend to play the infor­ma­tion card in awa­re­ness and accoun­ta­bi­lity. Fingers cros­sed…


The season opens on Sunday. Friday is the only no-hunting day in Isère, but thinking ahead... slowly. width=Thus, signage will be imple­men­ted at the end of September, at six highly fre­quen­ted pilot sites ** in Isère. The idea is to edu­cate users about the hun­ting days, and also remind them to res­pect the secu­rity ins­truc­tions. Like not lea­ving paths.

In Revel, on 10th October 2015, it was on a forest trail that a young student from Grenoble, was mis­ta­ken for a deer ; he was fatally inju­red.


In such cases, the signs do nothing ; no more than the day-glo orange vests, which must be worn by hun­ters, also one of the mea­sures of the Isère reflec­tion group. The neon out­fit was already com­pul­sory, but not neces­sa­rily orange… The asso­cia­tions would appre­ciate atten­tion to detail.


For wal­kers, it won’t change much. For hun­ters, yes, because shots without iden­ti­fi­ca­tion are the main cause of fatal acci­dents, and the vic­tims, in 85 % of cases, are hun­ters.


However, there is no requi­re­ment for hun­ters to have trai­ning. Only the fede­ra­tions are under the obli­ga­tion to do so. A casual­ness that astounds asso­cia­tions. “When we arm someone, we should at least train them!”, points out Fredi Meignan, pre­sident of Mountain Wilderness. “A car can be dan­ge­rous, but there is the dri­ving license!”



© Flickr

Jean-Louis Dufresne, counts on the accoun­ta­bi­lity of his troops. Each year, his fede­ra­tion trains 350 to 400 hun­ters. But, they are satu­ra­ted ; “This year, we have done 24 trai­ning courses and there are more and more appli­ca­tions.” Today, 10,000 out of the department’s 18,000 hun­ters will be trai­ned.


At this rate, all of the hun­ters will be ready in… twenty years. This is without going through the recy­cling bin, as the asso­cia­tions claim, and with no control from the State on health either.


The only mea­sure made com­pul­sory this year by the pre­fect of Isère : the trai­ning of heads of hunt. By 2018, all lea­ders of col­lec­tive hun­ting must have been trai­ned ; 800 to 900 per year.

Measures hai­led by asso­cia­tions, but far from suf­fi­cient. “2018 is too late”, high­lights Sophie D’Herbomez-Provost, Vice President of Frapna Isère. “We had hoped for 2017… ”


“It is far from a mini­mum ser­vice!”, conti­nues Fredi Meignan, pre­sident of Mountain Wilderness. “We can’t stick to not sha­ring the ter­ri­tory. It doesn’t mean rising against each other. It’s in the gene­ral inter­est.”


Around the table, Frapna says it is ready to take a step : to draw a line through the extra no-hun­ting day and replace it with two half days, with the Sunday after­noon (still) in the firing line.


On their side, hun­ters are stu­dying the fea­si­bi­lity of a web appli­ca­tion that would iden­tify, and espe­cially make public, the day and ope­ning of hun­ting areas, as well as the hun­ting zones. The asso­cia­tions have high expec­ta­tions of the inves­ti­ga­tion to be conduc­ted into hun­ting prac­tices, with the goal being to learn about the sec­tors and per­iods where coha­bi­ta­tion may be pro­ble­ma­tic.


Meanwhile, the pre­fect of Isère is split over one point of order : it is for­bid­den to shoot above the roads…



Patricia Cerinsek



* The reflec­tion group consists of the Department of ter­ri­to­ries, the Federation of hun­ters of Isère, the natio­nal hun­ting and wild­life office, the natio­nal fores­try Office, the County Council, a repre­sen­ta­tive of the mayors of the French Hiking Federation and the Rhône-Alpes Federation for the pro­tec­tion of nature.


** Six pilot sites in Isère : Revel (Freydières), Lavars / Treffort (Ebron), Lans-en-Vercors (Les Allières), Roybon (Digonne), Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (Charmant Som), Saint-Ismier et Le Versoud (French woods).


*** When contac­ted, the FFRP of Isère, whose pre­sident resi­gned, did not wish to speak.





The Freydières sec­tor in the town of Revel is one of the busiest cor­ners of the Isère. It was here on 10th October, 2015, that a young French student was fatally inju­red by a hun­ter. But, the inten­ded shock wave did not take effect for some after­wards. Here, Sunday remains a day of hun­ting, like eve­ryw­here else in Isère.


Le chemin forestier sur lequel a été tué un jeune randonneur à Revel, le 10 octobre 2015. © Xavier Schmidt - France 3 Alpes

The forest path, on which a young back­pa­cker was killed, in Revel, 10th October, 2015. © Xavier Schmidt – France 3 Alpes

Ban hun­ting on Sunday ? “You don’t want to go into the divi­sions”, abounds Bernard Michon. For the Mayor of this small town, at the gates of the mas­sif of Belledonne, there is no ques­tion of par­ti­tio­ning off the public. He speaks of trai­ning, accoun­ta­bi­lity and infor­ma­tion.


In late September, edu­ca­tio­nal panels will be ins­tal­led to raise awa­re­ness about hun­ting, and also about the forest envi­ron­ment. “We want to streng­then coha­bi­ta­tion. What is impor­tant is the evo­lu­tion of conscious­ness and dia­logue.” The trai­ning of hun­ters will be streng­the­ned. Above all, the over-fre­quen­ted Freydières forest road, is now part of the hun­ting reserve. On this sec­tor, which runs up to the Crozet Lake, hun­ting is now pro­hi­bi­ted.







With an ave­rage of 150 hun­ting acci­dents repor­ted each year, France holds the European record. Even if the trend is moving in a down­ward direc­tion, over twenty sea­sons, more than 600 deaths have been recor­ded by the Hexagon.


On a final note, France is it also, because of the num­ber hun­ting days. In fact, it is the only coun­try where hun­ting takes place every day of the week. In the nor­thern half of Europe, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany, hun­ting is pro­hi­bi­ted on Sunday. In the sou­thern half, in Italy, Spain and Portugal, hun­ting is allo­wed on Sunday, but pro­hi­bi­ted on seve­ral week days.




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