For many years I took a seasonal permit in the Meschera hunting farm and hunted Velikiy in autumn and sometimes in spring.
Before the season, a hut usually got along with a platform, which huntsmen make for visiting hunters (with service), it took one day.
When hunting in the afternoon, he swam in advance on his flat-bottomed boat to the hut, placed the stuffed animals, climbed into the hut and, sitting with binoculars on a block of wood, waited.
Soon motorboats began to walk along the lake, one after another, the huntsmen carried the hunters to the huts. Disturbed flocks of ducks dashed across the land, attracted by stuffed animals, flew into my hut, and the hunt began.
The daily norm, as a rule, turned out to be fulfilled even before the evening dawn, I never exceeded the production limit and returned home “by light”.
I must say, I do not like the classic evening with its barbarism – stupid gunfire, lost wounded animals, lost loot and gatherings in the dark.
One, or even two times per season, usually fell on a migratory northern duck, most of the black duck, a stupid and reckless bird that sits down with stuffed animals even after a shot. And in late autumn, already before the freeze-up, a migrating mallard stopped on the lake, in contrast to the ducks, a bird deserving respect, cautious and, in taste, perhaps the best of the ducks.
I remember one such hunt. That autumn, my hut was built on a small reed island where ducks flew from clear water to a rice-covered bay. At the end of October, there were no more hunters on the deserted lake, the motorboats did not run, and I did not succeed that day.
From the middle of the lake, flocks of mallards flew up to the bay with rice, sat down in clear water and a hundred meters away from me swam in rows in rice for feeding, not even reacting to my stuffed animals. Before one flock has time to hide in the thickets of rice, another flies up next and, as if following a ruler, swims along the same route to the thickets.
Then I realized that sitting in a hut is useless, something needs to be changed. I collected the stuffed animals, swam to the place where the ducks were hiding and hid right in the boat on the edge of the rice jungle. The duck armada, naturally, took off noisily and went into the clear water.
After half an hour, the ducks began to return, but they swam into the rice in a different place, but the noise of the ducks feeding in the rice was approaching, and it became clear to me that I had to wait.
Soon, cracking, quacking and splashes were already heard behind my back, and in the gap between the rice bushes, two drakes appeared side by side, and both were on the fly. I shoot. There is a rumble of numerous wings from ducks soaring into the sky, I throw the barrels of my gun at another drake taking off nearby, another shot, the mallard falls into the clear water five meters from the boat and wiggles its orange legs.
I put it in the boat and swim to watch the result of the first shot. Instead of two, there are three drakes lying on the water, and a couple of meters away from them, a mallard with its surviving wing hits the grass, trying to hide in a dense rice bush.
For this surviving wing, I managed to grab her. As a result, the daily norm was fulfilled with just two shots, five ducks were caught, and what kind! Heavy mallard ducks swam in fat in beautiful clean, already winter plumage.
Since 2010, the amount of game both on Velikoye and on other lakes began to dramatically decrease, all local hunters speak about this. If hunting still exists in our hunting farms, then the former abundance of game is gone. Unfortunately.
The reasons are all called unfavorable weather conditions, a colony of egrets, knocking out small ducklings, or poaching in the spring hunt. Although this year there was almost no hunting in the spring, the increase in the duck population is not noticeable.