29 December 2011

New and unusual reading material

For the first time in many years, I have subscribed to a magazine. I mean a magazine that will be delivered once a month par la poste. I must have subscribed to a few glossy magazines in California in the years before we moved to France, but I can't remember what the last subscription might have been.

Okay, so now you know it's a print-and-paper magazine, not an e-mag, but I bet you'll never guess which one. Cuisine et Vins de France ? Non. Guess again. A newsmagazine like L'Express, Le Point, ou Le Nouvel Obs ? Non plus. Paris Match ? Mais non !

The January 2012 issue came yesterday.
And no, I don't intend to take up hunting.

I'll tell you. It's called Le Chasseur Français — “The French Hunter”. It's a magazine I've been leafing through for the past six or seven years chez Madame Barbier in the village while I wait to get my quarterly haircut. Madame Barbier — her real name — runs the hair salon down there. She has a stack of old magazines for customers to read while they wait, but most of them are examples of what is called « la presse people » in France — gossip rags. Le Chasseur Français has been in publication since 1885, making it one of France's oldest existing magazines. It's monthly circulation is about 400,000 issues.

Un héron attrape un poisson.

Le Chasseur Français doesn't run articles about les peoples — celebrities — but about les animaux. Game birds, boars, deer, hares, water fowl, and even insects get coverage. The articles give information about unwanted animal invaders, real and potential, including American bull frogs and gray squirrels, that might change the balance of nature in France, and about animals that are not considered as game to be hunted (herons, dogs, and so on). There's a video about the magazine here, on the TF1 television web site.

Un lièvre en train de déguster
de délicieuses feuilles de ronce

But Le Chasseur Français also has features on fishing and fish, gardening and plants, cooking and wine, and houses and furnishings. Over the years, I've read a lot of interesting articles in it at Madame Barbier's. And now, SuperU has offered a cut-rate subscription for it's faithful customers (the ones who have a carte de fidélité, including me) and I've decided to subscribe for a year. If the magazine had a full web site, I probably wouldn't have paid for an abonnement. By the way, Le Chasseur Français is well known for its extensive petites annonces matrimoniales.

Thrushes are on the wing.

Expect to see some blog posts based on the articles I read. I'm looking forward to reading articles about grives — thrushes — and sangliers — wild boars — in the January 2012 issue that I received yesterday. Along with one about barrages — dams — on French rivers, and another about the gigantic wild mushrooms people are finding this winter, thanks to the mild, wet weather that we're having.

All the pictures in this post are thanks to Le Chasseur Français magazine.


  1. It sounds a great mag. I love the pic of the hare. Re les grives I was interested and somewhat disturbed to see a poster at the boulangerie this year advertising thrush shooting at someones orchard. Good hunters are conservationists too, so I don't know what the motivation for hunting thrushes is. There doesn't seem much point now they are not eaten - or are they by some? Presumably your mag will tell us.

  2. There is no problem with Fieldfares as illustrated here, or Redwings either... both migrate here in the winter from Northern climes.

    There may be a perceived threat of damage to buds as the birds peck around after insects and larvae.

    In summer, as the fruit ripens, Mistle Thrushes and Blackbirds can cause damage to fruit... pecking larger ones and stealing smaller ones wholesale.

    If there is a threat of damage at all, it would be with the orchards that grow apples that have a late harvest [November/December] of certain types... I can imagine a flock of Redwings or Fieldfares causing great damage to those by pecking at them. Pauline and I saw a HUGE mixed flock last year, on the Vergers de la Garenne orchard on the Preuilly road just above Chaumassay [well over 500 birds] feeding on the unharvested fruit that had been left on the trees overwinter. Now they might have caused colateral damage to growing tips as a result of weight of numbers.

    If you want to get good close up pix of Redwing and Fieldfare yourself, Ken, hang up some old apples threaded on string, somewhere in the garden that you can see from your lounge.

    I recommend "Nat'Images" as well, good photography, hints and tip and informative articles on species... with [strange for a French magazine] Scientific Names!

  3. Susan, there a saying in French, "Faute de grives, on mange des merles" [if you don't have grives, you eat merles] or "If you don't have what you like, you have to like what you have,"

  4. Oh goody, I'm looking forward to more interesting and informational posts :))

    I must admit that I've never seen a hunting-based magazine here in the States, but my strong impression is that it would be filled with info on how best to gut things, trap things, shoot things, hide from animals you're going to shoot, and that sort of thing. Lots of orange and camouflage and "pretty" guns. Yuck. :)

  5. Do you know Pildiblog? This website by an Estonian photographer has the most beautiful nature and wildlife photos I've ever seen.

  6. Pâté de grives; delicious!
    I am looking forward to some very interesting articles from this magazine.

  7. I don't see anything in the Chasseur Français article on thrushes about eating them. But I think Nadège is onto something — pâté de grives.

    Thanks, Tim, and Carolyn, for the recommendations.

  8. This makes me think of a paté I was once served by hunters here in Provence... a "tête de grives" paté"...the heads and beaks were included in the rather chunky spread.

  9. Meredith, that certainly doesn't sound very good. Are you sure they knew what they were doing? Were the bones in there too?

  10. Tim: that was my point - the grives that are hunted are the ones that arrive in winter, so presumably don't consume anything the orchardist might want.
    chm: yes, I know that saying.
    Nadege: I gather from your comment that thrushes are indeed still eaten and relished. Interesting, thank you.

  11. For us folks in the UK the very idea that anyone could eat and enjoy a thrush is just repellent, why do the French (and a lot of other Europeans for that matter) have to kill such beautiful and scarce creatures, it's very sad. Can't someone educate them from an early age that it's wrong to do this?



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