Use of electronic decoy callers in hunting
In Malta, the use of electronic decoy callers is widespread, although their use is prohibited by the EU Birds Directive. The use of devices with quail calls is particularly common, attracting the birds, most of whom migrate at night, to areas where hunters want to go shooting in the morning. The animals are then flushed with dogs and shot down.
While car radios operated with batteries were used in the past, MP3 players mostly used method nowadays. The devices have a timer that controls operation from around midnight until dawn. The callers are usually hidden in walls or camouflaged on the ground, often secured with concrete or metal boxes.
At our bird protection camps on Malta, we routinely locate between 50 and 80 of these devices every year. The loudly played quail call - a metallic "pick-per-wick" - can be heard echoing through the valleys. Nevertheless, very little enforcement action is taken to put an end to the illegal activity.