Mr Hulot later resigned, warning that the government was falling prey to the hunting lobby.
Despite the outcry, the number of hunters in France has doubled in 40 years to reach around 10,000 members. The number of bicycle and vehicle “followers” has risen to 500,000.
The 390 or so officially registered hunts in France – more than any other country – mainly pursue deer or wild boar in the forests. The tradition is less arduous than the 340 British hunts, in which the riders gallop across fields.
Hunters are a political force to be reckoned with in France, where “obstruction of hunting” is an offense punishable by a fine of nearly £ 1,300.
France has more than a million registered hunters, forming the second largest pressure group after farmers.
Speaking to local newspaper Oise Hébdo, Mr Drach said: “We could have done without this because it gives a totally false image of dog hunting on social media by people talking about nonsense.”
A group of 20 local anti-hunting associations seeks to ban the practice in the Oise region via a popular referendum but the task is difficult because it requires the support of 185 deputies and the constitutional council before collecting 4.7 million signatures in nine months.