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Hunting in Romania

Wild ducks

The hunt for wild ducks is one of the coldest and most exciting hunting expedictions. There are three types of duck hunting. The first kind is at flight, early in the morning and at dusk. The second kind is with fake lures at the resting spots (reservoirs, dams, rivers and runoff water). The third kind is walked up hunting along river banks, canals and streams.

When hunting in the early hours of the morning, the hunters have to be at the hunting spots before dawn. The birds move from ther feeding spots towards the resting spots. Those are normally large dams and high-water rivers. Wearing warm clothes is recommended, but using camouflage coverings is a must, due to the fact that these birds have a sharp eyesight and a very acute sense of hearing. It is a good idea for hunters to use auditory decoys, so as to direct the birds towards themselves. You may use retriever dogs (Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Drahthaarts, Kurzhaarts and Setters). The dogs need to be very disciplined, compliant and to obey the command “Stay in place!”. Dogs with experience trace the shot birds by themselves and swiftly retrieve them for their guide.


During the hunts at dusk, it is advisable to lie in wait for the ducks at their feeding spots. Those are: surface runoff areas (overland flow), harvested fields (rice fields), shallow streams, flooded corn fields (grooves filled with water). It is mandatory to use auditory decoys, so as to direct the birds towards the desired places. It is advisable to use retriever dogs, due to the fact that the hunt takes place in the darker hours of the day. For this kind of hunt, using Drahthaars and Kurzhaars brings greater success. They are able to find the shot birds visually as well as by smell, while Labradors and Golden Retrievers tend to track the bird visually and are more suited for hunting at wide open water areas (reflective water surfaces).

Walked up hunting is the second method of hunting ducks. That is an emotion-filled outing involving long hikes, which is why the hunter must be in excellent health. This kind of hunt is most sucessful when the bigger dams in the area freeze over. Smaller canals and rivers do not allow the water to freeze even at temperatures below -15 degrees. Birds are aware of that and they find favourable conditions to rest and eat. It is recommended to start this type of hunt at 6am, and it can last until as late as 5pm. It may then be combined with an evening hunt at dusk. Combined, the two types of hunt can bring wonderful results. During walked up hunts, it is good to use a guide who knows the places where the birds rest during the day. Once you near the resting spots, you need to move quietly and stay low. You need to use the surrounding vegetation as a cover while you approach the birds and use the element of surprise. It’s possible to lift between 20 and 50 birds into the air at one of these spots. When moving along a riverbank or canal, you need a disciplined dog that walks no more than 15-20 steps ahead of you. Once you near the resting spots, the dog must obey the command „Heel!“ or “Behind me!” so as not to lift the resting game birds. In Bulgaria, the most widely established dog breeds are Drahthaar and Kurzhaar. Once the birds have been shot, the dogs must retrieve the birds from water as well as dry land under the command “Retrieve!”. The dog must be able to maneuvre through obstacles (water obstacles, fallen trees, ponds, etc.) – in other words, it needs to be hardy while retrieving.

The third hunting method is by lying in wait for the birds at their resting spots. Those are: large reservoirs (dams), surface runoffs. It is mandatory to use lures (decoys). It is advisable to put between 40 and 100 duck decoys into the water. It is good to have two or three pairs of spinning wing decoys (mojos). You may use mobile duck decoys with electric motors, so as to create the illusion that the birds are moving. The hunters need to have made a temporary hiding place at the river bank. It must blend in with the terrain so as not to arouse suspicion in the birds. A boat camouflaged with reed vegetation can be used for the same purpose. Hunting by boat allows the hunters to choose the hunting spots for themselves. When using decoys in such cases, they need to be mobile, with built-in chords and weights (so that they can be thrown directly from the boat).

Thrushes

Thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds which inhabit wooded areas. They often feed on the ground or eat small fruit. Most species are gray or brown in color, often with speckled underparts. Even if the adults do not have these speckles, the juveniles often will. They are insectivorous, but most species also eat worms, snails, and fruit. Thrushes build cup-shaped nests, sometimes lining them with mud. They lay two to five speckled eggs, sometimes laying two or more clutches per year. Both parents help in raising the young. The songs of some species are considered to be among the most beautiful in the avian world.

Quails

Quail hunting is carried out primarily in the early hours of the day. It’s recommended you be at the hunting grounds by 6:00 AM.

In August, the beginning of the season, it is best you hunt until 10:00 AM and from 16:00 to 19:00 in the afternoon because of the high temperatures which impede the dogs work. During that period, it’s advisable you choose hunting grounds that are at greater altitudes. Practice shows us that quails prefer higher mountainous regions when the temperatures start to rise. They are most commonly encountered in meadows where different sorts of millet grow, in flat fields of harvested grain crops or the so called stubble fields where weeds are dominant.

The use of dogs of English breed (Pointer, Setter, etc.) is recommended. Hunting quails in passages is the most intense and successful method, when groups of 1000 to 3000 birds are formed. The hunting period is from the 1stof September to the 1stof October. During this period, temperatures are lower and it’s possible to hunt throughout the course of the entire day. A single hunter can shoot more than 100 birds during this type of hunt.

If the dogs are well trained, it is possible to shoot around 15-30 quails in about 2-4 hours. Our advice is to only shoot when the dog is in its pointing stance. That way there is equality between the hunter and the prey, and the hunt itself is pleasant. The dog has to be well trained, have a firm pointing stance and be a good retriever.

Young dogs can be brought along on this hunt, because they gain qualities and experience, making them better helpers when hunting other types of birds. The dog must work hard to find the game and, after the shot, bring it back to the hunter. If it learns to find quails then it will be able to find all other types of birds with ease. The recommended shooting distance is 20 to 30 meters. When the dog is standing still but there is nothing in front of it, it should be allowed to pick up the scent of the fleeing animal.

During group hunts the participants have to walk slowly and stop every 10-15 paces for about 30 seconds. That way the birds that press themselves down to the ground are forced to leave their cover and the dogs are given a chance to pick up their scents. When hunting in a group (4-5 hunters) we must always know the position of our fellow hunters. Whenever a person from the group fires their gun in an attempt to shoot down a bird, the others are compelled to wait for him and then fire. Usually a region is searched with the group forming a line, complying with the safety measures.

The quails are completely wild; the populations are not mixed with birds raised in captivity. The best hunting period starts on the 1stof September and ends on the 1stof October. The hunting terrains are mountainous, hilly and farmlands.

Larks

The species of lark commonly found on this side of Europe is 16 to 18 centimetres in length. It is a bird of open farmland and heath. It spends much of its time on the ground, foraging for seeds and, occasionally, insects, worms and other invertebrates. It does not hop like some ground-dwelling birds, but instead walks.

The lark makes its nest out of grass on the ground, hidden among vegetation. Its nests are very difficult to find.

Geese

Goose hunting involves early mornings and very cold treks. The birds can be hunted during flight in the morning and late afternoon.

In the morning the geese are stalked by the places they have rested at (big lakes and rivers). Places that offer a vantage point are chosen, allowing the hunters pick the birds off before they manage to climb beyond the hunters’ range. The best distance for shooting geese is about 30 to 40 m. This is a very resilient bird and that is why bigger pellets must be used (№ 1, № 0, № 2/0 and № 4/0).

In the late afternoon the geese can be stalked by the places they rest at overnight (big lakes and rivers), usually by the edge of the water. The use of goose calls is recommended in order to lure the birds in the desired direction. At dusk the shooting distance can range from 15 to 30 m.

The second way to hunt geese is at their feeding spots.These are fields with wheat crops still in the early stages of their growth, the main food source for the geese. After the field is chosen a hideout that blends in with its surroundings is constructed. The hideout can be set up some time before the hunt allowing the birds some time to get accustomed to its presence.


Decoys with and without spinning wings can be used as well as 3 artificial magpies and 50 to 100 static birds, mimicking a flock of feeding and resting geese. Other types of decoy birds can be used in order to create the illusion of a peaceful field. Shooting distance ranges between 15 to 30 m.

Hunters can use goose calls to direct the flocks to the desired spots and because the birds drop down from great heights the hunters must have patience and wait for them to come within range. Shooting is under the command of the guide (“Now!” etc.). These are powerful birds with good plumage. If shot at prematurely there is a chance to miss or wound the goose.

A retriever dog can be used. It must be well-disciplined and obey the command “Stay!” and must be kept inside the hideout. Geese hunts can last the entire day and the hunt itself is static and in cold weather.That is why heat insulating clothes, warm winter boots and neoprene socks are a must.

The best hunting conditions for goose hunting in Europe are in Romania. From the 1st of November to the end of February, million of geese spend their winter in Romania. The hunts take place in freshly harvested cornfields, where geese come in search for food.

Bear

The brown bear is the biggest predator in Romania. It can be hunted with bait or by driven hunt.