From friends of the Apennines there are news of woodcocks. The Apennines are effervescent, in the color of the autumn foliage that set the forest on fire. Intriguing invitation for a steel-billed "by chance". An “author's” opportunity for an auxiliary man yearning to stop, in the tension of the posture that makes him chew the air, letting a slight trace of white drool filter through the corners of his mouth. But you have to know the places, you can't improvise. Of course, if you don't take a chance, you don't get it, and, even if the hunt for the queen is not the usual one, you can still go and go as it goes, it is not required to stamp the card.
Thinking about it, a couple of places can actually be explored with a reasonable likelihood of encountering the pecker. In one I have already been there a couple of times with Vittorio. There is a bank of uncultivated land, covered with low oaks, and at the bottom, between the bank and the meadow, there is a ditch inside which a rivulet of water crawls that keeps the ground moist. Not a great place, but for a woodcock, on certain days, it is obviously okay to plant its beak there too. Once with Vittorio we found her. But we had perhaps taken the place a little lightly, far from the charm of the forests of the Great North, and she left without even letting the barrels of the guns get dirty. We had to believe in it more, and better manage the dogs.
The other place is among a gorse, near a source. There, too, the terrain is suitable, and I took off the woodcock with my feet once I crossed for other reasons, without a gun. I marked it in the memory archive: if there was once, you can go there also another, you never know. Then there is a great place, they tell me, on the border with Tuscany. I know very well where it is and where to pass, but I've never been with the dog up to there, and therefore, frankly, it would perhaps be the right destination for a real investigation, and not for a "lightening" exit. . Maybe another time.
It seems more correct to try to exploit the reasonable probability of an encounter that all in all there can be in the two known places, to give substance to the not-quite-hidden-hope of at least seeing the queen fly. "Scolopax non olet " May, adapting a well-known proverb to all the considerations that blend in the head. The bank with the dimple heats up before the other place, and the dog can get there more smoothly, making better use of the wind. Go for that!
So, with the light double, the old Lajot, five and eight tenths of bottlenecks in two kilos and eight hundred grams of weight. Quick on the shoulder, a pleasure to wear.
On the spot, the pitch on which we left the car the other time with Vittorio is free. There is nobody. The sun has already risen. A few meters and take the path, with the dog already exploring the terrain. The bank with the dimple is after the hillock, further down on the left. If there is groundbait, "she" should be not too far away, within a radius of a hundred meters at the most. Here, it seems that the dog has "something" in his nose, ... he has slowed down ... he keeps his head up ... It is a bit long though, if you have to pull. If there is a woodcock and it leaves now ... we are not in the best conditions.
Here, damn, she left, she was there! But what are you shooting for in those conditions? She's gone to a place I definitely don't know, and so there's no appeal. The dog, which was expecting the bang that there was no rifle, stopped and looks in my direction with a quizzical expression of his eyes: = What happened? Did I miss something? =. When she flew away, the woodcock's feathers were shining under the already high sun.
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