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Convert to hunting

I visit these islands two to three times a year and I’m shocked, to say the least, at some of the disgusting cases that I have read about in relation to hunting.

One morning, I was talking to a waiter I know and who comes from a hunting family and it led to a heated conversation. To cut a long story short, I wanted to see things for myself so I simply asked him if I could go hunting with him. By 5.30 the next morning I was in the middle of nowhere in a tiny hut drinking coffee. Later, I was sitting in a small hide with 36 male quails in cages.

Suddenly, the sheer excitement on the lad’s face was something I can’t explain. In the field next to us, a hunter fired two shots, then called out the waiter’s name. A dove was close. I admit I was disappointed when he said it had flown past. We stayed in the hide until 10am and went for a walk for quail, to no avail.

My point is that there are people who are ruining the sport for others but also that one cannot believe everything one reads. I was shown marsh harriers, golden orioles, bee eaters, wagtails, swallows, swifts and kestrels. No shots were taken.

Hunting is a passion, a tradition, a way of life and no foreigner has the right to preach or lie about the Maltese way. I learnt a lot that morning. I opened my eyes and saw a different world out there. I agree it is cruel to take a life or to keep a quail cooped up in a small cage but being bred in captivity it is no different to my budgie. It is their way and their way it must stay.

I would like to thank the waiter and wish him a better season next year. I’d like to join him again if my health allows me to visit this lovely island again. You could say I’m hooked, at the tender age of 68.

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