On The Hunt

Bill Bonner, reckoning today from Poitou, France…

Yesterday, the hunters arrived in the morning. They gathered in a barn, out of the wind… well bundled up in rubber boots, hunting pants, warm coats and scarves.

There were about 30 of them when we got there. Some wore masks. Some had cigarettes dangling from their lips. A few, whom we knew, greeted us warmly.  Guillaume, the heavy equipment operator. Henri, our neighbor to the south, and his son, Emmanuel. Olivier, son of a local farmer. Aurelien… Patrick… Damien… Claude… 

We’ve been here for a quarter of a century, so even though we are foreigners… and not full time residents… we know quite a few people. And their stories…  

Paul Henri was crushed in a tree-felling accident. It ended his army career. Denis was one of three boys brought up on our farm. His two brothers died in their 40s, one from a heart attack… the other in a highway crash. Aurelien was brought up in an orphanage. Claude was Europe’s champion marksman. Jean Paul’s wife had a child… then died suddenly…

Everybody has a story.

Six for the Stag

The thing that is a bit odd about this hunt club is that it is headed by an 83-year-old woman who has never fired a gun in her life. She used to be a major landowner and now has the legal authority… and the legal responsibility for the club. She was there to make sure the rules were respected. After a brief address to the hunters from her, Patrice took over.

Patrice is a sturdy man who lives across the road from us. He is a cattle breeder with a good eye and an instinct for how to match the best cows to the best bulls.

“We are all friends,” began Patrice. “So remember, our most important goal is not to have an accident. So, listen carefully. We each need to respect our zone of fire.  Thirty degrees wide, directly in front of you. Even if you have a good shot… if it’s not in your safe zone, don’t take it.  

“You all know how this works. We’re going to take our positions on the side of the wood and let the dogs drive the animals out.   

“We’re only firing on deer, boar and foxes. There’s a beautiful stag in there. That’s our main goal. But we’ll signal as soon as we see the game. Two blasts on the horn for a fox. Three for a young deer. Four for a boar. And six for the stag. Remember… two, three, four… and six.

“Now, if we see a mother pig [boar] with young ones… we won’t fire. We’d rather had them suckling at their mother than rooting up our crops.  

“Now… you all know where you’re supposed to go. We each have a position already assigned. Let’s go.”

Best Laid Plans

The hunters returned to their cars and trucks. They put on their orange vests and then drove off to the fields where they were hunting… taking the pack of dogs with them in a special truck.  

Patrice turned to us with a smile.

“Everybody says he understands. But as soon as they get out into the field, they get lost. ‘Is this where I’m supposed to be?’ ‘Where is everybody else?’ It’s not easy organizing a hunt. But if nobody gets shot, I’ll consider it a success. “

Things don’t always go as planned.  

But this time they did. In a couple of hours, the hounds yelped… the horns sounded… the shots rang out…

“I was right there on the side of the wood,” one of our sons reported. “We were all silent and then it seemed like everything happened at once. The stag came out in the open… Patrick, who was standing next to me, gave 6 toots on his horn… and then a couple of guys fired. The first shots seemed to miss. But the next one must have hit him in the leg. He fell forward… tried to get up… and a couple more shots brought him down.

“It was sad, really… he was such a handsome animal.”

When we saw him, the stag was already laid out on concrete, ready to be butchered. The hunters stood around looking at him. None looked particularly triumphant. But they had each done their duty… and the job was done.

(Photo: The poor animal, laid out)

“If we don’t hunt them, pretty soon, there are too many… and they get hit by cars…and they eat our crops,” explained one of the hunters, almost apologetically.

The 12-point stag was dragged indoors and the butcher went to work.

(Photo: Cutting up the ‘cerf’)

Meanwhile, the hunters went into a ‘relais de chasse’ next door. It was warm, with a fire in a woodstove. There were long tables set up with benches on each side.   On the walls were hunt scenes, along with a wild boar head and two small deer, called ‘chevreuils.’  

We all sat down and were served glasses of the local alcohol – pineau – made from fresh grape juice and ‘eau de vie,’ distilled from either grapes or plums.  

“Thanks for letting us hunt on your land,” said one of the hunters, a man we’ve known for many years. “Would you like to keep the head with the antlers?”

“Yes, of course. We’ll hang it in our own relais de chasse.”

(Photo: After the ‘chasse’)

Our subject this week is the news that doesn’t get reported… and the questions that don’t get asked. In today’s news, for example, Tom Goldtooth, a climate activist and executive director of the North American Indigenous Environmental Network, told a group that “the simple solution” to the “climate crisis” is to “turn the valve off.”

But if the valve bringing fossil fuels to market were suddenly turned off, within 2 days the supermarket shelves would be barren. And within two months, millions – maybe billions – of people would be dead.

The press ought to be asking questions. How then will the ‘energy transition’ actually take place? What will take the place of fossil fuel? We know things go wrong from time to time; what are the odds of a horrible, disastrous mistake?

Our old friend, Harvard-trained geologist Byron King has some thoughts on the subject, below…

Via https://bonnerprivateresearch.substack.com/p/on-the-hunt