“I lived in the forest for seven years, alone with the deer.”

You lived alone, in nature, in the Bord forest (Eure), for seven years. Why leave everything at 19?

“I did all my education by correspondence, so as a child I had no friends, the only thing that attracted me was the forest. I read the books of Jane Goodall, Nicolas Vanier, Yann Arthus-Bertrand. But they went to the end of the world, my adventure was 3 km away! I didn’t leave on a whim. My dive took place gradually. For example, I first learned to recognize edible plants so that I could eat. The first few years, I made regular trips home and back, then gradually they drifted away, and finally, for a full year, I lived in complete autonomy in the forest. “

How did you organize yourself to survive?

“I had two backpacks, with a change of clothes inside, especially wool sweaters, and especially socks and hats, because having warm feet and head is essential; but also a stock of matches and candles to be able to light a fire in winter when it’s cold and wet, a knife, and that’s it. “

What did you eat?

“To eat I had to organize myself because there are seasons! In autumn, for example, I picked oak acorns, it is not the best, but it is edible. You just have to boil them to remove the tannins. I also found fruit, like apples that I kept in a small cave that served as a refrigerator. Around forty plants are also consumed throughout the year, such as nettle and St. John’s wort. Margaritas too, everyone walks on them, while they have a really good nutty flavor! “

Geoffroy Delorme, now 39 years old: “This adventure taught me a lot about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, my desires”. Photo Geoffroy Delorme

And for drink ?

“In fact, you can still not drink, because the dew that is deposited on the plants you eat hydrates enough. But if not, there are “witch cauldrons”, these trees are broken into several trunks and in the center of which a cavity is formed where the water stagnates, which of course must be filtered and boiled before drinking. You can even wash there. “

A matter of hygiene precisely, the forest is not very practical …

“Yes, but you know, for the teeth for example, since I no longer ate sugar, I ran a little water and ash or dirt with my index finger, and voila. As for the hair, it is better not to cut it too short, it keeps you warm! And on the shaving side, at that point I needed six months to get a hair, so there was no problem. “

The forest of Bord, where Geoffroy spent more than seven years living, sleeping and eating like deer. Photo Geoffroy Delorme

But in winter, was the cold bearable in this Bord forest?

“We are in a temperate region, the average was 8 to 10 ° C, although sometimes we had few frosts. So what is needed is to sleep during the day and not at night. But the most painful thing is the humidity, the wind, because then the cold becomes more penetrating. Later, my body got used to it little by little, my skin got stronger, at 15 ° I was hot! I had mild colds, which I treated with ground ivy or small pine buds, but in fact, it was more when I returned to civilization that I contracted gastros and flu, etc. “

“The most painful thing is the humidity, the wind”

Why didn’t you build yourself at least one cabin, if only to sleep there?

“Because to survive you have to move all the time. And then I wanted to follow my fellow deer and they are not sedentary, they do about 5 km per day. When it was very cold, I did microsies, never lying down, but in a ball, my head between my thighs with my arms protecting to form a cocoon of heat. It allowed me to recover 30 minutes, an hour, no more because later in this position we choke on our own saliva … When it was hotter, I could sleep three or four hours on a kind of large mattress with bunches of fir trees. . and dried ferns. “

As you immersed yourself, the deer became your real family …

“Yes. Basically, I went to recharge batteries in the wild. But by force, the deer were intrigued by my presence. He was the first Daguet that approached me, he amused me and I decided to follow him. In total, he had 43 friends. deer, all of which I named and recognized at first glance. Each one brought me different things: Daguet allowed me to introduce myself to the deer, Sipointe taught me to create a territory, Étoile, her, showed me the feminine side of the forest, breeder and protector . While Chévi taught me to communicate: thanks to him I understood that by changing my mood, I changed my smell. Stress, for example, gives off an acid smell, which helps to say, I’m afraid. “

You were lucky enough to witness a birth. Was it the strongest moment?

“Yes, I saw Étoile give birth to Chévi! I was so happy, I felt like it was my son. At first Chévi did not love me, she was very afraid, but later, there is a very strong friendship that was forged between us. There is also this very strong moment when I caress Daguet for the first time. He put his head on my knee and even fell asleep. It was magical. On the contrary, the hardest moment is the death of Étoile, killed in a heartbeat, I did not know how to protect her. It was terrible, he was so helpless. It was from then on that I tried to teach my friends to avoid hunters: showing them their trucks, for example, and making them smell the dead animals in them. “

“The forest industry destroys the biotope of wild animals”

Exactly what is your point of view on hunting?

“I don’t like hunting, but everyone has their own culture. I think it is a hobby that tends to disappear because young people seem to be less and less interested in it. But above all, I find that hunting is too associated with the regulation of species, while nature regulates itself, environments know how to adapt without human intervention! I am not judging a hunter who wants to eat wild boar, but does not hide behind false ecological pretexts! “

Why did you end this adventure after seven years?

“Because the forest has suffered intense industrial exploitation. At first it was bearable, it even allowed me to have more lumps, but then it got worse, and now every 150 meters there is a clear plot. Suddenly my food disappeared. I still had the quantity, but not the variety, necessary for my survival. Deer have the same problem! The forest industry destroys the biotope of wild animals. The deer are expelled from their territory and turned into ghettos. It was in the face of these difficulties that I began to question my adventure. “

Logging has destroyed much of the deer territory. And it takes Geoffroy to put an end to his adventure. Photo Geoffroy Delorme

It was also at this time that you met your partner… who was walking through the woods!

“Yes! I was with Daguet, and we were trying to cross a path very frequented by walkers, motocross, logging cars … Anyway, we couldn’t do it and then a person came with a dog. I was fed up, I went to see her and invented one for her. great story, I told him there was a wild boar in the area that could be dangerous. That works all the time! And it actually fit in well between us, and we’re still together today. “

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Where you live now?

“In Louviers (Eure), in the city, in an apartment, it took me a long time to get used to it, but I am taking advantage of my new life to tell the story of these deer and raise awareness among the general public: wild animals suffer from our activities. Human civilization has become the mortal enemy of the wild world, we must regain consciousness!

> “El Corzo”, Geoffroy Delorme (Ed. Les Arènes)