Bird hunting is one of my greatest passions, the other is story telling, and it is very nice that one passion leads to the other.
Some of the best and most affordable upland bird hunting in the entire world is to be found in the Uruguay, and I do my best to hunt perdiz (Nothura maculosa) there at least every other year. Perdiz or codorna (as we say in Brazil) is one of the greatest of all upland birds, and it is a real pleasure to hunt them over dogs in the almost flat Uruguayan grasslands (Pampas).
I have many good memories of my hunting trips with JP Cacerias (firstname.lastname@example.org), in Trinidad, province of Flores (see “Last Bird, First Bird” the oldest posting in this blog). João Paulo or JP is a great cook and a better host, knows where the perdiz are, has a cannel with some great dogs, and a fantastic family and staff to make you have a good time and feel really at home.
The picture above is from our trip of May 2011, when again I had the pleasure of having Ariel as my secretário. The secretário will handle the dogs, carry your birds, water and extra shells, will always compliment you for a good shot and find an excuse for miss. But Ariel is much more than that, a true gentleman, and if not a great photographer, a very lucky one, as I don’t think that this picture that he took can be matched.
Perdiz are generally solitary birds that do not covey, and having the opportunity to shoot a true “doublé”, while not rare, is unusual; and as many expert hunters say that shooting a true “doublé” is the apex of the art of bird hunting I am very happy that Ariel could capture this unique moment on a still photo.
Please, pay attention to the details as in this fantastic photo you will be able to see all the elements of the art of bird shooting.
The hunter and dog are very obvious. I was shooting an AyA 16-gauge side-by-side gun with side locks, but no ejectors, which represents the typical game gun of Southern Europe and South America. If you follow the barrel line you will be able to see the wad already open and quickly slowing down. Continue in the same line and you will see the perdiz closing its wings, just prior starting to collapse.
But, if you pay attention to the dog path, you will notice that he is charging to a direction to the right of the bird mentioned above.
You will need to look really carefully to a point that is just at the skyline and to the right of the right most tree. There is a brown spec there. That is the first bird of the “doublé”, already folded and falling to the ground.
Even a rather mediocre shotgunner like me deserves perfection once in a while, and no automatic shotgun in the world can deliver the conclusiveness of right and left barrel shots and two birds down.
Note: In case your eyes are aging like mine, I have the same picture below, with the three “flying elements” clearly marked.
1. First bird (right barrel) falling
2. Second bird (left barrel) starting to fold
3. Shot wad