Should shooting stags be allowed during the rut?

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La chance me sourit pour l’image ces jours-ci mais elle ne sourit pas aux cerfs porteurs de beaux bois. Non seulement les chasseurs ont droit à 3 jours de battue pendant le brame par semaine, mais aussi à des tirs sauvages ou à l’affût tous les jours.

Je suis montée sans trop croire aux possibilités d’images car un cerf et des biches étaient déjà sortis du bois à 16h00. Néanmoins je m’installe par terre à l’ombre dans une haie de grands arbres, planquée dans les fougères… qui ont bien gêné ma vision! 1h30 plus tard, j’ai la chance de voir apparaitre ces 3 biches immédiatement suivies par un 9 cors. Un cerf sort rarement en premier, ce sont toujours les biches qui mènent le bal.

Stags in the lower Pyrenees mountains

I am lucky so far with stag photography these days but it does not shine for the deers with great antlers. Not only hunters are allowed 3 days of driven hunt per week during the rut but also of wild shootings or from a hide every day.

The most beautiful and fit males for best reproduction results are killed and large numbers of does are left with insignificant males.

Money talks: a trophy reaches between 1500 to 2500 € according to its size and antlers number.

I climbed without really believing I would have a chance at photos since a stag and his does were already out of the woods at 4:00 pm. Nevertheless I sat down on the ground in the shade of a tall tree hedge, hidden by ferns. An hour and a half later, I was lucky to see 3 does appear straight in front of me followed by a proud 9 pointer.

A stag rarely comes out first, the does always lead the dance.

Un 9 cors ou Dix-cors jeunement –

A 9 pointer:


Photo de famille? Non, juste une trinité éphémère, le temps d’un clic!

Not a true “family photo”, just a chance pic!

J’ai espéré une saillie mais non, il ne fait que les flairer:

I was really hoping then for a mating scene but he only sniffed the does:

Voici les images que j’ai faites la veille très tard le soir du 8 cors à grande corpulence mais les conditions de prises de vues étaient mauvaises. Elles n’ont d’intérêt que pour savoir quels mâles sont présents sur ce territoire. Hélas les plus beaux étant systématiquement massacrés, on ne voit plus que des 8, 9 ou 10 cors maximum avec les hardes de biches.

Here are the photos I took of an 8 pointer after the vulture scene, late in the evening. They are only interesting for me to determine the males in this area. Unfortunately, the large males are systematically slaughtered and only 8 to 10 pointers can be seen accompanying the doe herds.

La première biche de gauche a un œil crevé, je vous laisse extrapoler sur le coupable…

The first doe on the left has a poked eye, one can only guess who the culprit might be…

Et voilà la bien mauvaise nouvelle à laquelle je faisais allusion au début de l’article.

Dans le même temps que j’ai fait les 4 photos ci-dessus, un gros 4X4 descend de la montagne et le conducteur ralentit me voyant faire ces clichés depuis ma voiture. Il a le culot de s’arrêter pour me dire: vous l’avez là, le cerf, en me montrant le champs de l’autre côté de la route. Je regarde vers l’arrière de son véhicule et je vois la tête d’un magnifique animal amarré.

Quand on voit la qualité et le diamètre des merrains, il aurait été un reproducteur formidable. Je n’ai eu que le temps de lui répondre: quelle horreur. Un grand 10 cors que j’ai tout juste le temps de photographier en me retournant; dommage d’avoir à maquiller la plaque…

Well, yes, here are the bad news I was hinted about at the beginning of the post.

As I was shooting the 4 pics here above, a large 4 WD comes down from the mountain; seeing me taking pictures from my car, the driver slows down and has the nerve to stop and say: you have the deer there, showing the field on the other side of the road. I look at his car and I see the head of a magnificent animal docked at the back.

According to the quality and the diameter of the antlers, it would have been a great breeder. I only had the time to answer: it’s horrible. A large 10 pointer I just have the time to photograph as turned to keep the hunter in sight; a pity I had to camouflage the plate…

Dans le rétro, le gros plein de soupe affiche un sourire imbécile très satisfait:

In side mirror, the stupid and satisfied smile of the moonface:

 

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Noushka Wildlife

Noushka

Passionate about Wildlife, Photography and Wildlife issues. I live in the south of France at the present, but have lived in Africa for 16 years, in the U.S. for 3 years. With my husband, I created and managed a BIRD PARK in South Africa, raising mainly psittacines; the breeding facility housed over 1000 parrots at any given time. I speak French and English alike and manage decently in Spanish. My photography is about sharing fauna's beauty with other enthusiasts!Equipment: ALL NIKON Cameras: D500, D750 Tele lenses: 300 mm, 500 mm, 800 mm f5/6E, Zoom lenses: 16/80 mm, 80/400 mm, 200/500 mm and: Macro 150 Sigma.* * * My work can be seen HERE:http://1000-pattes.blogspot.fr/* * * NOT ON FACEBOOK

Noushka Wildlife

Noushka Wildlife

Passionate about Wildlife, Photography and Wildlife issues. I live in the south of France at the present, but have lived in Africa for 16 years, in the U.S. for 3 years. With my husband, I created and managed a BIRD PARK in South Africa, raising mainly psittacines; the breeding facility housed over 1000 parrots at any given time. I speak French and English alike and manage decently in Spanish. My photography is about sharing fauna's beauty with other enthusiasts!Equipment: ALL NIKON Cameras: D500, D750 Tele lenses: 300 mm, 500 mm, 800 mm f5/6E, Zoom lenses: 16/80 mm, 80/400 mm, 200/500 mm and: Macro 150 Sigma.* * * My work can be seen HERE:http://1000-pattes.blogspot.fr/* * * NOT ON FACEBOOK

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george mira

Beautiful photo essay! Speaking of exposure: It, however, is past time that the falsehood of sport hunting as “conservation” be exposed. Altruism is doing something without personal gain. Here in North America, considerable numbers of humans, at least as far back as the American Society of Mammalogists in 1922, have lobbied for complete sanctuary of large animals. Certain members of many indigenous tribes have always avoided harm to specific animals, with only a very few avoiding harm to most. Around the Great Lakes area, the Ojibwe/Chippewa regard the native wolf as brother and fellow traveler through life, and press for… Read more »

Ken Billington

Noushka, once again you have excelled in capturing and presenting an outstanding collection of photos. The narrative is highly interesting and gives the impression of being right there in the hide watching the story unfold. The tragedy is that the hunting season in France and many other European countries starts in the second half of September. I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago. I was out on the Rhine Delta with my camera early in the morning when suddenly the sound of gunshot broke out. There were 4 hunters going around the delta in cars and taking… Read more »