Wild boar v. Peugeot 306. Double knockout.

In a nutshell, if you value your life and are attached to your car not only via the safety belt, don't pick an argument with a wild boar - even a smallish one of some 75 kilos. Although the boar is unlikely to feel too fit after the encounter, the odds are that neither you nor your much-loved motor will be in the best of shape after the collision, with or without belting up.

I wasn't driving my eleven year old Peugeot 306 at the time. A friend had borrowed it, and was cruising along a nearby main road in the small hours, when a whole troop of 'sangliers' emerged from the gloom and dashed across right in front of him. No time so much as to even touch the brakes - bang, air bag deployed and literally exploded in his face, the car slid off the road, and to add insult to injury, its rear end came off worse in a collision with a concrete post.

The second time in less than a year that a friend has destroyed a motor of mine - before it was my cherished 205, ancient but low mileage, and in impeccable nick. A write-off, with only third party insurance, and no one else involved.

On the plus side there were no serious (human) injuries in either instance. Despite a couple of years in 'non-violent' Thailand, for an instant or two I did contemplate inflicting a few injuries of my own, but decided on a positive approach. If it's a write-off, that'll be one less insurance premium to cough up every year. C'est la vie, mai pen rai, that's life.

Wild boar are a major hazard on French roads. Their numbers are increasing rapidly, despite the efforts of hordes of French hunters. Several reasons why this is so - some boar were crossbred with domesticated pigs a few years back in France, and cochonglier litters are bigger than those of pure bred wild boar. More examples of man messing with nature - corn is one of the boar's favourite delicacies, and production of this cereal is expanding. Mild winters, increasing acreage of wooded areas, the power and influence of the hunting lobby... all have contributed to an explosion in the boar demographic. Their numbers have grown tenfold in the last thirty years.

Even Obelix and his valiant tribe of Gaules would have trouble making major inroads into their numbers. There are an estimated million boar in the wild in France, despite hunters accounting for half that number in annual kills. And despite an estimated ten thousand plus being involved in road accidents each year, around the country.

Should you be unfortunate enough to bump into one of these beasts in your motorised travels, and be tempted to take it home for a few weeks' supply of boar stew - don't. This is banned under French law - roadkill of any form must be left on the side of the highway, and the police informed. Penalties are extremely severe. Why? Because hunting with illegal weapons is strictly prohibited. Clearly a car can be used as a weapon, and should you sneakily stuff your freezer with your ill-gotten gains, in the eyes of the gendarmes this is undeniable evidence of intent to deceive and therefore of your nefarious poaching habits, courtesy of your car.

Any resemblance to wild boar living or dead is purely coincidental

A boar killed in a collision on the public highway belongs to the state, in the same way as a ship wrecked along the French coastline. Attempting to argue that putting a 4,000 euro series of dents in your car and destroying the engine is a rather expensive way of knocking off a boar for your supper will be in vain. In French law, it's a case of guilty until proven innocent.

Our apologies to the boar.

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Mr. Nighttime said...

Up in this end of the world, it's not boar but deer that are the greatest threat to your personal vehicle, and indeed your life. I have been fortunate and have never struck one, but have come close on occasion. The deer population in most of NY State has been out of control for some time, and as a consequence, hunting season has seen an increase in the number of permits issued.

Also, there is invariably the occasional case of a driver being killed by a deer strike, usually from a buck. A few years ago, a driver was impaled into his seat by a 10-point buck whose head crashed through the windshield.

I think I'd rather take my chances with the boar.

Speaking of roadkill, a rather interesting incident occurred a few months ago in Buffalo, NY about an hour west of here. It seems that a local Chinese restaurant was caught hoof-footed rendering a deer in its kitchen. The deer was a roadkill that was picked up by one of the cooks, brought back to the restaurant, and then was starting to be dismembered when the local constabulary was alerted to this.

Unfortunately, this is rather frowned upon, and the state health dept. closed the restaurant. The owners claimed that it was not going to be served to the customers, but was being carved up for personal use. Nonetheless, they were fined heavy duty, and have since reopened, but there is no word on whether or not this incident has caused a drop-off in business.

Kung Pao Bambi anyone? ;-)

BangkokDan said...

Was the sanglier at least delicious?

Lucky your friend didn't hit a bear.

Over here you could crash into an elephant.

Consider yourself very lucky!

The FrogBlogger said...

Allegedly boar is very delicious. In this case I wouldn't know of course, being a law-abiding citizen who wouldn't dream of contravening the regulations to carve up said beast for my freezer.

The fact that the animal concerned was no longer on the roadside shortly after the accident is no doubt down to it being purloined by a vigilant local peasant with less scruples than myself.

'onest, guv.

The FrogBlogger said...

Mr. N, deer are a 'problem' (for road-goers) in France too - their numbers are growing.

Kung Pao Bambi? Sounds good to me!

Susan said...

Statistically, you are much more likely to hit a deer in Oct-Nov than any other month. They are a problem because their numbers (Roe, anyway) are increasing, but they are being fenced out of so many places that the roads are often the only place left for them.

In Australia, hitting a kangaroo is so common you do not even affect your next insurance premium after you make a claim. With roos, the advice is not to brake, so they bounce of the side or front of the car. If you brake, they come through the windscreen, and probably kill you. Feral pigs are a problem too – they are like hitting a pile of bricks, it's astonishing the damage they can do.

In the UK, it is widely believed that if you hit a game animal, it is poaching to take the animal home and eat it, but your mate in the car behind can apparently legally pick up the beast and take it home to cook. I've bothered to check if this is just 'rural myth' though.

Martyn said...

For a split second I thought you had dug up a more youthful photo of Mad Mick. What a mess(the car not Mick). Wild boar, deer, elephants, bears, kangaroo and feral pigs. Any of your readers who were planning a Safari Park family holiday, may now consider Pattaya and its wide array of "ladies" with funny walks to be a more family safe location.
If you happen to find another of those heads in your freezer could you get someone to knock me up a pair of slippers.....got an idea for Christmas.
Your link to the Thai Pirate is not working.

The FrogBlogger said...

Nice idea, but Thai feet are a little small. Still the tusks might come in handy for future confrontations between your Wonderful Wi and MIL...

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