The price of these devices ranges from 800 Saudi riyals (160 euros) to 3,000 Saudi riyals (590 euros), depending on its quality and the country where it was manufactured. They can reproduce roughly 50 seasonal songs from birds native to Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the hunters also places decoys shaped like birds right next to the devices. Birds are fooled into approaching the device, believing they are approaching other birds of their species. Once a number of birds are grouped together, it's very easy to catch them all in one fell swoop with a net.
Some of those who use this new technology do so because they are not good at hunting. For instance, hunting wild ducks is particularly difficult because they only come out at night, and only very experienced hunters can successfully hunt them. Others are just following this new Saudi trend of posting photos and videos of their catch online, and competing against one another to kill the most birds. This explains the sudden increase in photos of tons of dead birds, either spread out on the ground or in wheelbarrows.
"Hunting is a noble activity that has rules and must respect the natural equilibrium”
Formally, Saudi law forbids this type of hunting [in 1999, a royal decree created a legal framework regulating the hunting of wild birds]. In fact, the head of the government unit in charge of protecting wildlife is a member of the royal family, but all the unit really does is issue statements against illegal hunting; it does not actually enforce the laws. It's very rare to hear of sanctions imposed on illegal hunting. [Editor’s Note: Last July, Prince Bandar Ben Saoud issued a statement
condemning illegal hunting and invited all Saudis to help authorities enforce the law. He also added that publishing images of illegal hunting online harmed Saudi Arabia's reputation].
As a hunter, I refuse to call these men hunters. Hunting is a noble activity that has rules and must respect a natural equilibrium. Real hunting has nothing to do with this utter massacre, which might push species to the brink of extinction and could cause migratory birds to avoid our country in the warm season. My father taught me to never hunt more than what you needed for dinner. This practice runs contrary both to religion and to common sense.