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Hunting the King's Forest

Original Château and Later Building
Château de Montchevreuil is in ruins, but in it’s heyday in the 16th and 17th centuries, it must have been quite a place.

No matter how long a person hunts, there is always the opportunity for new experiences and to learn new things. Hunters have been wandering these woods in France for several hundred years, but it was the first time for us, and of course the hunting methods and equipment have changed a great deal through the centuries. This was an “estate hunt” for red stag, mouflon, fallow

Larry with gun and ducks
We shot a few mallard ducks. For this event, they loaned me a pair of Purdeys.

deer, roe deer and wild boar. The grandkids purchased the hunt at Safari Club, and I was along mostly because I’m Grandpa!
Today, the beautiful “estate” grounds around Château de Montchevreuil are used for weddings in the spring and summer and for hunting in the late summer, fall and winter. It’s located about an hour north of Paris, and not far east of the beaches our soldiers

Group with best Red Stag
Daughter Sara, with her two kids, Jay and Eliza. This was the biggest red stag that we saw.

landed on at Normandy, during WWII. The known developments on the “estate” date back to the 12th century. It’s only 880 acres, which isn’t large, if you’re hunting from a vehicle; but, on foot, it’s another story.
This property was owned by Madame de Maintenon, who became the 2nd wife of King Louis the 14th, in October of 1683. Louis was an avid hunter, and is

Brenda with fallow deer.
Brenda with an exceptional fallow deer, just coming out of the velvet.

said to have visited here, thus “the King’s Forest.” I can imagine many places where the King might have sat while the beaters pushed the game in his direction.
Our party was Brenda and I, daughter Sara and her two kids Eliza and Jay. This was certainly the most unusual hunting we had ever done. At first light, after a light breakfast, we walked out the door

Purdey Pair closeup with shells
This old pair of 12 bore Purdeys was made in the early 1920’s and are still going strong.

and into the forest, five of us behind our professional hunter, who carried the only gun. The forest is quite open, with walking/shooting lanes in various places. It was possible to sight animals at a couple hundred yards - before they saw us. First question: who was going to shoot; then the stalk began! We hunted in this fashion early morning and late afternoon – until

Wall around forest
There’s a stone wall encompassing most of the woods, built and maintained through the centuries.

dark.
One day, we drove to another estate, where we shot a roe deer and some ducks. Another day, after the morning hunt, we drove to Paris for lunch, and arrived back early enough to hunt that evening. What an interesting experience; spend time with wife, daughter and grandkids; hunt every day; eat and drink a bit more than normal. Learn some new things. First hunting trip to France!

Eiffel Tower
We spent a day in Paris, before the hunt, and had lunch there one day; one of the great attractions of Paris is the Eiffel Tower; built for the 1889 World’s Fair.