Valley hunts - Hunter in the staging, with the game of molds barely perceptible in the dark dawn that is a prelude to the rising of the sun. The molds swing on the water, caressed by the light morning breeze that blows from the sea. The call ducks, faithful collaborators, "sopranos" and "basses" of the aquatic theater, open the concert. The hunting dawn has begun. It is the black and white film, with recalling ducks, of a more or less distant past or more or less recent. Hunter in the staging, with the game of molds barely perceptible in the dark dawn that is a prelude to the rising of the sun. The molds swing on the water, caressed by the light morning breeze that blows from the sea. The hunting dawn has begun. Color film of the present ... without the decoy ducks "canceled" by health provisions on which the discussion is still open. The black and white film has sometimes been re-projected for a few short clips of a “as we were”, but then soon placed in the film library, overwhelmed by the topicality of the aforementioned color. We must adapt.
Having said that, immediately afterwards it is worth remembering that the use of calls after sunrise, in the middle of the day, has always been a subjective choice. An old valley hunter ruled that arranging the game is like making meat sauce: the ingredients are more or less always the same, but everyone puts them in the pan and cooks them according to their tastes and experiences. This is to say that once, during the day, in normal weather conditions, some kept the ducks playing while others played the "dead" game (without decoy ducks), because according to them the "spider web" of the ducks could be counterproductive towards the flights of wintering and suspicious palmipeds. At most they kept the male mallard in the game which, barely hissing, warned of the arrival of some palmiped with low and not alarming tones. Experiences and subjective beliefs that today the absence of references has equalized: say only and exclusively mojo and whistles for everyone.
Equal condition that today applies, not being able to do otherwise, even with the fog, that is, when they are / would practically all agree that the decoy ducks are / would be necessary, at least advisable.
The fog, generally an obstacle to most forms of hunting, in valley hunts can instead prove to be an ally. Provided, of course, in the area there is ... presence of aquatic. What happens with the fog is soon said. The first day of thick fog keeps the palmipeds steady. It is from the second day, when they feel the need for food, that they get back on their wings, carrying out during the day what they usually do at night, that is, looking for pasture and places to stop. It is at that juncture that the search for food and the greater ability to deceive the printing works thanks to the fog, make the birds more easily attracted to the games and (they were attracted) by the calls of the stalking. That is, the birds undertake flights to the pastures without waiting for the protection of the night, or, if the fog falls at night while they are already on the pastures, a second hypothesis that can explain this greater confidence with the printing works is that with the fog they come possible elements of reference on the territory are temporarily hidden. Consequently, once day is gone, the birds no longer having these elements in sight, since they lack something in their normal “compass”, it is plausible to believe more in the games that appear “surprisingly” on the path. Hypothesis that could be confirmed by the observation that in the clearing gaps that are created extemporaneously due to sudden rising of the wind, or in the areas of light on the edge of the fog, game bags have sometimes been made even in usually mediocre stalking in normal clear air conditions.
This is true for all anatids, with a certain specificity for the teal, but it is particularly the pochard that embodies the figure of the “classic” palmiped of foggy days, especially if westerly wind and frost are associated with this. The pochard embodies the perfect symbiosis with the meteorological moment. It has a frosted back like the rime that the frozen fog deposits on the grasses of the valley, it has the powerful body of someone who does not fear storms. The hiss of its wings inside the watery cotton wool is like a gust of wind. Real and impalpable, fleeting breath of decibels in the sleepy, motionless atmosphere of the valley. Duck sometimes surprising on the molds for its apparent limited cunning, but it should not be surprising that even savage savages, in certain particular situations such as fog, for different reasons and not always very clear to men, do what they can best do, becoming more vulnerable albeit (fortunately) for a short time. Ancient hunts, hunts of the great Italian hunting tradition. Modern hunts, the best they can be.
Climate change and environmental changes, sometimes marking a minus but sometimes also a plus, have gradually affected the populations of aquatic as well as those of other species. Limiting ourselves to the Italian territory, today there are movements of the wintering belt of palmipeds further north than in the past, fewer presences on traditional places, as well as, on the contrary, significant nesting in areas where they had never occurred. Today, therefore, it is more than ever useful and necessary to participate in the censuses and to provide data on the killing to consolidate knowledge on the state of the species. Continuing to be able to hunt aquatic also passes through these small actions, because the lack of data on killing is one of the gaps to be filled to support the scientific research that the hunting world has undertaken by collaborating with some university institutes.
As for the decoy ducks, well, the future is still… in the fog.