Where the wild boar are in France is pretty well everywhere, and over the past decade they've been increasing (although the recent very cold winters may have caused a dent in the numbers). These are genuine wild and indigenous animals, not feral pigs. They are incredibly secretive and discreet, so you hardly ever see them unless you are a hunter. I've only ever seen a small group of them once, at dusk in late winter, in the Foret de Preuilly.
and additional fine netting on the lower third,
buried to a depth of 30 cm.
They look like giant chairs, but the
hunters stand in them.
Boar are the most popular, but by no means the most formidable quarry that is hunted here. There is a much quoted French saying, the sense of which translates as 'a boar will send you home on a stretcher; a stag will send you home in a coffin'.
In most départements hunters must purchase tags which go on the leg of every boar killed. The tags cost 10€ if you are hunting in Indre for the 2012-13 season (1 September - 31 March) and are coloured grey. In Indre et Loire, where there is no organised plan to control the wild boar (presumably because they are less numerous and less of a nuisance in the Touraine) the tags cost €30. There is no mention of tags on the Féderation des chasseurs website for Loir et Cher, so I assume they don't use them in the Sologne. The tags may not be reused, exchanged or carried over to the next season, and there is a fine for not tagging and recording every kill. The tags are a way for the Féderations des Chasseurs (Hunters Association) to compensate farmers for the damage 'their' boar do. The hunters have a vested interest in maintaining a strong healthy population of boar, whereas the farmers (unless they are also hunters themselves) would probably like to see them eradicated altogether (or at best, corralled into enclosed nature reserves).
Over half a million wild boar are killed by hunters in France every year. Probably less than 1% of that number comes from the Loire Valley forests, an indication that overly commercial private hunting estates have not established themselves here, and that most hunting here is done along traditional lines. The national population of wild boar is probably over a million, and they are involved in over 20 000 car accidents a year. There are maybe 50 000 registered hunters in the central Loire area, but their numbers are falling and boar numbers are soaring.
I've never been lucky enough to get a photo of our local boar, but friends Colin and Elizabeth got these serendipitous shots earlier in the year.