In the sixteenth century the naturalist Belon already spoke of her in his books, telling of hunters covered in thick cloaks with a camouflage purpose who hunted her with a snare. A rather arduous undertaking makes us think. The secret was to go in search of woodcocks when these came with greater intensity and therefore between the zodiac signs of scorpio (between October 23 and November 22) and sagittarius (between November 23 and December 21), better if the days are accompanied by heavy rains. It is precisely then that, according to the French naturalist, the woodcocks arrive, to hide in damp, silent and impenetrable woods. Today we have more detailed, but perhaps less fascinating information. We know, for example, that the flight speed of the woodcock never exceeds 60 km per hour, as long as it does not have the wind in its favor. We also know that on average per night the woodcock can cover about 300 km and is able to remain in flight between 6 and 8 hours.
We are also aware that north-east migration commonly follows the south-west route with some exceptions. For example, it seems that the birds residing in the Scandinavian areas like to move to the British Isles or better still to the north of France.
In short, we have a lot of information on the movements of these spectacular birds, all well documented, all preserved in wonderful books, yet one thing are the beliefs given by reading, another thing are those given by experience. These are beliefs that often become certainties: the woodcock then he will have fun questioning them, because when it comes to this bird, nothing is sure.
The moment of the meeting, hunters know it well, is important. Of course it can be causal, but only the woodcocks that arrive on time for the appointment are the ones that remember, the ones that make us excited. Studying her nature, finding the right place, going to the appointment and finding her there is priceless. On the other hand, finding the right place is not easy. Some woodcock specialists are convinced that she knows exactly, even before arriving at the place, where she will spend the whole day. This is not a whim: the choice is motivated by the season, the wind, the quality of the terrain, to put it difficult, the choice is dictated above all by the photoperiod. The concept of photoperiod, for the uninitiated, refers to the duration of daylight hours, the intensity of radiation, and is influenced by the seasonal rhythm, by latitude, by the influence of plants etc.
So the meeting is obvious if you know all these details? Absolutely not! The variables are so many that the uncertainty of the meeting is always guaranteed, and luckily!
Dog and rifle
Il woodcock dog he must know how to do everything, or almost everything. Seeks, finds, awaits the hunter and must do it with great precision. For this reason, pointing dogs are well suited for this mission. In this art the dog must necessarily be a specialist. On the other hand, hunting woodcocks is not easy: not only does the bird elegantly evade many ambushes, more of a wing than of feet, but also the wind, the climate and the external environment get in the way. the vegetation. The ideal shotgun? With short barrels, slightly choked, better if used with n.8 pellets in the first barrel and 7 in the other. For the rest, follow your instinct: the woodcock hunt is a unique experience, an unrepeatable emotion.
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