Bear: how does a scare shot work?

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The terrible shootings of bears in six summer pastures in Ariège have been attacked by an association for the protection of animals. But how can they?

They have been at the center of the debate for weeks in Ariège. Scare shots targeting bears have been suspended at Ustou-col d’Escots. They are also threatened with a temporary ban on six other summer pastures in Couserans. These fears are attacked by an association for the protection of animals, called One Voice. The latter launched an interim suspension before the Administrative Court (TA) in Toulouse.

Monday, August 8, during the hearing before the court, Myriam Suard, in charge of pastoralism and bear mission of the Departmental Directorate of Territories (DDT) of Ariège, detailed the gradation of solutions available to breeders and shepherds to keep the bear away.

First, there is the question of simple fear. “In fact, the first shock is what the dog does when it knows the presence of the bear and the skins, explained Ms. Suard at the helm of the TA. It is classified as a protective measure. In general, this first action wakes up the shepherd who is in his hut. At that moment, he lights a light and makes noise or screams to scare the animal. It can also be a scary olfactory.”

Shots made by OFB agents

Sometimes these first two defenses are enough to ward off the threat of an attack. But it doesn’t always happen. According to the prefecture and the breeders interviewed, the presence of a shepherd and guard dogs is enough to justify a scare shot. A point where the association of the applicant One Voice, represented by Me Thouy, disagreed. “Why isn’t there a third way of protection everywhere, which is parks that are electrified at night to protect the herds?” The latter asked. “Because comfort does not always allow it, especially in the highest summer pastures. But efforts are made at this point”, answered the member of DDT.

There are, again, many degrees of strengthened fearful fire. “We almost always use double detonation cartridges. They are fired, in Ariège, by agents of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB). Breeders or herders who have a hunting license and who have undergone specific training can do them. But none of them asked to be trained. For hunters, the difficulty of access is a brake”, assures Ms. Suard.

“A bear attack is unpredictable”

Question from the judge in chambers: “But then, how do they plan?” Answer from Myriam Suard: “Depending on the cattle program for the next week, we receive requests from breeders. Then, depending on what happened before, the OFB chooses to prioritize this or that pasture in the ting -hot . Which is very difficult since by definition, a bear attack is unpredictable…”

According to the One Voice association, “we do not know the consequences of these shots on bears. Discuss the effects on women who are followed (with cubs) or pregnant (pregnant).” “We have not seen a separation of the boy-woman and the embryo does not settle in the woman’s uterus until the end of October or the beginning of November”, answered Myriam Suard.

Finally, the rubber shots to keep the animal away are reserved only for a specific case according to the technician: “If a person is in danger. must be immediately,” concluded Myriam Suard.

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