Are you a beater or a gun with a passion for driven shooting and ready for your summer hunting expeditions?
To take full advantage of the start of the hunting season in the midst of maize fields, we asked Alexandre, head of the Decathlon-Soisson hunting section, a passionate drive hunter, to tell us about these summer outings and the essential equipment required for them.
Having had the misfortune of discovering his hunting licence soaked after a rainy drive shooting, Alexandre now uses a waterproof pouch to keep his licence and insurance safe. "The hunting licence is the first thing I put in my bag the day before a hunt, it's an essential item. »
A few days, or even a few weeks, before the start of the hunting season, we advise you to check your gun, its mechanisms, cleaning, and the inside of the barrels etc. Also remember to check your gun's adjustments on fixed or moving targets. Also don't forget to bring spare batteries for the illuminated crosshairs.
To prepare your dogs for the opening of the hunting season, it is important to get them in good shape. Do not hesitate to have them run during the off-season so they remain in good physical condition.
Approximately 3 weeks prior to the opening of the hunting season, Alexandre recommends changing your dog's diet to a more energetic kibble and intensifying the work. To avoid any risk of diarrhoea, we suggest you make a smooth transition from the current kibble to the new one. On the other hand, at the end of the season, don't forget to switch back to a lower protein kibble.
Alexandre does not wait until the day before the hunt to check his electronic equipment. We advise you to do likewise. As a matter of habit, he stores his equipment in a dry place at the end of the season. He removes the batteries and leaves them fully charged. This enables him to have everything up and running again and to check that his equipment is working properly 15 days before the start of the hunting season.
Finally, in order to limit the effects of "heat stress" due to the weather and summer temperatures, we advise balancing your pack between wearing light clothing and carrying as much material as possible.
There is hardly any forest fruit in the woods during the summer. Big game, particularly wild boar, leave the forest and invades the cereal crops as soon as the grain appears. They will not hesitate, for example, to linger near a maize field in order to feed. They sleep in dense cover, staying close to waterholes in the evening.
At certain times of the year, it is all the more important to respect the wild boar's tranquillity, so as not to encourage it to invade agricultural crops more than it already does:
- 15 April, when maize is sown;
- mid-June, the period when the wheat is mature (the stage when wild boar love the grain);
- end of August to beginning of October, the maize fields are huge areas where the wild boar will find both peace and food in abundance.
If this is not respected, farmers incur significant damage to their crops while hunters are required to pay the bills for the damage and bear the wrath of the farmers.
Ideally, when taking animals in hot weather, the game should be dealt with quickly, especially at the beginning of the season when temperatures soar. Gutting should be done as quickly as possible. We advise you to take along a cooler, or a suitable container to keep the meat in the best condition.
Once prepared, we recommend leaving the meat in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days to allow it to settle before freezing it. Remember to bring your cutting tools along with you on the hunt, such as the Solognac game kit that is very useful in the event of success.