The memory of the first hunting opening in which you participate as a child is indelible in your memory. The story of the first hunt in Sardinia.
I will remember the charm of opening my first hunt as long as I live. I was just under eighteen, but since I was fifteen I felt like a hunter. What can you do, with a father and three uncles who love hunting and the woods more than anything else, I couldn't be passionate about anything other than hunting and fishing. And yes, because when you couldn't run between the fields, you ventured out to sea. At the opening of the hunt that September many years ago, I still remember it, my legs were shaking.
I was so excited that I couldn't sleep. My father, after much insistence of mine, had consented to me accompanying him, reassuring my mother that he would always keep me close to sight. It was still dark when he entered the room and I bolted out of bed without even saying a word. I felt no cold, no sleep, just pure excitement. Obviously I put on the clothes I had prepared the night before and followed my father who never had breakfast at home on hunting mornings. He'd get a little something at the bar, he'd tell my mother. From that morning on, I also inherited that habit. The Mariella bar was vomiting hunters and the air smelled of coffee and burning abba, so to speak our local brandy.
Everything seemed beautiful to me, too bad you soon get used to it. On the other hand, I have never gotten used to the scent of the Sardinian dawn, which smells of sea and salt, of humid earth and wilderness. Separated from the group of hunters and warmed up by the correct coffee, we went to Uncle Giovanni's camp. He never loved hunting, but he always allowed my father to hunt on his land, a right he really granted to a few. In return, Dad cleaned up the perimeter he had occupied, and usually gave him a few hare and partridge. It was precisely for the hares and partridges that we were there.
I believe there is no more beautiful and elegant bird than the Sardinian partridge. There used to be many more around. Today, at the first signs of the opening of the hunt, they fly towards the reserves. But that day of that distant September there were, there were plenty of them and my father's eyes were shining. He was as taciturn as he was at home, but there, in the midst of the Mediterranean scrub, under that ollastro with his 12-gauge Benelli Rafaello in his hand, he was a happy man. Happy and in love with nature and the animals he hunted. He gave me a Benelli 121 with 7-gram pellet 36 cartridges. Well yes, I still remember. After giving me some instructions, I saw him turn abruptly, aim and fire. That day I brought home my first Sardinian partridge, I couldn't do better, but my father told me that we shouldn't be greedy, and everything that nature gives us must be welcome. It was so well received that a few days later my mother cooked it, along with those caught by my father, as only she knew how to do.
At the end of that long day of hunting, before returning home, we stopped by Mariella for a nice glass of wine and a chat with friends. Now that I felt part of the group and my father did not hesitate to make me understand. From that day on, as long as my father succeeded, we went hunting together, because there is nothing better to weld a friendship than to share the passion for nature and for our land.