France covers a land area of 543,940 square kilometres and is located in Western Europe; it shares land borders with nine different European countries and has a host of oversea’s territories. Apart from the Pyrenees in the south and the Alps in the east, the French landscape is mainly composed of relatively low-lying plains, plateaus and gently rolling hills, covered with sporadic forest and sprawling woodland. This ecosystem creates the perfect environment for the hunter’s quarry of Pheasant, Partridge and Duck.
In recent years shooting holidays in France have become popular amongst hunters from the Uk. Not just because of their excellent sport, but because they’re only a stones-throw from Blighty, offer easy travelling with your guns and lots to do for the travelling non-hunter.
The shooting in France is often described as world-class hunting for first-class species, and that doesn’t just include birds, as Chamois, Roebucks, Roe deer, Red deer and Wild Boar are all abundant. During the rutting season, you can venture out into the glorious agricultural landscape, where you have the opportunity to hunt trophy Roebucks with either a bow or a rifle.
The splendour of this beautiful estate in France is a sight for sore eyes. The stunning Chateau is home to Coen stork and his wife Catherine where their passion for hunting and hospitality is indescribable. You will enjoy only the most exquisite cuisine, accommodation and service which will accompany the sensational shooting.
The majority of the hunting and shooting in France would be classed as traditional rough shooting, hunting over the moorland for species like Pheasants, Woodcock and Partridge. A renowned destination for this would be the unique domain of Château du Val, situated in South Brittany, 45km from Rennes. Here you’ll find the ideal environment for a true rough shoot.
If you’re looking for something a little more varied, then the Chateau de Villette fits the bill. A charming yet exciting estate, set in the Regional Parc of Morvan, with over a thousand acres of land. Here you’d traditionally be shooting six or seven drives a day over lakes, ponds, woodlands, parkland and agricultural land. One factor that sets it apart from many others is that all their birds are wild, and you can shoot on Sundays. This little gem is somewhat of a find for all those avid game shooters yearning for more of a challenge.
You also, of course, have the Roebuck hunts, which often take place around the Pyrenean Mountains. Here the landscape is a little more rugged, with varied terrain and sloping hills. The Haute Garonne region is a popular spot and has a dense population of mature bucks, good trophies and well-organised hunting.
The hunting quarry in France is very varied depending on where you’re shooting. Wild and semi-wild Pheasants, Partridges and Ducks are all abundant, and you can often have a great days sport targeting these, with bags of 300+ birds not uncommon.
Larger quarry, such as Roebucks, Roe deers, Red deers and Wild Boars, are also available, along with the Chamois, a goat-antelope native to the mountains of Europe, including the Pyrenees and Alps.
The hunting season in France is managed at a regional level to complement the ecological needs of the area, and its animal and birdlife. The dates of the opening and closing of hunting seasons depend on the region and the animal species. While the season generally opens in September and runs until the end of February, the regional préfet decides the opening. Waterfowl shooting begins in August, while the shooting of many species such as Partridge and migratory birds can be limited to a shorter period. The selective shooting of male Roe Deer may be allowed from June to September, but a specific permit is needed.
On most wing shooting days in France, you’d traditionally walk between 4-6 kilometres per day, between drives, over relatively easy terrain. Often the only hardship is the carrying of your ammunition and your gun if you don’t have a loader. If you’d prefer a less laboured trip, vehicles are often available. If you’re shooting around the mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps, then expect the terrain to be a little more unforgiving.
If you’re considering booking a hunting trip to France, read our blog on the best shooting holidays in Europe.
Another reason why France is such a popular destination for travelling hunters is the massive range of additional activities available for the non-hunting companion. There’s always wine tasting, castle and cultural site visits for a relaxed day, and for the more active, there’s always plenty of sporting activities such as golf, cycling, hiking, swimming, and tennis. For children, there are many amusement arcades and animal parks to explore.
One of the great things about shooting holidays in France is the easy access from the UK. You can fly from the UK direct to a considerable number of French airports; it’s then just a case of transferring to your local accommodation.
If you travelling to France why not read our blog on, travelling with guns to France.