Rights of Way in France
- Easements & Servitudes
- Landlocked Property
- Right of Access for Property Maintenance
- Fishing Rights
- Shooting Rights
5. Shooting Rights in France
As a normal rule, no one can have shooting rights on a private property without the specific consent of the owner of the land.
Indeed, recent changes in law have increased the punishment against those who enter and shoot on private land without the authorisation of the owner. Such persons are liable to a year in prison and a fine of up to €15,000.
In order for this particular law to apply, the land must contain on it a residential property, with the land itself completely enclosed by a fence.
Nevertheless, the law permits local shooting clubs to organise themselves into an accredited communal association, (called ACCA - Association Communale de Chasse Agréée ), which then grants them shooting rights for successive periods of five years over all land within the designated commune. This right occurs under a law known as the Loi Verdeille.
Despite the often widespread impression that this occurs throughout France, and that you can expect chasseurs to go stomping through your potato patch, this is not so.
In the first place, the associations do not operate in all parts of France, so in around two-thirds of the country, this law is not operational. Accordingly, if you do not live in one of the departments where the Loi Verdeille applies*, but you are being bothered by chasseurs, simply put up notices on your property stating chasse interdite.
Secondly, land within a circumference of 150 metres around a residential property is excluded from any shooting rights unless specifically granted by the owner. Larger blocks of land in single ownership in excess of 20 hectares are also excluded, although this threshold is substantially higher in some departments.
An owner can also refuse access to an accredited shoot if they object to the sport on moral grounds. Their opposition must be notified to the préfecture at least six months before the expiry of the five-year licence period.
In the event of sale of the property, a new owner is entitled to maintain a shooting ban, but must do so within six months of taking ownership of the property. If they fail to act so within this time-scale, then the licence is considered to have been tacitly renewed.
If any of the land has a tenant farmer on it, then they cannot be denied shooting rights, although these rights to not extend to friends and family.
If you miss the deadline, then you must give notice at least six month prior to the expiry of the new 5 year licence, before the end of the shooting season. You would be best advised to take good advice as to the procedure and precise date for doing so.
The letter must be sent by recorded delivery. You should also include a copy of the land registry plans of your property and a copy of your title deeds. There may also be a form to complete, depending on your local departmental procedures. Copy in the letter and plans to the President of the local ACCA.
It would be advisable to speak to the mairie or préfecture about the precise procedure.
You might also want to make contact with ASPAS - Association pour la Protection des Animaux Sauvages, who would be able to provide useful advice.
The land should then later be clearly marked by suitable notices – chasse interdite.
*The Loi Verdeille applies in the following departments : 03, 05, 07, 09, 11, 15, 17, 23, 25, 26, 31, 33, 35, 38, 39, 40, 43, 54, 55, 56, 66, 70, 73, 74, 79, 82, 86, 87, 90.
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