Chasse aux sangliers

Cute, aren’t they? Not so much when they take over your home, farm field or vacation spot.

Wild boars have become the bane of many regions and towns in France. Not only do they present a risk of road accidents but encroaching urbanization means they are now a common sight around people’s homes. And they are proliferating like never before.

Canada’s cities have their raccoons and, increasingly, bears. Australia has its marsupials. Skunks, possums, foxes…increasingly it seems that wild animals are finding their way into our cities and towns. Or is it that our towns are expanding into their habitats?

One man in France recently returned home to find his house occupied by a terrified sanglier and the hunters who had followed him into the hall to track him down. The homeowner got them to leave and called the police. The gendarmes came and were able to get the animal outside with tasers, where it was let go.

Hunters are not allowed to pursue their prey any closer than 150 metres from a home or residential area, at least in theory. But there are those who demand measures to stop the scourge of the sanglier in France.

Crops are devastated when troops of wild boars take over the fields. They are especially attracted to the increasingly prevalent corn fields, grown for animal feed and bio-fuel. They rip up the grass in public gardens and golf courses in search of insects. And they even visit beaches looking for naïve tourists to share their picnics.

This video news report (in French) profiles an invasion of wild boars in Germany a couple of years ago, but it depicts an all-too-common scene in France today.

Every year thousands of these animals are hunted, trapped and otherwise chased away from human habitations. It seems unfair. Weren’t they there first? Shouldn’t they have the right to root about in the wild, nest in the bush, live their lives?

The problem is that human activities are not compatible with wildlife. We like to encourage migrating birds, but wild boars are something else. They bring a risk of swine fever for one thing. And they are outright dangerous to people. Sangliers are known to charge fences, knock down doors, pedestrians and cyclists. They have a powerful head butt that can do a lot of damage.

And if you run into one on the road at night, it’s not sure who will sustain the worst damage.

Hunting season is open in France and soon there will be ‘chasse’ on the menu of local restaurants. I’m no fan of guns or game but at least it will help reduce the nuisance population of wild boars and not go to waste.

Do you have to deal with any animal pests?


  1. phildange · October 10, 2019

    I’ve lived in a lonely house in the wide forest for 36 years until last year . The last 3 years my huge glade started being devastated by boars . Like everyday . I needed to mow the place with a tractor mower but those big holes and bumps prevented the machine to be used without damages so I started levelling the huge glade . It took me between one and three hours each day . After 3 years I decided to move .
    The hunters association could not be efficient, I tried many crazy things ( even tried to find landmines !) so I eventually moved away because I liked the view around the house, I liked it very much but this Verdun battlefield I saw every morning was not bearable .

    Human activity is for sure the cause of this invasion, downsizing the forests for one part, but you know insects are disappearing very very fast, because of our dumb run for productivity and easy quick money, and when insects disappear the animals who ate them disappear too and it’s an endless chain reaction . Nature balance has been broken, we heard about that but now it’s accelerating and the effects become more and more visible .
    During 20 years my glade was the home of dragonflies and salamanders, I stopped seeing salamanders 15 years ago and dragonflies 10 years ago . It was very sad but not a disturbance yet, but I thought this would trigger serious problems later, and now it’s coming even in our civilised Europe, long after poorer continents have been devastated by our Earthlings’ stupidity, famous in at least seven galaxies .

    • MELewis · October 10, 2019

      This is so sad. No matter how much you read about the impact of our activities on nature, to hear real stories of what it means to animals and wildlife in real life is something else. I am sorry you had to give up your home, Phil. But i understand that seeing that devastation each day must have worn you down. I only hope that unlike the wild boars you have found sanctuary somewhere nice. 😊

  2. pedmar10 · October 10, 2019

    We take more land each time, I had alligator walking in my garden in Florida! now wild boars or sangliers have license permit to hunt them in season or when cities call hunters to reduce their population. In smaller towns it is a problem indeed.If you killed them animan rights activists will come after you too lol!!! I have seen in on the road to work but so far no problems in town. There is a town in the Sarthe I believe that call a pro hunter to kill pigeons, they have 3000 on a town of 12K!!! The animals might take over us lol!

    • MELewis · October 10, 2019

      The animals would surely manage our planet better than humans! It is sad to see these refugees of climate change and urban sprawl. So far I’ve seen no sangliers around here but I do here the shots when they have a ‘battue’. 😢

      • pedmar10 · October 10, 2019

        Do not know from I saw in Planet of the Apes!

      • MELewis · October 10, 2019


  3. Joanne Sisco · October 10, 2019

    This is a disturbing story that I’ve heard nothing about until now. Phil’s experience noted above is both shocking and very sad. The devastation we are causing is huge and this is just one more symptom 😕

    • MELewis · October 10, 2019

      Yes, indeed Joanne, and the reality of climate change really hits home when I read Phil’s experience. We become almost immune to all the reports of refugees lost at sea but somehow when wild life shows signs of being affected we are struck by the tragedy. Ironic perhaps…and sad.

      • Joanne Sisco · October 10, 2019

        It is sad. For the most part, we are still stuck in our headspace that terrible things happen to other people – not us 😕

  4. frenchimmersion · October 10, 2019

    That said I got shot at by a hunter only last week who fired across a river in Normandy where I happened to be taking a group of Americans canoing. The bullet hit a upturned paddle. It was a bit of a shock and totally illegal of course to fire at game that you can’t go and collect- let alone in the direction of humans!

    • MELewis · October 10, 2019

      OMG, how terrifying! Do you think it might have been a stray bullet rather than intentional? 😱

  5. Garfield Hug · October 10, 2019

    In our lil red dot city state, wild boars came out to roads and parks as forests get cleared. They gored joggers and people visiting the park. Animal control had to be called in to put them away. But I am surprised the boars are also in Paris.

    • MELewis · October 10, 2019

      Wow, I am amazed that they exist in lil red dot! I can see they would wreak havoc in your city-state. Not sure if they are in Paris proper (yet) but definitely on the outskirts!

  6. 355101pkl · October 10, 2019

    we use the words “our”and “your” but is that really so? Is the bigger picture not the just life of man but the life of Earth

  7. 355101pkl · October 10, 2019

    sorry it should read “We use the words “our”and “your” but is that really so? Is the bigger picture not just the life of man but the life of Earth”

    • MELewis · October 12, 2019

      I could not agree with you more. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ when it comes to life in general. But our whole society is constructed around the superior rights of humans — and especially, certain humans — over animals and nature and the planet in general. Most people refuse to see humanity in a holistic way, never mind the rest of life on earth.

  8. awtytravels · October 11, 2019

    Yeah, the wild boars are a scourge in Italy too. Hunters have licence to kill them, and many do, to keep numbers in checks but… next thing you know deer numbers are also up. We ought to re-think the whole system, and need to reintroduce their natural predators (wolves and so on).

    • MELewis · October 12, 2019

      Rethink the whole system and not just tinker with bits of it — yes! 👍🏻 I fear that others will not agree, though…and the mere mention of wolves will have our ‘paysans’ in the streets! It seems that we are on the verge of a huge change on so many levels, and the scourge of wildlife like the boars is just a symptom.

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