tips for enjoying the show

The forest of Tronçais in the Allier welcomes more and more amateurs every year during the deer slab season. Here are some tips to be able to enjoy this moment, while respecting the animals.

The deer is an emblematic species of the forest of Tronçais, in the Allier. Each year, more and more amateurs come to these woods to listen to the slab of the animal. Julien Patzourenkoff, head of the territorial unit of the ONF (National Forestry Office) of Tronçais, explains: “ The deer slab period starts at the beginning of September and ends roughly at the beginning of October. This is the deer’s reproduction period: the deer bellows during its reproduction cycle. Deer bray rather in the evening, during the night and in the morning. During the day it is rather quiet. The periods conducive to listening are rather in the evening and very early in the morning. “. The slab of the animal thus takes place rather at sunset and at sunrise.

A privileged zone has been defined by the NFB in order to preserve the magic of this annual event. The objective is to limit the penetration of cars for the respect of the animal and the safety of all users of the forest. Julien Patzourenkoff points out: “ There are favorable places in the forest of Tronçais. The deer is present. It’s rather easy for knowledgeable people to listen to the deer. There is a privileged area in the Vitray sector, with a development that has been created. There is a Quiet Zone which is approximately 900 hectares, where motorized traffic is restricted and people can safely drive around to listen to the deer “. He insists : ” The ONF has set up this privileged area so that people who come are safely on the edge of forest roads. It is above all a zone of tranquility to allow the deer to be calm for its reproduction cycle. “.

The head of the territorial unit of the ONF of Tronçais gives some advice for observing the animals: ” We are in a natural environment, with a wild species. You have to be as discreet as possible. Do not stray from the forest paths, do not seek contact with animals. We ask not to come with your dogs, even on a leash, because the deer have a very good sense of smell. As the slab usually takes place at night, it is requested not to illuminate the animals. It is strictly forbidden “. It is also recommended not to deviate from the authorized forest paths. Julien Patzourenkoff indicates: “ When people arrive in the area where they want to observe the deer, it is important not to slam the doors. You have to be patient. Avoid clothes that make noise, such as K-Way or raincoats “.

He pursues : “ It is better not to seek contact with the deer, because in this period it can be aggressive. I haven’t been at the NFB for very long but I haven’t heard of any accidents. The goal is to be as discreet as possible. “. In order to enjoy the show, a layout has been created to listen to the slab in optimal conditions. This is the Vitray observatory: ” The observatory was set up in 2018. It can accommodate 12 people. If you go there early enough, it gives a visual on a beautiful square of slab. It is an area that has been created to listen to the deer in peace “. Julien Patzourenkoff concludes: “ The forests have suffered from three episodes of drought, in 2018, 2019 and 2020. You have to be careful because the trees are a little more fragile. This means that the movement of stands, on windy days, encourages you to be extra vigilant. Stands can be weakened “. The ONF calls for caution and vigilance so as not to take any risks in the Tronçais forest.

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