Hunting tales: Memories of duck hunting on the banks of the Po ', in the company of hunting friends, all linked by a spirit of sharing and camaraderie that never gives up hunting.
I was born into a family of nature lovers, who not only stick to living it, but also studying it. Farmer in Maremma my grandfather and my father, I inherited the passion, graduating in biological sciences and sharing with the men of my family the passion for hunting, which in my grandfather's time was something serious.
I learned from them that agriculture, environmentalism and of course hunting can go hand in hand, and less than sixty years ago, that was really how things were, and those who went to the old school know it well. It was practically impossible to meet a farmer in the area who was not also a connoisseur of the woods, a mushroom picker and of course a hunter.
My first hunting memories date back to my most unripe youth, when my grandfather and my father met with friends and after long days of hunting they exchanged stories and opinions on the past morning, imbued with a jovial spirit that I will never be able to forget.
The hunt that my father liked most, which he began to practice with greater consistency after the death of my grandfather, was that of the ducks that forced us to move to the Po '. It was a real pain to wake up at 4,00 in the morning and go out at 4,30, but I only remember the excitement of leaving and traveling in the company of my father.
We never took the dog with us also because on the Po 'there was a farmer waiting for us who organized the jokes and made available his half-breed, fabulous in the work of retrieving in the water. Immediately after the shot, Ben dived and fished out the hit ducks, gently bringing them back to our side: he was a wonderful example of a German Shepherd. Thinking about the outward journey still excites me: I would never have felt those intense emotions anymore.
Blessed youth! On our arrival it was cold, wet and the rising sun barely brightened the plain, but I felt only the excitement of the moment. Once we reached the hunting place and the farmer who was waiting for us, we got ready for the day: the smell of hot coffee and the silence of nature that woke up are priceless memories, which I don't think will ever leave me. We settled in a real heated hut, immersed in the fog and waited for the start of the beautiful hunting day that awaited us.
It was during one of those days that I discovered hunting with the bombardino, which was already prohibited at the time, typical of the area. When the right time came for the actual stakeout, a beautiful pre-chase tension was perceived in the air. My father used a 36 gauge single barrel and usually chose to hide near a beautiful poplar, hidden by reeds and sedges: a wonderful natural shelter.
With the first threads of sunlight, the surrounding area was literally invaded by chirping sparrows ready to plunder the marsh plants that have been my favorite hunt more than once, while my father was chasing huge ducks with his eyes that if he wished they were never in range. He talked about it for weeks, while I, with my beautiful poor game bag, thought of the beautiful polenta that my mother would cook for me.
During those unforgettable days I learned a lot about animals, about life, about death, about respect for the environment, but above all about men, who during the hunt bring out the truest part of themselves.