BY BERT STEPHANI
This year we had the best summer I can remember but in the last few days fall has finally started to make itself felt. The days are still beautiful and warm but the nights and the mornings are chilly. The color palette is changing too in the leaves of the trees and in the sky. Until six or seven years ago, these signs indicated a period of staying indoors most of the time. But since I took up a photography project about hunting and eventually became a hunter myself, the signs of fall indicate a couple of months of being part of nature and spending days outside whatever the weather is.
The 15th of October is the official opening of the hunting season here in Belgium and today was the first hunting day for the little group that I usually hunt with. The fog, the rising sun and the chill in the air added to the anticipation of the first day in the field. We know that in our area the vegetation is still too dense at this time of year to have a lot of success. But for all of us it’s about being out there, enjoying the company and check if the work that we put in outside the season to improve the area for all wildlife has paid off. Despite of what a lot of people think, most hunters are not ruthless killers, we like to see nature doing well and we only harvest what’s sustainable. The areas our hunting group manages, do considerably better than some neighboring land managed by a nature conservation organisation.
We manage to flush a couple of pheasants and a fox but either there wasn’t a safe shot or our aim was a bit rusty. Then we here the calls of a skein of invasive Canadian geese. Suddenly the appear magically through the fog, shots ring out, the dogs do their work and real organic meat enters the food chain.