France/ Pheasant plan in 13 Breton communes bears fruit

Published on 17/04/2024 | La rédaction


It all began in 2015-2016, when 2,500 common pheasants were released in the Groupement d'intérêt cynégétique (GIG) de Montmuran (Ille-et-Vilaine), covering 13 communes and 13,500 ha. In February 2023, technician Nicolas Haigron will fit 29 hens and twelve roosters with beacons to help locate the birds.

We're entering the second year of the pheasant plan," explains Nicolas Haigron, technician with the Groupement d'intérêt cynégétique (GIG). In a few figures: the harnesses holding the beacons on the pheasants have held up perfectly. They were made by Xerius, a French company based in Toulouse.

Of the 30 pheasants fitted with tags, thirteen made it through the year, the others disappearing due to destruction by predators such as foxes, weasels and martens, or road accidents. "To date, we are tracking 29 hens and 12 roosters via our computer, six times a day. This has enabled us to build up a database of 37,000 location points over one year."

In partnership with Rennes I and Rennes II

All the data is analyzed by Jacques Baudry, retired and former researcher at INRA (Institut national de la recherche agronomique), and by ten students on the Sigat master's program (data processing), to gain a better understanding of the species' habits and habits. The project is part of the Eco contribution and is funded by the French Office for Biodiversity.

For example, as Hugo Pitois, a BTS apprentice in nature protection management, points out, "last Friday we were able to detect a first clutch (generally spread out from April to July) of April to July) of 22 eggs in Saint-Symphorien and in Langan, this morning, a pheasant hen equipped with a beacon on December1, 2023, had covered around 1 km in 24 hours at La Morinais in Langan. The same applies to our 41 beacons, which we monitor on a daily basis.

565 crowing cocks in 2023

The pheasant plan requires two field counts per year. A count is carried out by around three groups of 100 hunters each time over three consecutive days in August," points out Nicolas Haigron, " to count the number of chicks per hen. Last year, four and a half chicks per hen. A second count is carried out in April to determine the number of crowing cocks on our GIG. In 2023 we had 565 cockerels. Counts are underway for 2024: on April 15, 16 and 17 for our Montmuran area. We're hoping for better this year.

The department's hunting federation allocates a pheasant harvest quota based on the number of counts. Hunting is fully regulated.


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