the pigeon is caught in the net like fifty years ago in Sos

Laurent Vicini became president of the Lot-et-Garonne Hunting Federation a few weeks ago, taking over from Michel Auroux. Craftsman native of Vianne and based in Lavardac, he granted himself some leave for the pigeon, which he will hunt until November 20. A tradition that lives on here, with shopkeepers opening earlier to serve hunters and lines of cars plunging into the woods at dawn.


Laurent Vicini also placed a pigeon to attract wood pigeons.

Loïc Dequier/ “SOUTH WEST”

never won in advance

This palombière had been unoccupied for three years, lost in a forest dominated by chestnut trees and pines, and its owner let them use it. The set is rustic but above all practical, and everything takes place on the ground, from the 20 m² cabin, where you pull the strings that wave the live decoys (a pigeon and about twenty wood pigeons) and all along the 200 meters of corridors that surround it. These have the particularity of being partly buried, dug in the sandy soil of the moors, but you have to be careful to keep your head to walk there.

“There, you have to put them on the ground. It is never a foregone conclusion…”

The interior of the palombière has retained its rustic appearance, but nothing is missing.


The interior of the palombière has retained its rustic appearance, but nothing is missing.

Loïc Dequier/ “SOUTH WEST”

Tunnels camouflaged by faded ferns and dead branches, “to the point that it will happen to see the legs of wood pigeons a few centimeters from our head”, comments Laurent Vicini. They also adjoin the nets which close vertically on the trapped woodpigeons, but it sometimes takes a good hour to get there. So why this preference for the net, while the shotgun is only used sparingly? “It’s a passion to manage to work the bird, to bring it to the ground. There, it must be placed on the ground, and not only on the trees. It is never a foregone conclusion…”

It is first necessary to identify the birds in the middle of the trees, then to unbalance the first decoys perched at the top of the trees on “snowshoes”, and whose flapping wings must divert their congeners. Lower down, it is the “chickens”, in fact wood pigeons that are freed in an aviary, who must reassure their wild colleagues and convince them to come down and peck the corn kernels. It only remains to apply the springs of the net.

“It’s a passion that you never get tired of, blue evil…”

At the start of the season, the two hunters saw pretty flights of 80 to 100 wood pigeons, which sometimes from the south, retreating, but only one landed. They are not in despair, however, because they care more about the atmosphere, the tranquility and the setting than filling the freezer: “It’s a passion that you never tire of, blue evil… And if you eat a few of them, we gladly give them to the elderly in the area, and we keep enough to renew our decoys from one year to the next. »

In the middle of pines and ferns, three nets have been installed on the ground to capture the unwary.


In the middle of pines and ferns, three nets have been installed on the ground to capture the unwary.

Loïc Dequier/ “SOUTH WEST”

Does he remember the first time he set foot in a dovecote? “Certainly not, I was very small. I have always been there, with my father and my grandfather. His father, Louis, remembers: “I was still at school and my poor father used to take me there on the bike frame! And Laurent’s two young daughters (19 and 24) also hunt with a net, which is really a family affair among the Vicini.

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