A strange year, this one, and unfortunate. We are in July and the selection hunt for roe it has just started, one month late. Bureaucracy, reforms, transfers of responsibility have made the wait unnerving and tedious. We have been a few days ago at sunset to nibble to understand how roe deer behave in this area. In March, when the bald ones were hunted, three generations of males faced each other on this arena, giving us the wonderful spectacle of competition and the value of the hierarchy during the territorial phase. Pointed young men still joined the adult and pregnant female, without participating in the displays of strength. For a powerful male it was enough to knock his hoof to the ground to put the bold youngsters to flight. Sometimes the authoritarian gesture was not enough and rapid chases sanctioned the authority of the winner of the future ius primae noctis. In the midst of so much turmoil, the females with the young did not like to show themselves, imposing on us the unjust law according to which classes that are not subject to withdrawal are more and more contactable every season.
And, in fact, in the two days before today's opening, no young male showed up. Hope is low, but the memory of March gives us strength. We arrive on site at 18.00, with the sun still high and a challenging but not uncomfortable heat. The Ponentino blows intermittently, cooling us a little but unfortunately in an unfavorable direction, towards the knoll to which our attention is directed. My role today is as an escort. Even though I don't have a “leading role” in this release, I feel all the excitement and tension that the long wait brings with it. Vincenzo is very focused and attentive. The ferocious light of the July sun dissuades us from the illusion of seeing something before at least two hours have passed, and instead, a wary fox cuts across the field in front of us. His tongue is hanging out and his air is tried. Who knows what thirst he will have to suffer, poor beast! After a few minutes the same fox takes the opposite route, this time carrying a tuft of white and orange fur in its mouth… it looks like deer hair, but who can say! He is probably looking for food for his little foxes.
We lower the respective binoculars for a while, the naked eye visibility with this light is optimal and then… what do you want to be revealed at this time? "Wait a minute: but those are wild boars!" Vincenzo whispers shaking me from the torpor of waiting. "Yes! There are two ... or rather, three sows! And look how many striatiiii! " I comment, incredulous, from under the oak, which welcomes me with its precious shadow. Vincenzo focuses on the wild boars, which are 430 meters from us. He found a formidable support: a hay bale high enough to support not only the rifle in its entirety but the whole body. Smeared against the hay bale its stability is total. “Wow! How lucky a support like that! I have the boar on the right in the viewfinder and I am very firm! ”. Dress rehearsals with bristly lenses aren't worth much. A little further down, something thinner moves in the grass. It is a roe deer. Before Vincenzo can re-increase the magnification of his optics, I have already coded the head: a young male. "And he!" I communicate firmly to Vincenzo. "Too far 400 meters, I will wait for it to come closer, hoping for the attraction of the green and fresh corner of wild clover." I certainly cannot encourage Vincenzo to try such a shot, given the circumstances. But waiting does not reward us. Indeed, the pointed young man seems to have disappeared, we no longer see him. On Vincenzo's face a veil of anger betrays the initial repentance on the attempted shot, or at least that's how I interpret it. I can't guess his thoughts, but we stopped talking to avoid making us overhear. "Here it is, Vi ', on your right!" I whisper imperceptibly. Miraculously he heard me! The roe deer crossed a valley that hid it from our eyes, reaching just over a hundred meters from us. He can't see me crouched in the shadows or Vincenzo hiding behind the hay bale. Vincenzo adjusts the backpack under the rifle, puts his eye in the optic's eyepiece, reducing the magnification that was left to the maximum to study the wild boars up there. What does he do? Not weapon? I do not know what to think. The roe deer is almost peak, true, but it's time to get ready. Then he takes a step and turns thirty degrees, it's not quite like a postcard but it can already be fine. Vincenzo arms his R8, long last! He puts his eye back on the eyepiece, sighs. Holds your breath ..
Without realizing it, I do the same. I don't know when it will shoot and I have to frame the roe deer with binoculars, to be ready to give the result of the shot. I leave the binoculars aimed at the roe deer and peek at Vincenzo with one eye. With your finger on the trigger it's a bundle of nerves. "The lattice does not stand still!" he sighs, annoyed and amazed himself by his reaction. A few minutes earlier he had an animal within range of 430 meters and now, at a child-proof distance, he can't hold the reticle steady. I hold my breath and with my little fingers I plug my ears precariously, ready to receive the wave of the roar of the rifle. They are moments, at most seconds, but it seems that time slips under our feet, that the night advances and the roe be ready to flee. He makes another small movement that projects him exactly like a postcard with respect to the shot trajectory. I have almost lost hope that this moment will end, we are suspended in the limbo of hesitation. With the roe in front, the decision to shoot transformed Vincenzo, making him vulnerable and emotional. I am afraid of losing sight of the roe deer at the very moment.
The slender legs of the young male turn to the sky for a moment before collapsing on the clover carpet. The wave of emotion that invaded me impresses me very much, because, in fact, I was only a companion. By identifying myself with Vincenzo, I was able to perceive all the sensations that go through the mind and body during the evaluation of the head and in the moments before the shot. That adrenaline rush that sharpens the senses, but makes the muscles vibrate and the heart pounding. I didn't have my finger on the trigger but it was like I did. Today it is as if we have hunted in two. It is really true that sharing does not mean "doing a little for each" but rather doubling the strength of the experiences lived.
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