Gers: why the protection of hunting dogs is so expensive

the essential
Like Claude Langla, who equips his griffins with Kevlar vests, hunters allocate a substantial budget to the protection and care of their dogs.

Nelson is a miracle. Three years ago, during a hunt, this Nivernais griffon was hit in the throat by a wild boar he was chasing. After having emptied a good part of his blood, he was able to be saved in extremis by the veterinarians. Since then, he has been wearing a Kevlar protective collar, ordered by his master Claude Langla from a specialized company. “He likes to attack from the front, so he is often exposed at the level of the neck”, specifies this 63-year-old retiree, living near Eauze.

Administrator of the Fédération des chasseurs du Gers and member of the Saint-Hubert Club Elusate (which claims 120 members and 3,500 hectares of hunting territory), Claude Langla has been hunting wild boar for twenty years. Without gun*, and always with the same breed of dogs. “Nivernais has a passion for wild boar. It is both docile for training and it is a dog that reacts very well in packs. He is not jealous of others. Moreover, it is made for brambles, it can go into thick brambles. »

“If I hadn’t had the vests last year, I would have lost at least one dog, maybe two”

This devotion, this resistance and this intrepid character did not however prevent him from showing himself to be vulnerable, like the misadventure experienced by the brave Nelson. Claude Langla knows this well, he who recently lost two dogs during hunts. “In my life as a hunter, I lost a lot more,” he says. To limit the risks, he therefore decided to invest without counting in the protection of his animals. First by equipping them a few years ago with GPS tracking collars, for the modest sum of 1300 euros (price for a remote control and five collars). A technology that allows him to quickly find his dogs in the event of injury or imminent danger (wild boar, road…). “Before, they were called to the horn in the night to find them. Today, you press a button and you have automatic guidance,” he observes.

Claude Langla shows the injuries to the limbs suffered by Nelson during recent boar beats.

Then by acquiring Kevlar vests. There too, it was necessary to put the hand in the pocket (250 euros per vest). An investment that is both substantial and binding these vests weigh heavy (between 800 and 900 grams) and cannot be worn by dogs in hot weather but justified in view of the protection they provide. “If I hadn’t had the vests last year, I would have lost at least one dog, maybe two. I had two dogs severely affected in the limbs, but not in the vital parts. »

“We do not prevent all risks, but we limit them”

Precious, the vest does not however eliminate the risk of mortal injury: the last dog of Claude Langla killed in a beat was thus equipped. “He had a trauma to the rib cage, without an open wound”, specifies the hunter, aware that with this protection, “we do not prevent all the risks but we limit them. “We also limit the huge expenses in veterinary care (1500 euros spent last year by Claude Langla).

To relieve hunters, the Federation precisely subsidizes protective vests (up to 125 euros per vest) and offers insurance for hunting dogs (via the brokerage company Terrassur). Hunting companies are also mobilizing to reduce expenses, like these nine companies located around Cazaubon, which have set up a special fund (4400 euros collected last year). The Saint-Hubert Club Elusate company organizes meals and dedicates the recipe to veterinary care. A necessity to allow hunters to continue their activity. “I know pack owners who stopped because it was too expensive for them,” concludes Claude Langla. For him, on the other hand, there is no question of throwing in the towel, whatever the cost. When we love, we don’t count.

In the majority of the Armagnac sector, the owners of packs do not have guns, the shots being carried out by posted hunters.

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