International

France Leads Europe In Hunting, Newspaper Says

Hunters gather prior to a wild boar hunt in Pietrosella, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in August. i i

Hunters gather prior to a wild boar hunt in Pietrosella, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in August. Pascal Pochard Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Pascal Pochard Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images
Hunters gather prior to a wild boar hunt in Pietrosella, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in August.

Hunters gather prior to a wild boar hunt in Pietrosella, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in August.

Pascal Pochard Casabianca/AFP/Getty Images

French sports fans are known for their love of soccer. But according to Le Figaro, the country's "second sport" is hunting. The newspaper cites the National Federation of Hunters, which says that among all European countries, France has the most hunters.

The data are based on the number of registered practitioners of a sport. Soccer has more than 2 million, while hunting had 1.2 million license holders for the 2011-2012 season, Le Figaro reports.

As in much of the United States, the end of summer brings the arrival of hunting seasons for game in France, from birds to boars. The new hunting season is well under way in many French regions.

According to France's National Federation of Hunters, the sport's popularity also brings risks — there were 21 fatal hunting accidents in France during the one-year period that ended on May 31, 2013. That's out of a total of 179 mishaps.

We glanced at the comments on the Figaro story to see if any readers protested its claims — perhaps with an eye to defending rugby or auto racing. But many comments simply stated a belief that hunting isn't a sport, while others defended it.

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