Use of live decoys in hunting
Use of live decoy birds
In some countries - especially in the Mediterranean region - the use of live lures is permitted. The birds are crammed into small cages and placed around hunting or trapping sites.
In many cases, lures - especially songbirds - are kept in the dark throughout summer. When they are brought to daylight in autumn for the hunting season, their hormonal balance changes to spring and they begin to sing. This way, they lure their conspecifics into the paths of hunters or into the trapping devices of bird catchers. The use of decoys makes bird hunting and trapping very effective.
The conditions in which the birds are kept are unethical; generally, little cages, without appropriate food and care. The birds die quickly and thus, hundreds of thousands of hunters constantly demand fresh supplies. Instead of breeding the birds, they are often caught illegally with nets or traps or stolen as chicks from nests.
Use of electronic callers
As an alternative to live decoys, more and more hunters use electronic decoys. In the past, car battery-powered cassette decks were positioned in the countryside. Today, portable players are either permanently installed or carried by the hunters in their backpacks.
Electronic callers used to hunt quails are very common. Quails are attracted by mating calls "from the tape" during the night and are flushed to the guns in the morning, generally with the help of hunting dogs. This practice is widespread in Italy, Serbia and Malta. Electronic decoy callers are also used for hunting songbirds in Italy and Lebanon, and for bird trapping in Cyprus and Spain.
Unlike live decoys, the use of electronic decoys is entirely illegal. This may seem absurd, but it makes sense: callers are cheap, need no food and run reliably. They allow the mass shooting and trapping of birds and are therefore rightly banned.
CABS has been fighting to stop the use of live decoy birds for decades. Our success against exemptions allowing the legal trapping of decoy birds in Italy has, at least, made a start - the number of decoy birds has steadily decreased since then.