When you live in the countryside shooting or hunting as they apparently call it (I cant help smiling when I think of a man shooting a bird as a HUNTER just doesn't gel if you know what I mean) is par for the course. I have often, very often heard the gun shots of late, I thought I had left those behind in SA but no such luck. So as I tend to do, I have learned as much about it as possible short of participating and I have even bravely sat and watched it. Unless you go off the so called 'main' road you don't get to see the guys after all they are all bravely dressed up in the colour of the landscape so you need pretty good eye sight from a car to spot them whilst you are driving. DH and I had reason to go down a dirt road and just happened upon a 'shoot/hunt'. OMG what a fascinating sight and it took me awhile to figure out what I was seeing. We parked the car we had no choice really because the guard type guy wouldn't let us carry on down the road for fear of us getting shot or worse still I could have been one of the crazy people that try to stop this type of thing ;). So in tears I sat and watched whilst beautiful pheasants were just dropping out of the sky. The shooting wasn't as bad as the bird jerking around on the ground for what seems like ages and ages, DH tried to assure me that it was just the nervous system but the tears just ran uncontrollably down my face. I called the sight 'fascinating' purely because it is all so organised and regal in a way. Most of the guys (and women sometimes) had a black Labrador (not sure why there were no yellow ones perhaps this was the black labbie club) anyhow there were at least 20-30 men dotted around a few acres of bare land with a greenbelt through the middle where another bunch of guys with dogs were busy 'flushing' out the birds using long sticks to frighten the birds into taking to the sky which of course they did. The Labradors were the most fascinating they sit perfectly awaiting a signal from the shooter/hunter to collect the fallen bird, and the signal seems to come from a hunt leader to all the dogs and a collection was made at what looked like the end of the shoot.The hunters then moved off to the next field and started again. I know you are probably bored of all this hunting talk but I have so much more to say about it so I may do a second post tomorrow.
There is a more sinister side to all of this, I have been told by a number of sources that these pheasants are reared by a games man and he dutifully feeds them regularly to the sound of a whistle and at the 'right' time they are released in order to be shot but the hunters use this same sound in order to trick them into thinking they are going to be fed.
I have used so many pics because these were taken on farms literally bordering our estate and they also illustrate that bleak landscape I wrote of yesterday.