Hunting: The Government's Security Plan In 5 Questions
In France, hunting is a subject that divides opinion. On January 9, 2023, the government presented a series of measures to better control the practice of this leisure activity and to limit the number of accidents. Whether you are a hunter or not, we suggest you better understand the government's safety plan in 5 questions.
1- Is hunting prohibited on certain days?
On January 9, 2023, Secretary of State for Ecology and Biodiversity Bérangère Couillard presented about 15 measures, mostly inspired by the Senate's information mission launched at the end of 2021 following a petition that called for a ban on hunting on Sundays and Wednesdays.
In the end, the government did not retain the idea of a day without hunting in its security plan and preferred, in the words of the Secretary of State for Ecology, 'enhanced security 7 days a week'.
This announcement was welcomed with relief by hunters in France who will be able to continue to practice their favorite hobby on Sundays.
2- Will the regulations governing hunting change?
The flagship measure of this plan to make hunting safer is the implementation of sanctions for alcohol and drug abuse.
This measure will be implemented in two stages. The government has in fact planned to create at the beginning of the year a fine for alcohol and drug abuse while hunting.
Subsequently, an offence punishing the act of hunting under the excessive influence of alcohol will be introduced by legislative means, through a bill by the rapporteur of the Senate mission Patrick Chaize (LR).
Penalties for serious accidents should also be reinforced, with the possibility of withdrawing the hunting license for a certain period of time, or even prohibiting the holder from taking it again.
3- How will hunter education be strengthened?
Another important point of this security plan concerns the training of hunters in basic safety rules.
The ten-year refresher course set up in 2019 will see its theoretical component completed by the practical handling of the weapon.
Thanks to this measure, 'one hunter out of two should be trained [in the practical handling of weapons] by 2025 and all hunters will have to be trained by 2029', according to government forecasts.
In addition, battle organizers will be required to receive specific training by hunting federations.
4- Will the security rules change?
For this plan to make hunting safer, the government also retained another proposal from the Senate to uniform safety rules throughout France.
Secretary of State for Ecology and Biodiversity Bérangère Couillard has already announced that 'the state will set a common framework throughout the territory [...] from the 2023-2024 season.'
In particular, it will be a question of generalizing the use of fluorescent vests, reminding the safety rules before each beat, respecting the 30-degree shooting angle and prohibiting non-filming shots.
On the other hand, the Senate's recommendation to align hunting with other sports practiced with a weapon such as sport shooting, ball-trap or biathlon skiing with the presentation of an annual certificate has not been retained by the government for hunters.
5- How will the safety of other users be ensured?
To enhance the safety of walkers and other nature users, the government has planned to develop a mobile app that is expected to be launched in the fall of 2023.
This application will be designed to better inform the general public, especially hikers and joggers or mountain bikers.
Concretely, this tool, whose creation was encouraged by the Senate mission, should allow each French person to identify the areas and times not hunted near his home.
A digital platform 'will centralize the information and will be in open data to facilitate exchanges with existing applications' already used by the public for the practice of outdoor sports.
To ensure the effectiveness of this device, the declaration of collective hunts will be mandatory, according to the ministry's statement.