An adventure in France: The Cradle of Fair Chase Hunting!
by Ed H. Edwards, Lansing SCI Chapter Member
A Castle for my Queen
At less than 30 yards this was going to be a chip shot if the boar would just give me a clear shot for a second or two. In the previous two days, every time a boar was judged a shooter it spooked before a shot was possible.
Winning the Trip at Auction
March 29, 2019 was a cold Saturday night and I was at the SCI Flint Chapter fundraiser and the France Safaris trip I was interested in was #87 of 88 items on the auction list. It was going to be a late one compounded by the change in daylight savings time which occurred that night. Plus, I had to catch a 7:00 AM flight Sunday morning for a grueling three flight business trip to Canada.
The banquet room was nearly deserted when the auctioneer finally opened my hunt with an online bid which I trumped and a “going once, going twice, sold to the tired old man” happened in mere seconds!
Although the donation was for a fallow or mouflon my prime interest hunting in Europe again was a good boar. It was recommended to me that coming in January is best when the leaves were down and boar feeding activity is at its highest.
France is a great place for Fair Chase Hunting!
France Safaris has the typical high seats placed in travel / feeding areas, however the best method for serious hunting is to spot and stalk. Boar are most active at twilight and bed down in thick cover most of the day. The technique is to spot a bedded boar and determine if it is a shooter when it stands up and does not spook before the tusks are evaluated.
We actually spotted many, evaluated several, but by the time I was given the green light they were on the move. The third morning we were slow rolling down a two track when we spotted one. Guillaume whispered it was good, but we could possibly do better. Quietly exiting the truck, I chambered a round and set the safety and did not acknowledge his comment.
The stars, or shall I say the boar, lined up in my crosshairs and as soon as a shoulder became clear I double lunged and dropped him on the spot with a 140 grain Bear Claw from my .270. The tusks ended up being long, heavy and unbroken and may be the highest scoring taken in several years.
European Wild Boar eluded me on hunts in Belgium, Bulgaria, Russia, and Spain. Red deer, Fallow deer, upland birds, waterfowl, and hare were bagged, but wild boar had been elusive.
The old scarred fighter with big tusks was worth the time, effort, and 22-year wait since my last hunt in Europe. Let’s just say I was pleased as double rum punch to take my seventh species of wild swine / peccary recognized by SCI.
Mouflon was my choice for the animal included in the donation and they are very plentiful in the area. A herd animal, mouflon gather in open grasslands like pronghorn and are hunted by spotting and stalking downwind using cover to sneak within range. We spotted a herd of 20 or more and using a tree lined fence row we ran out of cover at 180 yards. Even a “big” mouflon is a small animal and I wanted to be rock steady when taking the shot. The shooting sticks France Safaris uses rests both the front and back of the stock providing a nearly bench rest hold.
Waiting behind a tree until my heart rate slowed down from the stalk, I set up on the sticks and prepared for the shot. Feeling confident I eased the safety off, exhaled half a breath, and broke the sear holding the firing pin with a steady straight back squeeze using the tip of my trigger finger between the first joint and the swirl of my fingerprint. The eight-year-old ram tried to jump but collapsed, shot through both shoulders.
A trip with France Safaris is much more than a hunting adventure!
Every hunt I plan has comforts so my wife Carol can come as an observer and have an enjoyable experience and this trip was over the top. The base of operations is Chateau de Laplanque, a castle that has been in the Rogery family since the thirteenth century, and we were in the care of Guillaume and Lisa Rogery. The fellowship, food, and accommodations were beyond our expectations.
Having been on many outfitter hunting trips I have a general classification of trips as follows:
- You start out on a trip as a client.
- Sometimes, but not often, you end the trip as just a client.
- Most often, you end the trip as friends.
- Sometimes, but not often, you end the trip feeling like family.
This trip was family all the way!
A donor to several SCI chapter fundraisers and annual convention France Safaris is an excellent choice for any hunter wanting a European hunting experience that comes with seamless service from pickup to drop off at the Toulouse, France airport. In addition to boar and mouflon, red and fallow deer are also available. Find out more by visiting their website.
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The Life, Legacy, and Vision of Saint Hubertus France
Saint Hubertus was born in or near Toulouse France about the year 656 and died in 727 and was the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians, opticians, and metalworkers. Hubertus was born in or near Toulouse /France and was the eldest son of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine. As a youth he was sent to the Neustrian count in Paris where his charm led to his dignity of “count of the palace” and eventually grand-master and married into an affluent family.
His life took a turn when his wife died giving birth. He retreated from the court and went into the forest where he lived his life around hunting. However, a spiritual occurrence soon happened. On Good Friday morning, when those with faith crowded the churches, Hubertus was in chase of a magnificent stag. The animal turned and Hubertus was astounded by a crucifix glowing between its antlers. He heard a voice saying: “Hubertus, unless thou turn to the Lord and lead a holy life thou shall quickly go down into hell”.
During this vision the stag is said to have lectured Hubertus into holding animals in high regard and having compassion for them as God’s creatures with a value in their own right. The hunter should only shoot when a humane, quick kill was possible. He should shoot only old stags past their prime breeding years and to relinquish a shot on a trophy to instead euthanize a sick or injured animal that he comes across.
The legacy of Hubertus is taught and held in high regard in the extensive and rigorous European hunter education courses and honored among sport hunters as the originator of the ethical hunting behavior of fair chase.
Hubertus accepted the Lord and distributed all of his personal wealth among the poor, studied for the priesthood, was ordained, and later became consecrated a Bishop by Pope Sergius.