Franck Bouysse’s current affairs chronicle: “The old gun”

I recently got my dad’s shotgun. For more than twenty years he had slept on a deck against the desk where he wrote his speeches as mayor and corrected his copies.
When I was little, on Sundays I would go out in the morning to take out a rabbit, a hare, or a woodpecker, which would often catch on to him and the smell of dogs. When I grew up, the day came when I was allowed to follow him. He taught me the names of the animals, how to identify them by their tracks, their songs, their cries. He also taught me to distinguish a beech from a carp, an acacia from a locust, to name everything accurately.The author Franck Bouysse is from Corrèze.
I loved those moments when it opened up to me in the middle of nature, as I struggled so hard to make it home, as the dogs let themselves be carried away in search of a deer falling from a bush. We called to them in vain and heard their voices fade. They came back to us exhausted, their tongues hanging out and their mouths drooling, ashamed of having been floured.

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I remember the traditional Sunday lunch on the farm, prepared by my grandmother. The family gathered around a stew or roast poultry, accompanied by vegetables from the orchard. We always ate from the same service consisting of dishes decorated with painted humorous scenes, with a legend: 10 hunters + 10 fishermen = 20 liars.

If there is nostalgia in my words, I totally assume it, the one that beautifies the memories and allows us to live the present more honestly, with this perspective more necessary than that of a gun.

Back then, we weren’t talking about big game overpopulation, we weren’t really hunting it, it was regulated, or almost.
Today, most hunters track down this large game, especially the wild boar, which is found to be responsible for crop damage. The question of causes is never raised, which would be tantamount to being questioned. They are no longer hunting, they are hunting. They communicate with each other by mobile phone, they follow the movement of the animals in 4X4. Dogs are equipped with GPS collars. The 12 calibers have been largely replaced by rifles carrying several hundred meters.

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I often see these great warriors, closing the edge in front of my house, dressed in orange chasubles, resembling building blocks. Others wait by the side of the road, sitting in a folding chair, waiting for a phone call to promise a shot, ready to ride their proud steed. And when the regular period ends, there are still some, so full of boredom and idleness, who are going to kill the plagues, mainly foxes, justifying their heroic action by the genocide of all the chickens in the region, complaining of the proliferation of mole rats and field mice, of which the goupil is the natural predator.

Are humans not responsible for all imbalances through their extreme practices? Past experiences should lead us to more reflection and above all to more humility.

Looking at this old rifle with the fingerprint-covered butt that only I see, I think of my father, this discreet hunter, wandering the field and watching the wild geese pass by. He went with them, through the fields, to the south, the Mediterranean, up there among the clouds.

Frank Bouysse

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