Turtle dove hunting: For most of the Italian hunters who prefer to undermine migratory fauna, the opening of the Hunting Season is synonymous with hunting for the “estatini”.
In fact, during the whole summer, migratory enthusiasts look forward to the pre-opening of the season and the "summers" that can be encountered, and possibly hunted, at this time of the year. The summers are generally young blackbirds, wood pigeons and especially turtledoves that after the migration period, during the months of July and August, have chosen to stay in Italy while the adults have decided to go elsewhere for wintering.
After long months of closure of the Hunting Season, many hunters anxiously await the pre-opening of the hunt, usually from the first of September, in order to hunt the summers in ambush. Considering that among the species of huntable summers most of the Italian hunters prefer the wild dove, we will focus more on this species; the wild turtledove during the course of the year makes considerable movements preferring to spend the winter in Africa and then arrive in Italy between the months of April and May.
This species loves to nest in the flat areas, or at most in the low hills, possibly in the vicinity of fields of barley, wheat, or sunflowers where it feeds on the seeds of these flowers and on the grains of grasses. One of the "risks" that the inexperienced hunter who decides to hunt the turtle dove could run into is to confuse it with its cousins, the eastern collared dove or the African dove whose hunting is prohibited by law as a protected species. But how can the wild dove be distinguished from its cousins? There are in fact a series of elements that allow the hunter to be able to distinguish the various species between them; first of all, the flight characterizes them: the Collared dove usually performs a slow and absolutely straight flight compared to that of the wild dove, moreover compared to the latter it is often very sociable with man, which is why it loves populating anthropized areas, in the vicinity of inhabited centers, public gardens and city parks also feeding on waste left by man.
By carefully observing the various species of Tortora it is possible to note that the collared one is slightly larger than the wild one; moreover, the Collared Dove has a uniformly light plumage with a showy dark collar and unmistakably dark wing tips as well as a particularly long tail compared to the wild cousin. Lovers of hunting for summers already in August monitor the growth of sunflowers and barley fields to observe the movements of the turtledoves that go there for pasture. If the passage is satisfactory, given the possibility, the hunter begins to prepare the stake for the hunt, anxiously awaiting the month of September and the pre-opening of the new Hunting Season.
Generally the stalking hut that is prepared for this type of hunting is very spartan and well camouflaged; it is a shelter, created with the same vegetation that is found in the surroundings of the chosen place, not far from the field cultivated with sunflowers or other that the turtledoves have chosen for pasture and therefore frequent them assiduously.
If you want, you can place, near the field and the post that we will have built, a system of calls with both fixed and mobile plastic molds, with rides or shapes with rotating wings. Once the ambush has been prepared and the calls have been positioned, all that remains is to wait for the protagonists of the pre-opening to pass, possibly with the right shotgun and cartridges: for this type of hunting the most used shotgun is a 12 gauge semi-automatic for which cartridges are recommended fast 34 grams loaded with lead 8.
The Wild Dove generally begins to move about an hour after the first light of dawn moving towards the sunflower fields for pasture; the flight is often low, almost bordering on the large flowers which makes the shot quite difficult. Considering the habits and the flight of the wild turtledove, hunting this bird is anything but easy for which in fact the hunter is required to have a good aim, a good and fast rifle harness and above all… a lot of patience!