[VIDEO] Sarthe: Go on safari in an all-terrain truck and live with deer just meters away

La Ferme de la Haie offers deer safaris aboard an all-terrain truck: a unique creation in Sarthe and rare in France (©Echo Sarthois – Carine Robinault)

They were a bit of a pioneer. But above all, they were taken “a little for the enlightened”, smiles Dominique Vadé, behind her glasses. They and their wife Sophie have been running Ferme de la Haie for 35 years.

A deer farm, “Les cerfs du Perche”, based in Villaines-la-Gonais, on a plot of about fifty hectares around the family home. and unique in Sarthe.

There, behind the house, majestic animals are already behind the gates. Among them, Canela, “the only one domesticated, because we had to raise it with a bottle”.

“A Deer Enthusiast”

Beside her, other deer, roe deer and roe deer feed in the buckets placed on the ground by the owner of the place, who defends “clean agriculture”.

Also, Dominique likes to say: “We keep part of the Perche hills with our animals. Deer don’t graze too much. The fauna and flora are therefore preserved. We have a very rich Biotop here”.

250 animals in total. Owned by a man who defines himself as “deer lover”.

If you raise your herd to sell “meat very rich in protein”, and other products processed on the spot such as rillettes and other terrines or stir-fries, after a highly regulated slaughter – for which they are approved – which is also carried out on the farm, with his wife, they quickly turned to agritourism.

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Today, it represents 70% of the company’s revenue.

We created it all! And planted all the species that exist in the place. We conserve kilometers of hedges, which we maintain. We cut, but we don’t tear.

Dominique VadeOwner of the Villaines-la-Gonais deer farm

Tourists can stroll through a wooded and very natural park from April to October. And each season has its own theme. “There, we have hundreds of bambis! »

That is, the fawns, the darlings of a very familiar audience, and visible through safaris organized every Saturday, departing at 3 pm. The discovery of the creation is made first on the ground, with Sophie for an explanation about the life of the deer, their antlers or their slab.

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Then, visitors board an all-terrain truck to admire the animals in the wild in the park. “At least a part. Depending on the weather, you can see about a hundred animals. »

From deer and deer to velvet antlers

But the owner admits: “But you can also only see a few because here it’s not a zoo or a reserve, there’s a lot of space. And so, the animals live between phases of activity, grazing, games for the young, but they also sleep…”

12:30 - ES - Carine - Beillé: mayor and councilors angry with relay antennas FB AM ALM LN CLF PC ES ACTU AR Tw AM ALM LN CLF PC ES ACTU AR Sophie and Dominique Vadé have a herd of 250 deer.
Sophie and Dominique Vadé have a herd of 250 deer.
(©Echo Sarthois – Carine Robinault)

In addition to the young, the current season allows you to see majestic deer, with velvety antlers. They live “in a 5-star property”, according to their manager.

Deer’s Slab during September

“They are in your field. It’s us, and my neighbors, who are locked in around them,” he laughs.

Safaris take place aboard an off-road truck.
Safaris take place aboard an off-road truck. (©Screenshot The deer of Perche)

This summer, safaris will therefore take place every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, by appointment, with departure scheduled for 3:00 pm (possibility of a second departure at 5:00 pm depending on registration). And it will take an hour and a half of on-site discovery.

And for those who are not available, another appointment, this time for the beginning of the school year… nights of listening to slabs of deer, with tasting, from mid-September to October.

Practice: Perche deer breeding, Ferme de la Haie, in Villaines-la-Gonais. Safari is closed by truck on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June to August, by reservation. Prices: €3.80 per adult and €2.80 per child. Slab audition and tasting night from mid-September to the end of October. Activities by reservation on 02 43 93 42 84 or 06 07 30 68 60. Information at www.cerfuperche.com or on Facebook.

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