Hunting for a coot

Who is such a coot, does not every hunter knows. This marsh chicken lives on most of the territory of our country, on water bodies with abundant vegetation and high reeds. Lysukha does not belong to ducks and geese, but is a representative of cowherd birds the size of an average duck.

The color is black, the beak is white, turning into the forehead, legs are gray-olive, each finger is fringed by swimming blades, the eyes are red. On the ground moves perfectly, from the water rises from the take-off. The flight is straight, heavy. Lysukha is a migratory bird, it hibernates in Transcaucasia, China, South-East Africa.

In the evening, during preparation, my son and I started talking about these birds. He told in detail: the period of stay, migration, food supply, habits, etc. “Where do you get such knowledge,” I asked my son a little surprised, “did you have time to look through the book?” Well done, you know where to find. ” “No,” replied the son, “you did not guess a bit. Read the read, only on “Yandex”, on the Internet, I also saw the video. You’re giving up life, Dad. ” “Here are the young people: what can not be learned in books or quickly find the answer to the question, the Internet will help,” I said, buttoning up the already assembled backpack.

After such a conversation, I had a desire to see videos about the hunt for coots. As always happens, there was not enough time. Having learned from local hunters where and on which bodies of water you can see this bird, thought out the route of our trip.

The sharp sound of the alarm clock made me get up quickly and put myself in order. He put the kettle, took out sandwiches prepared by his wife from the evening in the fridge, woke his son.
“Raise raised, and wake the child forgotten,” – pouring tea, joked mother over the sleepy son. Taking all the collected things, went to the car. My wife wished us luck, to be more attentive and to return home as soon as possible.

The road was short, only a trace from the country road left a cloud of dust. Approached the umbrella stretching from the main pond, looked around – visibility zero. Fog. Equipped with the cartridge belt, neatly, without breaking the silence, went into the water. We stopped in front of the high reeds as before a green fortress, listened to the sounds around us.

Splashes and gurgling were supplemented by various, surprising sounds: “kovk”, “kovk”, “kat”, “kevk”, “psy”, sometimes heard “dp”, “pn”. “Straight as foreigners talk among themselves,” the son said. Yes, I myself have never heard such a noise. They began to move from the edge to the center of the swamp, stepping over the fallen reeds and trying not to make noise. Raising their legs and trying to take steps forward, they felt the heaviness of the adobe. When they lowered it, an involuntary gurgling was obtained. Step by step, making their way through the reed jungle, they came to the mirror of the water.

The mist left the smooth surface of the water. There was no one on the water. “I need to wait,” I said to my son, pointing with my free hand back to the reeds. “They are here, that’s for sure, we’ve heard them. Stay quiet, try not to move. ”

Time ran inexorably fast. Crossing from foot to foot, we fought with sucking our boots with mud. Suddenly, the sounds resumed, coming from different directions, but the birds did not hurry to appear on the water. Seeing the construction in two steps from us, like a nest, we distracted. This nest had an unusual shape. A few reeds standing next to each other were bent at the water level and woven into a disk.

The nest was sealed with various algae, grass and down. “Dad, look, here they are, the long-awaited birds,” said the son, turning his whole attention. Two chickens, black as pitch, swam slowly, with a small interval. Making bobbing movements with their heads, lifting up small ponytails, the birds stopped. The distance to them was about thirty meters. “Dad, shoot,” – said the son in impatience to see the trophy. Gently lowering the gun, I was made for shooting.

Selecting a small window in the reeds and removing the rifle from the fuse, took aim at the extreme coot. Smoothly put his finger on the trigger, made a pull. The shot interrupted all the sounds of the swamp kingdom, which came to us from all sides. A cloud of shot showered the bird. Two coots were lying on the water without movement. “A sharp shot,” the son said to me, coming out of the reeds for the long-awaited trophy.

Picking up the birds, we left the swamp. “How did it happen that two heads were hit by a shot?” I asked my son. “The distance between the birds was small, and at the moment of the shot one of them jerked forward, equaling the second.” That’s sometimes it happens – “For two hares you will chase – two and you will catch”. They took out a thermos, poured tea, smeared fresh honey on a loaf, began to examine the trophies. Most of all, surprise and interest aroused a snow-white beak and webbed feet. In reality, coots look more interesting than in pictures.

Until recently, the bald patter was an important hunting and commercial bird, it was regularly sport and amateur hunting. Moreover, in Russia in the 1930s and 40s, organized harvesting was conducted, which in Azerbaijan persisted in the 1950s. In the second half of the 20th century, against the background of a decline in the total number of ducks, the value of the coot in the total volume of waterfowl produced increased. In the 70 years of the twentieth century. 1.2-1.3 million of these birds were produced on the territory of the RSFSR. Its production from all waterfowls in Russia was 5-6%: in the delta of the Volga – 60%, in Western Siberia – 10-18%

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