A few years ago on our first family visit to this area of France, we had some neighbors who told us all about wild boars, or sanglier. Michel et Lucette were our neighbors in a little hamlet Vendras. They had a stuffed wild boar hanging on their family room wall. Michel was a hunter. They not only hunted for wild boar, but they also introduced us to the art of escargot. They would get frustrated with our kids when they would see them collecting the snails, because Lucette et Michel would collect them and prepare them to eat. I still have not tried the escargot! Lucette would put them in a huge pot, similar to a pickle crockery, and she would soak them in a water substance to remove their slime. Then she would remove the snail from the shell and cook them according to their liking. It was so interesting to all of us. In our village of Sanilhac there are snails every where! Our kids love playing with them! We have seen all different sizes and colors. It fascinates all of us!
We, also, have wild boar all around our village. (We live in the country!) In September, our family was returning from Nîmes late at night and I was driving. As I was rounding a corner, a wild boar and two smaller boars were in view because of the headlights. As they were running away from the road, I quickly told everyone to look, but within seconds the car lights were shining in a different direction and the boars had run away. It was such a strange sight for me, to see wild brown pigs running in front of the car! I am used to an occasional deer, but never a wild boar!
About a week went by and I was out on a run on a larger trail, and I came upon a car parked near the trees with a large hunting sign displayed with a wild boar. This was a warning to any one in the area. I quickly ran a few more steps and decided to turn around and find a different path to run. As the weeks went by, the sounds of gunshots in the early morning and at dusk were becoming quite frequent. We knew exactly what was going on. As you drive along the countryside, you can see little white vans or trucks that dot the hillsides. These are the hunters. Occasionally you will see the bright orange article of clothing they wear and almost definitely you will hear their hunting dogs. This has become a familiar sight and sound. I am assuming the dogs are like trapping dogs. I do not know anything about hunting, except one wears camouflage and has a gun. When one hunts in Utah, I believe it is far from civilization for obvious reasons. Not here in France. Wherever there is a bit of forest, there are hunters. The surrounding hills in our area are filled with hunters. One does have to have a license to hunt in France. I have noticed that those who are cyclists, runners or walkers all wear something bright. Thankfully I brought a fluorescent yellow jersey with me, so I wear that on my runs now.
Last week I was on a run and I came upon a wild boar!!! That’s right! I was running along a frequented path and the boar came running out of the trees and brush, snorting. I immediately let out a short scream and the boar immediately stopped. We both stared at each other for 2 seconds, the boar quickly turned around and went the exact direction it came from and I quickly turned around and started running the direction I came from. My heart was beating so fast! I continued to look behind me to make sure nothing was following me. It freaked me out a little! Thankfully I only had a little way to go before my turn around point on my run! The boar was not very big, maybe 24 inches in length and 2 feet off the ground. After my heart settled, I thought how cool and different that experience just was. I thought, “I just encountered a wild boar!” LOL
Wild boar and hunting season is so commonplace here. I am finding myself thinking it is all normal too. For example, two days ago I was on a run and came upon a hunter with gun in hand and his three hunting dogs. We politely said hello to one another and we both went about our business. No big deal! Hopefully I won’t die from getting shot by a boar hunter, or a speeding car, or a flood, or from contaminated water…