On hunting


When I went to feed the ewes this morning, they were on high alert, motionless, all heads high, turned in one direction, tense, listening. And then I remembered: Oh the hunters are here! ….I put their feed in the trough inside their shed but they were worried, going in and out, and not able to settle in.

Same thing with the donkeys. It’s a time of uncertainty for them. Hunters are all around and there is shouting and barking and calling out. They’re so loud, one cannot ignore them

When you’re trapped in a field, where would you escape to if you needed to?

I heard a pheasant cock somewhere in Robert’s field below, calling out for a mate. Only when he moved could I spot him in the distance between the small soy plants. He was so elegant and graceful….

Thousands get released in the countryside at the eve of the hunting season just so that some people can have a bit of fun with a gun…. It is barbaric.

It seems there is a misunderstanding about the difference between managing a forest/ area such that local species have a chance to develop with the least stress possible, and killing animals for fun. Managing European forests is necessary when our forests are not big enough to sustain  herds of animals may it be wolves or deers. Therefore managing our forests has a place in the way we live right now.

In Yellowstone Natural Park, in the States, different story there: The Park is so large with its nearly 9000km2 that it does very well thank you very much without human intervention.

When hunting is about having a bit of fun killing wild animals, it is completely unacceptable.

Just like slavery was completely unacceptable and got abolished, hunting for fun should disappear too.

I had to clear the donkey’s field of poop so I lead them into another small paddock where there was some grass and I knew they’d be happily busy munching for a while.

Not having the donkeys around me meant that I could go straight down to the orchard with my wheelbarrow loads and through the open bottom gate. I was doing quite well for about an hour and 1/3 of the field cleared when Dini started to bleat. He has been in that paddock next to the donks and away from the ewes since April and every morning he is on the look-out for them in the bottom field, calling them when they come down after their feed. So I am used to hear his bleat, but this time there was something different about it somehow. The difference was subtle and I couldn’t figure out what it was about. And then I saw Bijou standing by the opening of that little field as so to tell me he wanted to get back into his field. I was surprised because I knew how much they enjoy the grass where they were given that their own field hasn’t got a blade of it left in it with the unusually hot summer we’ve had.

So I closed the bottom gate, put my tools away and called it a day. I went to let the donks back into their field and Bijou bolted forward passed me and I couldn’t stop him.

We have been training them lately very successfully , bless them, and on the command « back » they would step back such that we could enter their paddock or give them tit-bits safely.

But not today.

Bijou’s fly mask was hanging around his neck and usually he is very happy for me to put it back on for him but not right then. I kept my eyes on him and saw him going straight to Dini and standing next to him on the other side of the fence for a few minutes. It looked like he was re-assuring him that all was ok. I didn’t have any other explanation for his behaviour. They are good mates the two of them and they often stand like this together with the fence between them.

It’s a shame Dini is such a bully to Bichette such that they cannot live together in the same field. But I can’t have my girl being frightened and hurt by our ram. What usually happens after the daily Dini and Bijou’s re-unions is that they both get on with their day doing whatever they are doing, grazing away from each other.

It is heart-warming to think that they are looking after each other. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could do the same with all the other animals we share the planet with? Look out for each other, be aware when one is suffering and do what we can do to alleviate the suffering…..rather than get a gun and play?



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