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» 04 Aug 2009

Hunting was a way of life for humans for ten's of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of years. Though frowned upon by the uninitiated, it is still important to many “primitive” peoples and, perhaps surprisingly, still has an important role to play in modern societies.

For hunting is not just about killing, nor is it a competition or a sport like football or tennis and it would certainly be incorrect to equate trophy hunting with philately or any other kind of collecting. Rather, hunting is something which is “in the blood”, as anyone listening to the passion of Lionel Berthault – a director and hunting guide at Le Chasseur Mauricien – will soon come to realise.

According to Lionel, a true hunter has respect for and an understanding of the animals they stalk and a keen interest in protecting the countryside. They embrace a moral and ethical approach to their activity in order to achieve their goal by the most humane means possible and carefully select what they kill, how they kill it and how many are killed.

For example, the chasseur has approximately four thousand Java deer and requires that one thousand are culled each year. This ensures that the rest have enough food to remain fit and healthy for, left to their own devices, overpopulation would result in animals that are frail and weak and which succumb easily to disease.

However, it is not simply a case of going out with a rifle and culling the first one thousand deer that you come across. Two thirds of those taken will be the oldest males and females in the herd and the others will be young. This ensures that the remaining animals can successfully breed over the coming year, which is all the time it takes to replace those killed in the hunt.

Not all hunting grounds are the same, small areas of a few hundred hectares are little more than farms or shooting galleries and as the animals have little room to run or hide the “hunter” requires little skill to kill them. At the other end of the scale, huge reserves – such as those in Africa – produce animals which rarely ever see human beings and so they lack the experience to run and hide when a hunter approaches. Such animals make easy targets and are unchallenging.

With three thousand hectares of land, Le Chasseur Mauricien falls nicely between the two extremes. It is large enough that the hunter must seek and stalk their quarry and offers the animals ample room to escape. Yet it is small enough that the prey, which on average are eight to twelve years old, are experienced and intimately familiar with their territory and the danger posed by hunters, and so will bolt at the merest sign of trouble.

Indeed, a Java deer can easily smell a person from a distance of two hundred meters when downwind of them. Lionel will never propose a shot in such a situation as the animal may recognise its danger at the last moment and, fleeing, be merely wounded rather than humanely killed.

Hunting has the potential to be very important to the tourism industry of Mauritius. With one and a half million hunters in France alone, if a mere one percent visited the island that would represent a large boost to the Mauritian economy. Problematically, the hunting season in Mauritius only lasts for four months, from June to September, and coincides with the Mauritian winter. French and other Europeans prefer to visit the island during its summer, but those who hunt from July to August benefit from
experiencing the full range of the Java deer's behaviour during its mating season, an opportunity that should not be missed.

Le Chasseur Mauricien provides a five star service to its customers and maintains a high degree of exclusivity by catering only to small hunting parties. Those wishing to take part must of course have their passport and firearms licence but Rifles of calibres 308 and 30.06 are provided. Mauritians can acquire a license in about six to twelve months.

Finally, a benefit of hunting which everyone can enjoy is the venison which is provided for sale to the country.  The meat is, of course, one hundred percent organic, very lean and free of pharmaceutical products which may plague farm reared animals. Venison is therefore the meat of choice on the island and just one more good reason why people should hunt!

Manick Lane,
Palma Road,

Telephone: 00 230 746 8370

Area: Central

Email Add: lechasseurmauricien@hotmail.com

web: www.lechasseurmauricien.com


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