Like every year I was invited to Romania by my friend Luca Lucarini, owner of theAgrofloracaccia agency, for hunting snipe in the paddy field, the chosen date is 9 September, to hunt on 10, 11 and 12 morning, returning to Italy with the last flight of the evening. I leave as planned with my friend Sveva, owner of an AATV in Siena where she organizes beautiful boar hunts and rich pheasant drives, a third hunter friend, who had to join us was forced to give up the evening before departure to due to an annoying flu. Once we arrive at the Bucharest airport, a car awaits us which, in about two hours, takes us to the welcoming hunting lodge in the village of Insuratei, a true stronghold of our guests. To welcome us Iancu, a trustworthy man of the Lucarini, unfortunately Luca had to return to Italy due to a mishap, with him we quickly deal with the paperwork relating to rifles and hunting permits, I was given an old but perfect Beretta A300 while for Sveva there is a Benelli Raffaello, much more modern. I also take a lot of duck molds, last year there were a lot of them, garganeys and teals, and after an excellent Italian dinner, we go to sleep, the alarm clock is set for 4,30.
As always on the first day of hunting, we are ready in advance of the set time, thigh boots, rifles, cartridges, camera and fully equipped we go up, with Iancu, on the Land Rover that will lead us to the Tufesti rice field on the banks of the Danube. During the transfer, about half an hour, he tells us that we will go to shed n. 1, previously left unused for us, the hunt here began on September 1st. Some of the lovers of hunting with the dog will be horrified ... in this situation, a huge paddy field of several thousand hectares, it is not possible to practice wandering hunting without causing serious damage to the crop in progress, therefore the hunting takes place on some clear ones that are naturally created where rice was not born, which, identified by the men of Agrofloracaccia, were prepared with reed huts and relative access paths. In this period the snipe are in full migration and this area attracts them in large numbers.
Once at the shed, I arrange the molds, we organize ourselves and wait confidently, now the starry sky is disappearing in the presence of the first light of dawn. The first two shots exploded are on a pair of teals that falls on the edge of the light, I mark the point to recover them later, if a good day starts in the morning, it should be a great day. When finally the light takes over, we realize that we also have a clear second behind us, at first sporadically, then more and more intensely, the snipes begin to pass, I explain to Sveva that we must try to shoot only those who pass on the water, if they fall into the rice field, finding a dog without a dog is almost impossible. This means that even seeing hundreds of birds, we can only shoot at some, among other things the big one passes over the pond behind us. But apart from hunting, we witness the spectacle of a nature rich in species and in incredible quantities, from our position we observe many black storks that imperiously fly over us, ibises, godwits, white and gray herons, egrets, ducks of various species, hawks of swamp, brown kites and many others that I do not remember now, only this show is worth the trip. As the day progresses, the heat increases, now I poach my shirt, and the number of snipes killed is also growing, even if certainly lower than the pan-fried ones ... At about 10,00 I call Iancu to let us recover, the heat is almost unbearable and we enjoyed ourselves enough. When he arrives he tells us that the water of the lake behind us is very high and the animals cannot be recovered, on this I am very angry and I try, turning around the light, a possible access, finally I can pass with the water at the edge of the boots, and even beyond, the obligation to follow me and without getting "too wet" we recover all the snipes that have been killed. In the evening we return to the paddy field, but this is an early morning hunt, we still take some winged bolts and we miss several ducks without catching even one, the ballistic performance I would say that, at least for today, is to be forgotten!
The second morning, same script but different shed, here the water is much lower, maximum 30/40 cm and many areas with a few centimeters deep, a few tufts of rice in the center and in the neighboring areas, let's start immediately with a good average of killing, immediately recovering the fallen animals in areas half covered by vegetation and waiting for those in sight on the clear. One consideration, if you come here, be equipped for mosquitoes, otherwise especially at sunrise and sunset it is bleeding to death. During a recovery, after a couple of hours of hunting, I go to catch a snipe that has fallen on the right side of the lake, it is in an area with about 30 cm of water, once there, the left boot is blocked by the grip of the mud and almost without realizing it I find myself sitting in the water, with the rifle sunk in the paddy field. After a moment of discomfort, I begin to laugh and slowly get up. Arriving at the shed, I try a problematic cleaning of the old A300, I disassemble it, and looking for a spot with clean water ... I wash the barrel, glass and summarily the bolt group from the mud that I don't dare to disassemble. Now I am ready to continue the hunt. After a couple of strokes where, spraying water from all sides, it has not recharged, it starts to work regularly. Not happy, when we decide to go home, there was to retrieve a Sveva snipe, also in the offending point while another had alighted on the opposite side of the light, I will try to approach him and returning I will recover his, trying to be the as cautious as possible I approach the Piarist who has been placed, arrived at about 15 meters, to my amazement, two of them leave and I manage to make a nice couple, which seen how I shot these days is a real event. I pick up the two birds and walk towards the one already in the water, this time the boots both stop and I fall forward, the shotgun completely soaked and I completely wet and covered in mud ... but happy with the three snipes recovered, this is life of the hunter! Once at the Valli house, the cook looks at me and proposes a washing machine as well as for clothes for me.
Luckily it was hot and a dip, or rather two, in the paddy field were not so annoying, and also a good test for the Beretta A300 which has not denied its reputation as an indestructible and always reliable shotgun. For the record, the first pre-wash, mine of the gun and clothes was done in the garden with the water pump, in those conditions we would never have been able to enter the house. I wanted to tell this funny adventure because I think it also happened to some of you who can identify with my story.