Looked out of the window, and there it was. In the top corner of the garden, by the shed. Looked as if it was a little confused – why else would it be exploring our yard? ; hardly its natural habitat. So it strutted across the front of the shed, keeping an eye on the raised salad beds as it went; ducked behind the trailer, and seemed to spend some time studying the wood pile.
It then weaved its way around the bushes keeping close to the back wall, with a nervous jump as it passed the washing just as the wind caught it; took a look at the gate through to next door, and disappeared behind the hedge. A brief moment and it reappeared, searching down the front side of the garden for a way through – all holes blocked by the neighbours on account of their puppy, which loves finding its way through. It then disappeared out through the front hedge.
So why was it here? The “Chasse” began last Sunday, and this was Thursday; the second permitted day. Perhaps it was on the run from the hunters – the neighbour was out, with his dogs and his gun; could have been nasty for the pheasant otherwise. But talking to Francis on Friday, he suggested another reason – on Thursday the farmer had cut the field of Maize behind our houses, and hares, rabbits and birds had been disturbed.
This led to a discussion about the “Chasse”, and its benefits to the countryside; the strict regulations covering hunting, and the policing of these regulations by agents of the (French equivalent of) Department of the Environment. Numbers of birds and animals taken have to be meticulously recorded, and, for example, only two hares are allowed to each hunter each season. Francis complained about the cost, and the paperwork involved, and the necessity to carry the paperwork in case of being approached by the agents; but then agreed that on the whole it was good for the environment (other hunters we know seem to share this concern for the environment). And the cost can be reduced if you agree to take part in the organised cull of foxes!
Bob and Marjory