Opening of the hunt. In the Bernaville sector, hunters believe that the plain is going badly

In the plains of Heuzecourt, Jean-Paul Michilsen prepares for the opening of the hunt. (©The Journal of Abbeville)

Partridge, a noble game, is once again in sharp decline. This has been a constant since the 1990s, despite a few (rare) good years: 2004, 2005 and 2011 are therefore exceptions. To fight against the rarefaction of the species on our lands, the Departmental Federation of Hunters has subsidized summer repopulations.

“Some societies will ban partridge shooting”

But the damage is done according to Jean-Paul Michilsen, President of the Bernavillois hunting interest group, which manages nearly 10,000 ha for around 500 hunters.

There will be few young partridges this year. Some companies will simply prohibit shooting. Others will organize releases.

John Paul MichilsenPresident of the Bernavillois interest group

The solution may come from restocking partridges, but not before breeders have found the strain that will be suitable for reproduction in the wild, like the pheasant. Either way, it looks like the plain isn’t doing well. “When the partridge is bad, the plain is bad too”, slice Jean-Paul Michilsen.

The causes are many

In the past, in certain territories, there were 200 partridges seen during spring counts. Today, it’s thirty and more… Hunters are wondering if the current situation will not be irreversible, as is the case in certain departments such as Champagne or Eure et Loire.

To this must be added the predation of certain pests such as the fox, the number of which is still clearly increasing. Certain means of combat and night shooting have been prohibited. Jean-Paul Michilsen also mentions the increase in certain raptors causing damage to partridge broods in the spring.

The president continues his observation: the less and less late disappearance of certain cover crops such as corn and beets, the late emergence of mustard fields with the drought… Cover for small game is becoming scarce. The arrival of the TV channel Season in 2005 to film the important companies of partridges in Bernavillois is only a memory.

Better for the hare and the pheasant

The hare population is on the other hand good, thanks to the work carried out by hunters over the past few years, as for the pheasant. This bird also suffers from predation, but it benefited from the good weather conditions during the birth of the broods. But the hunters always refrain from shooting the hens.

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Jean-Paul Michilsen announces a timid return of the rabbit after a few dark years thanks to a dry year conducive to the drop in the mosquito population which carries the disease. The rabbit will nevertheless be pulled in moderation this year to regulate it in order to avoid damage to crops.

Other good news, a slight increase in the number of hunters in the Somme with a rejuvenation. The reduction in the hunting license wanted by the Macron government, and accompanied hunting from the age of 15 with a gun for two seem to be bearing fruit.

The appointment is made on Sunday, September 18 to know the first opinions of the hunters. But we could be heading towards a marked reduction in hunting in the plains.

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Opening of the hunt. In the Bernaville sector, hunters believe that the plain is going badly