Youth at the service of ethics: Lucie will begin her fifth season as a red dog driver in the Allier

She now embodies the hunt for women, officially. Lucie Depalles, leatherworker in a company in Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, joined the board of directors of the Allier hunters’ federation during the last elections. She is the only woman alongside fourteen men. She is also the youngest elected.

At 28, Lucie Depalles is already experienced. As a child, she accompanied her father hunting small game. She passed the license at 16 and became a blood dog handler at 24. Over the past four seasons, she has made herself known to many hunters in the department by making herself very available.

During the 2021-22 season, Lucie carried out 63 of the 177 blood dog interventions in Allier, which has eight other volunteer drivers.

“Research takes a big place in my life and my greatest pride is to see my dog ​​find the animal I’m looking for. For ethics, the hunter must use an approved driver and this is increasingly the case, especially among younger generations, “says the young woman.


Don’t hurt
Bloodhound handlers intervene in two situations: to check whether a shot has injured an animal and, if so, to find it.
“I have fond memories of a face-to-face encounter six meters away with a wounded deer and of having been able to end its suffering. Hunters don’t want to let the animals suffer, contrary to what one might think. »

Their commitment as a driver is entirely voluntary, even if the hunters can make a gesture to thank them.

The president of the Allier hunters explains why hunting “is in the process of regenerating”
Lucie became a driver somewhat by chance, thanks to her first dog, Empereur, a smooth-haired fox who found an injured deer during a fight in 2016. “I thought there was something to do, I knew blood hounds existed. »

The departmental delegates of the National Union for the use of red dogs, Serge and Valérie Pommier, then took her under their wing: “The dog undergoes a year of training, at the rate of two or three sessions per month, before to pass the exam and be certified,” recalls Lucie Depalles who has since trained her second dog, a Bavarian red named Princess. [Archives 2015]

Six blood dog handlers can find an injured animal after the hunt, in the Allier

The work of the dog

The dog’s training and the test it must pass consist of following an artificial track of about one kilometer, with three right angles and two rested (that is, as if the animal had laid down) , all with only 20 centilitres of wild boar blood which was disseminated thanks to tracing soles or tampons. “Says Lucia.

“Knowing that neither the rain nor the frost can bother him to track the animal. And the search can be done the day after the injury, 24 hours and even 40 hours later, because the dog can work on a so-called cold path. »

Red dogs should also be taught not to be afraid of a close bang and not to approach too close to a wounded animal which may be aggressive. While he is looking for the injured animal, Lucie follows her dog using a 12-metre long lead, which requires good physical condition, because the trail passes more often through brambles than through forest paths! To become a certified blood dog handler, Lucie also followed a three-day theoretical course to learn to distinguish the reactions of animals according to the type of injury or the laws governing hunting and research.

Lucie Depalles has developed a strong ethic and makes a point of cooking all the meat that she and her husband hunt.

“The traditional terrine and Burgundy were not enough for me. I process everything, venison is very good meat. I make sausage, sausage, rillettes, I dry it Grison style… I estimate that 70% of our meat consumption comes from hunting. »

Stephanie Mena

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