We set out for a brisk walk on Christmas morning since a) it was sunny and bright, and b) the likelihood of me being able to round everyone up for exercise after dinner was extremely low. So we set off on one of our usual strolls through the woods into neighbouring Indre, down by the old mill and up along green lanes back to Les Fragnes.

We were close to home and Benj and Caits had gone on ahead with the key since Rors was getting a bit whiney and starting to dawdle and they were getting impatient. Caits wanted to get back to her Kindle and Benj needed to be back in touch with his petite amie (girlfriend). Suddenly Caiti reappeared round a hurriedcorner, saying there was a dead deer that seemed to be caught on the fence. We  to investigate. Sadly it looked like she was right. But then, as Nessie the dog came up for a sniff, the deer gave a cry and moved, and we saw that it was caught in a snare and struggling to breathe.

Well, we couldn’t leave it there. Chris tried to free its neck, but the chevreuil became very lively and noisy at this point. So Benj held the animal as still as he could while Chris battled with the metal loop. He finally got it off. The chevreuil collapsed in a heap. It must have been caught there for a long while, possibly more than a day, since it was totally exhausted. Even with five people and a dog so close to it, it couldn’t move any more.

We watched anxiously for a moment, worrying that we’d been too late in our rescue attempt, but after a few minutes the deer wobbled to its feet and lurched drunkenly off into the undergrowth.

We examined the snare. It was attached to the barbed wire fencing at the side of the lane.

Some research when we got home revealed that it was a stop snare (collet muni d’un arrêtoir) and, incredibly, these things are legal. Well, all I can say is that whoever passed the law legalising them has never seen an animal trapped in one. It was horrific. OK, so we deprived someone of their dinner but who cares. There’s no need in this day and age to use barbaric, medieval methods of trapping a living creature. What’s more, chevreuil aren’t even on the list of nuisance animals that can be trapped (per L’arrêté du 30 septembre 1988, complété par l’arrêté du 6 novembre 2006). Also, the law says that tous les pièges doivent être visités tous les matins (article 13 de l’arrêté du 29 janvier 2007) – a snare must be checked every morning. It was nearly midday when we found our deer, and as I say, there was every indication it had been there a long time. A snare is totally indiscriminate in what it catches. It could be your cat or dog that strays and ends up in one.

I’m also pretty sure the snares (there was another close by) shouldn’t have been put alongside a public path. My understanding regarding traps of any kind is that you can only put them on your own land. Snares have to be declared at the mairie, so I may just call by and check up that these ones are registered.

I’m not anti-hunting and I’m not soppy about animals, but snares are going too far.

Anyway, our wrongly trapped deer lived to enjoy Christmas day. As did we – too much dinner and too much telly, perfect. Caiti and I set off for a bike ride in the afternoon to go and take photos of eolienne 3 from as close by as we could, but Caits got a puncture and I realised I wasn’t up to a big ride when I started wheezing. We’ve all had rotten coughs which are still bugging us. So we turned round and went home and consoled ourselves with chocolate! Well, it’s Christmas.