The guns fall silent

No hunting sign

Apart from the almond blossom, one of the best things about February on Mallorca is that the hunting season has finished. For a few months now we have a reprieve from the shots that have been our early morning alarm call for a few months. The rabbit and thrush population quite like it too . . .

Here’s lead in your Lycra

There’s a large old finca not far from us that was once dubbed ‘the shooting lodge’. Its owners used to allow hunters to shoot on their land; taxis full of macho gun-toting chaps from Palma would arrive at weekends. Their shots would echo around the valley and sometimes it felt like living in the Wild West. Let loose in the countryside, these urban hunters were seemingly unaware of the restrictions regarding shooting close to other properties and highways. On occasions, we even heard lead shot peppering the roof of our little house; once, a passing cyclist got a little lead in his Lycra . . .

Now that ‘the shooting lodge’ has been refurbished and is used as a weekend home, the Palma hunters no longer visit. The shooting we hear is largely that of our Mallorcan farming neighbours, who continue the tradition of hunting for the cooking pot.

But some of the outsiders who still come are not as careful about their targets. There have been cats shot in our valley – whether intentionally or because these men (I’ve not seen a single woman hunting around here) shoot as soon as they see something moving, I don’t know. When I hear the first shots on one of the days when hunting is allowed, I pray that all our outdoor cats will be safe.

The return of Nibbles

Around seven weeks ago one of our cats disappeared. Nibbles has always been an affectionate cat but also inclined to go off for a day or two. We thought he’d return as usual – with an enormous appetite for food and a cuddle. But the days rolled by, and turned into weeks. The Boss and I told ourselves that he had simply decided to move on; we couldn’t bear to consider that anything bad might have befallen him.

On Saturday evening we had a jaw-dropping surprise: Nibbles was waiting outside the door for dinner, along with his siblings. He was welcomed back by the other cats like the prodigal son returning with a Euromillions lottery win. They weren’t the only ones pleased to have him home.

Home sweet home for Nibbles - reclining on our old stone oven outdoors

Home sweet home for Nibbles – reclining on our old stone oven outdoors

With the hunting season over, outdoor cats are now safe from this particular hazard. Just the others to worry about now . . .

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9 thoughts on “The guns fall silent

  1. So pleased that his Nibs has returned home safely. Sounds like he’s been enjoying the company of another family for a while!

    • Yes, Kay, you may be right. Cats, what are they like! He obviously prefers the food here, as he hasn’t left the finca since Saturday. Inclined to hope it stays that way, to save us the anxiety!

  2. Hi Jan I wrote to you some time ago asking if you had any useful information on solar panels. Are you able to provide same? A pointing in the right direction would be extremely helpful.

    Loving the blogs!

    Kind Regards Marilyn Ward

    Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 12:59:30 +0000 To: marilyn@marilynward.co.uk

    • Thanks Marilyn, and apologies for the delay in replying – I’m working on a large writing project, which has seen me eating out almost constantly since the start of the year! I have sent an email to your address, which
      I hope will be of some help. Thank you for enjoying my blog.

    • Hello Marilyn,
      I do not know how plan you solar project. But if you intend to do all or some of it yourself you can find a lot of information on the net. The important thing is to calculate how much energy you need. What can be achieved without electricity such as fridge, water heater and house heating with log burner. Backup generator for cloudy days (yes it happens even on Mallorca). Weighting battery cost against capacity, aim for the biggest you can afford. Solar panels are much more expensive on Mallorca than elsewhere. The 100 watt panels I bought from Germany on Ebay was about 100€ each.
      I have built our system myself to save money but also to learn how it works and I am constantly changing it.
      Good luck with you solar project!
      Anders

  3. Hi, Jan,

    I’m new to this website and have lived in Mallorca for nearly eight years. I was interested in your article about the hunting season. Can u tell me which part of the island you live, as we get a lot of shooting, but normally it’s only at the weekend.

    Kind regards

    Lorraine.

    • We’re in the Manacor municipality. In season, we have shooting legally on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and public holidays, and that seems to an island-wide rule. So not too many chances to sleep in here! Perhaps you are a bit luckier where you are – maybe not so many rabbits. Not that there are many left here now . . .

      A few years ago we obtained a useful calendar of the various authorized hunting periods and what can be hunted when. I’ve tried to find something online as a link for you, but without success. Your local Guardia Civil may be able to point you in the direction of a Calendari del Cacador de l’Illa de Mallorca, produced by the Conselleria de Medi Ambient. Dates vary a little from year to year, I think. If my old and battered calendar is still a fair reflection of the current situation, we should now be without shooting until late June, when it’s open season for rabbits. Best wishes, Jan

  4. Jan,
    It is certainly a relief when “The guns fall silent”. Our dog hates the banging and starts barking. No lazy morning in bed those days! And the noise level! By the sound of the guns you think that they are hunting big game and not small rabbits. It is like machinegun fire and you expect to see the hunter under a heavy burden of rabbits but they just get a few!
    By their appearance it looks as if most of the hunters around us are city dwellers.

    Anders

    • Anders, it sounds as though you have now what we used to have. One of our neighbours complained to SEPRONA (the countryside division of Guardia Civil) because people were shooting so close to their house. After that we had a few weeks of SEPRONA cars cruising the valley at the weekends, and that – along with the fact that hunters couldn’t use ‘the lodge’ seemed to be a turning point. Enjoy the next few peaceful months . . .

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