Rabbit scarcity forces hunters to switch to woodcock, fox and wild boar

When the small game hunting season started on October 16, most of the scores indicated that the rabbit releases had been satisfactoryThanks to the dry weather. But as always, the first rains brought the spread of viral diseases and green grass shoots with excessive protein for this species. Nor does the obsession of farms to get rid of rabbits at 3 or 4 months to prevent them from fighting, when in fact they do not quickly acclimatize to the new environment until they are six months old, as indicated by the keeper of the Sociedade de Caza e Pesca de Rodeiro, Jesus Furelos Magariños.

The farms sell the rabbits when they are three months old, too immature to acclimate to the environment.

One of the rabbit’s main predators is the fox, along with eagles and even ravens. Years ago, the campaigns against mangy animals allowed to improve their population, to the point that in Dozón it is already double. So, between the fact that they are too young, that the plague attacks them every year, that they have great predatory pressure and that even this year the bush could not be cleared or cleared due to the prolonged drought, it was to be expected that the rabbit season would be bad. .

Provincial Woodcock Tournament

Even so, there are very specific areas where it has taken root, such as on the border between Dozón and Lalín, in the area known as As Zarras, or in A Rocha. “But in general it is not what was expected,” says the president of Tecor, José Rodríguez. In this municipality, there are several hunters who, when they see that rabbits are becoming scarce, “either go to the rabbit alone in the morning, or they switch to fox or big game”, while in Lalín another option is the woodcock, which is It has been in full migratory phase for about 20 days from Eastern Europe, and it will settle in these lands when it is even colder. By the way, this Saturday, the 17th, Lalín hosts the provincial arcea hunting tournament.

“The rabbit repopulations have not gone well, we send some specimens to analyze to see what happens. The ideal would be to return to biotopes or allow the areas to be repopulated with native rabbit”, explains the president of the Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Society of Lalín, José Luis Montoto.

Another specimen captured in the same tecor.

Why does the boar dispense with the squire?

Much better is the balance of big game, especially if we talk about wild boar. Its season started on August 20 and will end at the end of February. Having already crossed the equator, Tecor de Dozón is also around half of the seals, with 50, “and everything indicates that we will reach 100”, while in Lalín 150 have already been used, also around half of those granted. . Dozón has two crews, and the second was baptized “os xustos” because there are eight of them, the minimum required to assemble the group. Rodríguez indicates that the presence of adult male wild boars without a squire (a younger male) is due to the fact that he usually falls earlier in the hunts, and that the females are now in heat, so a squire is dispensed with to eliminate competition. He also adds that “there is hardly any native wild boar left, the one with hardly any ham but a very big head. Those who predominate are usually very stout” and weighing up to 140 kilos, like some of those killed in Dozón days ago. They are also seen in the Ribeira Sacra area, and it is due to the abundance of food.

Lalín has six crews, and one of the advantages of going to the wild boar “is that you don’t have to have dogs”, since the trail is searched for in the morning with dogs on a leash, “so you can go alone in the afternoon and take your place”, argues Montoto. The week that we just ended, with two holidays, the presence of hunters in the bush increased and this alerted the wild boar, so fewer specimens were seen. But hunters warn of changes in the habits of this species: You can see females with two litters, or several females with their respective young.. It is a way of defending itself against the wolf, its main predator. Its presence was detected in Dozón, upon finding devoured deer remains.

Dozón collaborates with Environment

During this hunting season, the Tecor de Dozón collaborates with different programs of the Ministry of the Environment. One of them focuses on monitoring the diseases that wild boar can suffer from and transmit to both pig herds and other species. That is why blood samples are taken from the animals that the two crews of Dozón kill. José Rodríguez indicates that one of the most feared diseases is Aujezsky, which can infect dogs if they eat sick pig offal or are in contact with its blood. The pain that this viral disease causes dogs is so great that they can kill themselves. Dozón also collaborates with Environment to carry out a wolf census, so they have been placed camera traps in the mount We must point out that the annual update of the wolf census is a measure that livestock groups have been requesting for a long time, in order to reduce the protection status of this and other large carnivores, such as bears or lynxes, and guarantee their coexistence with the activity livestock.

Feces of a dog with worms, in Montes de Rodeiro.

Rodeiro insists on deworming

This Sunday at its social premises (11:00 am) the Sociedade de Caza e Pesca de Rodeiro celebrates its annual meeting to render accounts. This season, the group made a great effort to repopulate small game, planting 800 rabbits and between 300 and 400 partridges. To this expense must be added the 15,000 euros with which they paid for the clearing of 30 farms, the planting of cereals in another 18 and the start-up of five closed biotopes, at 1,200 euros each.

Rodeiro spent 15,000 euros this year on clearing, biotopes and cereal planting


Both Rodeiro and Lalín and Dozón insist that it is the responsibility of each hunter to see that, if game is scarce, leave the shotgun in the car and wait for the animal to reproduce for the following season. But it is also important, in view of the tremendous mortality of the rabbit, to deworm the dogs that go to the mountains. It is an issue that will be addressed at this Sunday’s meeting: the worms that dogs expel are very contagious, for the rest of the dogs, for the animals that live in the mountains and even for the owners of those dogs. “Every time the training season begins, the mortality of the rabbit increases”, remembers the guard, Jesús Furelos. The group also sees it necessary for the hunting regulations to specify the maximum number of dogs with which each hunter can go to the bush.

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Rabbit scarcity forces hunters to switch to woodcock, fox and wild boar

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