Why there could be more hunters out in the fields of rural France this year

Residents in rural France (not to mention the wild boar and game birds) need to take extra care when out and about at weekends from now on with the hunting season having officially opened - and this year may see a rise in the number of hunters.

Why there could be more hunters out in the fields of rural France this year
Photo: AFP

The familiar sound of gunshots ringing out around fields and woods will once again be heard around rural France as the annual hunting season opened in 46 departéments in the south of the country on Sunday.

The rest of the country will soon follow with the opening of France's hunting season staggered (see map below from France's National Federation of Hunters).



Hunting is the third most popular past time in France and is practised by around 1.2 million people.

Nevertheless the numbers of participants have been falling year on year for the last 30 years but under pressure from hunting associations the French government has moved this year to try to stem the drop in popularity and open up the activity to young people.

Responding to a campaign promise of President Emmanuel Macron, the government cut the price of a hunting permit by half, meaning this season a licence costs €200 rather than €400.

The move proved highly unpopular among animal rights and anti-hunting groups as well as to France's former Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot who resigned shortly after the move was announced.

Each year the hunting season in France is marked by fatal accidents which prompt calls for the pastime to be banned. Critics say hunters do not follow the strict regulations which results in accidents.

A local authority in one Alps town called a halt to the hunt this weekend accusing the hunting association of “serious dysfunctions”.

There have been over 350 deaths due to hunting accidents since 2001. This is an average of about 20 deaths per year, though this figure has started to decrease. Most of the victims are hunters, though there have been many tragic cases of innocent bystanders finding themselves in the line of fire.

The government has passed new laws in a bid to avoid tragic accidents which include forcing hunters to go on safety training courses every ten years.


Last year The Local reported how a British mountain biker was shot dead by a hunter in the Alps prompting his family and the local community to demand a change in the law.

But Marc Giraud from France's anti-hunting, pro-wildlife association ASPAS told The Local at the time that the hopes of bringing about change were slim in France, especially with the current government which he considers pro-hunting.

“The hunting lobby is in charge in France and the government offers us no protection so deaths like this will continue to occur,” said Giraud.

Farmers and enthusiasts argue that hunting it is an important social pursuit that helps boost rural areas as well as controlling the population of animals such as wild boar or deer. 



Member comments

  1. I’ve no doubt that some wild animals need to be culled since we humans have removed their natural predators and I suppose shooting by trained professionals is probably the best (least cruel) way of doing it but it’s a primitive and savage society that regards it as a social pursuit. I can not understand how a person in this day and age can take pleasure in causing pain and suffering on another sentient animal. I can only imagine they are in some way limited in their thoughts on their barbaric pleasures.
    As for being a part of the cultural fabric of France, genital mutilation is a cultural part of some countries but that doesn’t make it right or beyond criticism

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What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer


But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.