The duck shooting season is in full swing in the area, where artificial lakes are raised to lure ducks. The 300 kilometers long stretch of the Chitral River is also a hunting ground. The Baroghil Pass areas of Chitral in the north is the starting point of the Indus watercourse through which the migratory birds from Siberia travel to the plains of Pakistan in the winter season. Hunting of migratory ducks is a popular pastime among the people of Chitral and hundreds of them have developed a craze for the hunting and raised artificial ponds along the riverside to lure the birds.
As per data available with WWF, about 1.2 million migratory birds used the Indus flyway passing through Chitral and a large number of them descended in the valley during the course of long flight. Fabulous species of ducks came to Chitral in the season some of which were globally known including Siberian crane, pintail, bar-headed geese, teals and mallards. The ducks start their migration from Siberia in the month of February in large flocks mostly at night time and tend to follow the path above the river. A good fraction of the flocks descends to the ponds, lakes and the river at dawn and during daytime with many falling prey to the local hunters. The duck hunting is a very expensive practice as thousands of rupees are spent in creating artificial lakes and ponds along the river every year, which are swept away when the river is in high floods in summer.
The duck hunting has become a status symbol. The wealthy people afford it to raise artificial lakes at heavy expenses. During the season a hunter forgets all other activities of life as if there is nothing left for him to do, he has to keep a hound dog trained in swimming with him to recover the hunted duck. Adds dummy ducks are left to swim in such lakes which hoodwink the flocks enticing the birds to descend into such traps and get hunted.
CHITRAL, official say’s has banned the hunting of migratory birds, including Siberian ducks, In a message issued by the royal fort asked people not to turn to the riverbed in the hunting season beginning in January, neither religion nor morality allowed the massacre of birds, including ducks, The ruthless hunting by automatic weapons had led to the extinction of ducks in the region. Under such circumstances, the hunting of birds couldn’t be allowed on the riverbed owned by the royal fort, where hunters had developed artificial lakes to lure waterfowls. “Not a single gunshot will be allowed in the vicinity during the coming season. Violators of the ban will be dealt with strictly, The people of Chitral appreciated the ban and said it would help protect migratory birds.