Hit the Ground Running | Hunting Season in Sardinia

It was a normal Sunday morning like every other Sunday morning. The only real difference is that it’s now October. You’re probably wondering why just one month would make a huge difference – on a Sunday. It makes a difference if you’re a runner and enjoy Sunday morning runs that are traffic free.

It was beautiful this morning when I decided to tie on my runners and head out in the beautiful Autumn morning. At around the 2k mark a slight stitch came into my side and I ignored it – like I usually do, it goes away. I was just about at my half-way mark –  3k away from home when I heard the familiar jingle-jangle in the bushes.

Dogs.

I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them. I’ve seen these dogs in these mountains several times on my runs and they have never attacked or even come close to me. I continued to my half-way mark when I heard voices.

Hunters.

That’s right! It’s October – open hunting season has begun in Sardinia. I stopped running and settled for a walk as I wanted to hear where the voices where coming from. The voices were not far in the distance and the jingle-jangle of the dogs’ bells were close – too close. Then I heard it.

Bang-Bang-Bang.

It was close, too close. Probably only 10 meters away from the point where I stood. The sound was deafening and I was scared. I hit the pavement with such speed it made my head spin. Still on the ground wondering what my next move would be I notice a hunting dog jump out from the bushes. He saw me – I saw him and I froze. He watched me for what seemed like an eternity until he realized I’m not the prey and he returned to his duties in the bushes – with the hunters.

I stood back up and turned around, the half-way mark will have to wait for another day. I tried to run. I was running but it was very dreamlike – like I was stuck in quicksand; my legs could not carry me fast enough. I ran, I cried and I hoped to all heavens I wouldn’t meet a cow or horse in the road.

October is the start of hunting season in Sardinia and I’m generally aware of this –  but this morning the sky was blue and the sun was shining – I was itching to get out and run my wonderful 6k in the early Autumn air.

They were probably hunting for Woodcock, Snipe, Cesena, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Wild rabbit, Fox, Lark, Pigeon, Crow, Quail, Dove or BlueJay. It’s permitted to hunt these fine animals from October – January on Sunday’s and Thursday’s only.

My case is this – why not post the hunting days in the local supermarket, the bars, the church, the post office and the newsstand? I’m not the only person that runs/walks along this road – there are plenty of elderly folk who enjoy a morning stroll along the same 6k as I, I even passed one such gentleman this morning.

I will never get used to hearing rifle shots in the mountains. I will never get used to the fact that I cannot go outside because it’s hunting season – and maybe just maybe – one stray bullet may find its way to me.

What do you think of hunting season in Italy?

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61 responses

  1. Hi Jenny, here in Cagliari we have several running tracks and some sporting fields as well as a lot of gyms. She won’t have any difficult in practising running.

    • Hi!

      My daughter had a few more questions. She’ll be there for a month on an internship studying the Sardegnan dialect, and isn’t sure about housing. Here’s what she emailed me:

      “Any chance you can ask them about areas to stay in too? I’ve emailed my contact at the school there to ask but figured it can’t hurt to have multiple people give input. Obviously safety and price/niceness are the top priority but then followed by location. Ideally want something close to the beach but also close to town center or something! But also I don’t know which are the best beaches, outdoorsy places, not necessarily where all the tourists are going to flock to buy maybe the more quaint areas.”

      Many thanks for replies!

      • Let’s hope Marco pops back in to help you here. I do know that accommodation can be pricy. If she could find a local family to stay with, it would be ideal. Any ideas Marco? All the best. J.

    • thanks Jennifer!
      She’s even looking in to couch surfing, though had been warned that there are places that aren’t as safe to be in, and she’s not quite clear about where that is.
      But yeah, high season is probably not the most ideal time to be there! I hope she can find something affordable and in a safe place!

      • Hi Jenny, unfortunately I am not much informed about housing, but I think that she won’t have any problem in finding an appropriate accomodation. The best choice is to ask her mates, students know everything about it. I know that students generally share an apartment, rooms are easy to find. As for the location, there are differences in price, depending on the distance from the university, but from nearly everywhere you can reach the town beach (Poetto) in twenty minutes by public transportation.
        Not far from the city there are a lot of beautiful beaches, but you need a car or a scooter to get there, cause public transportation (ARST) is not recommended. I wouldn’t recommend going there by bicycle, either.

      • thanks Marco! Her problem is she is not doing this as part of a program at the school but rather independently, so can’t find housing that way. She’s hoping that the couchsurfing works out but wasn’t sure about the location, whether it was an advantageous place to be. I’ll pass this on to her. thank you!

  2. hi! my daughter’s going to be doing an internship in Sardegna this summer and wants to run–I googled to find out running conditions there and saw your blog. Are the opportunities for running basically on typical Italian 2-lane roads with very fast driver? Or are there other options in which to run? thanks!

  3. We have the same kind of trouble in France, many (too !!) people are dying every year while running, walking or just driving their cars… It’s awful dying this way !!! The hunting lobby is so powerful in France that there’s no government brave enough to pit against !!! Really love your blog, hang’on !!!

  4. I participated on a wild boar hunt one year I came to Sardinia for Christmas and I almost got shot, being taken for a “cinghiale”…yes they issue licenses to anybody who has a gun and they wonder why so many people get killed during the season!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Two weeks ago a man killed himself by accident as his rifle ‘just’ went off! Things like this happen to often here, last year a young teenaged boy was shot dead as one of his hunting partners thought he was a boar. Sad, very sad.

  5. That is one of the aspects of Sardinia that I truly hate!!!I used to ask my mum when I was little:why are people so cruel to animals in Sardinia?Those “people” included my own Nonni (grandparents) who were farmers and had a very gentle and kind attitude for people but complete disregard for the suffering of animals…Mum used to answer:it`s ignorance,do not blame them…that was over 50 years ago… what`s the excuse now?!

  6. As you know Jennifer, the same ‘issues’ are here in rural Ontario. As I do not want to take away the rights of hunters, I do have a huge problem with poachers and I cannot even enjoy the woods with my dogs as I fear that some idiot doesn’t know what he’s doing and either shoots one of my dogs thinking it’s a deer or some other or shoots me because he forgot the bullet may go 3 kilometres. I would like to point out I’m talking about walking on my own property which is worse!

  7. I’m not a big advocate for hunting. And when there is hunting, it should be safe for those living in the community. Hunting just seems so violent to me…and sad.

  8. I share you sentiments. Yes, it is a hassle and annoying, not to mention scary in case a stray bullet goes on a wrong direction. I think hunting should be in a more secluded place away from enjoy peace and quiet as well as those who respect animal life. Great post.

    • I agree with you that it should be far removed from where people walk or where cars drive by.

      Thanks for the comment!

  9. OK I guess this is off topic BUT….no matter what crap they try to tell you a man on the gun does not have good intentions, he’s not a peacemaker , he’s not a law enforcer, he’s not dealing out a speeding ticket (Italian cops) he’s not controlling the overpopulation of wild life in the bush, he is not sustaining his right of self-defense: he is just a man with the capacity to kill and perhaps justify his actions afterwards. As for the hunting incident, hunters are obliged by law to keep at least 150 meters distance from public roads when shooting -_- If I were you I’d add a little bell to my running equipment and hang it around my neck, with some luck you may get spared: hunters notorioiusly avoid shooting at their preaciuos puppies 😦

    • Really – 150 meters? They certainly do not abide by that law that’s for sure! There are casings on the roads … all the time!

      A bell around my neck when I run! LOL You do crack me up!

  10. this just reminded me of the hunting season in the north of Italy when I was little and visiting grandma. Around September time we would go in the woods to collect hazelnuts and walnuts, and I remember grandma would always sing and tell me to sing so that the hunters knew that we were the ones making the noise through the paths and behind the trees, and would not shoot at us thinking we were birds…. I remember grandma’s house had some bulletholes by one of the bedroom windows…. Hunters were shooting tiny birds, to make into a traditional local dish “polenta e uccelli”. I’d forgotten all about it until your post… keep safe, and sing when you do go jogging…

    • Grandma’s house had bullet holes? Sounds like a film, I would never want to see! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  11. How terrifying for you — I am not sure I could have made my legs move again after that, to make my way home! My husband and son brought their orange hats to the cabin this weekend because grouse hunters are out and about in the woods! It’s one of the reasons they didn’t bring any of the dogs with them — even if you tie some orange around their necks, you’re always concerned they may cross paths with a hunter who confuses them for a grouse as they rustle through the underbrush. Once deer season starts, we avoid hiking completely until the season is over. ~ Kat

    • It’s really too bad, as I love Autumn time for runs and walks. I wear a bright red Canadian hat but I don’t think that’s enough to stop a stray bullet.

      Thanks for the comment, Kat. Wishing you a great week! 🙂

  12. I hate it when they start duck hunting season here. On some animals it is just open season all year. I understand that the cute bunnies and possums don’t belong here and cause damage but I wish there were a less violent way of dealing with it.

  13. There is hunting season in Norway now too, Jennifer, every day of the week. This is usually not a problem, but I more or less stay away from berry and mushroom-picking the first two weeks of moose-hunting, because then they are everywere. But the authorities and hunters organization say that the nature always is for everybody, and that hunters have to take care. And they do, as far as I can see. And it is not allowed to hunt by a road like in your terrible case. By the way, there are some italians hunting in Norway occationally, and they are kind of notorious, known for shooting at “everything” and all the time… I guess that is an exaggeration, but with some truth.

    • Like one comment from Debra in Bagni di Lucca: several ppl are killed each year in that area from careless hunters. If it can happen there it can happen anywhere.

      They hunt moose in Norway? Such a beautiful animal?

      I don’t think hunters should be allowed anywhere near the roads where cars, children and runners pass.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks you Angeline. All is good now. Took a few hours for my nerves to settle down, but Im safe. I also hate hunting and thing it’s unneccessary in today’s age! Che vita!

  14. Another excellent article, scary but well written. Glad you are ok Jen and didn’t hurt yourself too much when you hit the pavement. Can you run in the opposite direction?

  15. We have the same problem in rural Portugal. I always worry about taking the dog for a walk in the woods around our house on a Sunday but I often forget about Thursdays unless I hear bangs. Sounds like you had a very scary experience – hope you’re feeling a bit more relaxed now.

    • Thanks Julie. I am feeling better now that the shock as worn off. At the time my legs could not carry me fast enough home, and not one car passed me – otherwise I would have hitched hiked back home. Ill have to remember this for the next few months. And it’s such a bummer because I love going out on Sunday mornings!

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