In one of the last great nature reserves in France, hunting unfurls its whole potential. The Pyrenees and their game are definitely worth a trip.
The French hunting season ends on the last day of February. This prompted us to travel to the Bareilles mountain range – a sublime but challenging area that provides an idyllic setting for Leica’s new rangefinder binoculars, the Geovid 32 Pro.
Early in the morning we arrive in Arreau – a small village where the Aure flows into the Louron. Until the 19th century, these two mountain rivers powered numerous grain mills and sawmills. Today, they are appreciated by fly fishermen from around the world. Although the snow cover in the valley has already melted, spring is still a long way off. The weather forecast was right: A dense wall of fog surrounds us as we tread a forest path still covered in snow. We dive into the silence of the mountains, only briefly interrupted by the voices of two large ravens. After a two-hour climb, we reach the treeline. In front of us, vast expanses of grass stretch as far as the eye can see. A sight that unfolds all its beauty in the sunlight and reveals a landscape with snowy peaks. A young stag comes straight towards us. His breathing is heavy after the strenuous ascent. Within a few seconds, we know his exact distance and the shot correction. The hunting rifle is ready to release its copper bullet. The body of the animal presents itself to us from the side. The stag strides step by step through the snow. We check the distance. He is more than 200 meters away from us. The slope is dizzyingly steep. With the shot, the stag goes down. Thanks to the unique GPS tracking solution, we find him immediately: our first piece of game of the Pyrenees.
The next morning, we start very early. A few stars still twinkle in the sky as we set out to hunt roe deer. It is still quite dark, but the Geovid 32 Pro reveals all of the forest’s secrets to us. A wild boar yonder, a fox here, a hazel grouse there. A whole bestiary that delights the hunter’s eye. As the day dawns, we have settled comfortably at the foot of a larch. Suddenly a doe appears among the old trees that somehow manage to cling to the mountain and offer cover to a fawn. The uncertain situation does not allow a shot. This time, the barrel is silent. We are warmed by the first sunlight, which also creates thermals for the numerous vultures living here. As the rulers of the skies glide peacefully towards Pic du Midi de Bigorre, we savor the pure air entering our lungs. Life is good!