An older friend of mine who has been hunting since the 1970’s told me this cautionary tale when I was starting out. I am glad he did
‘I was in my late twenties when I made my first find. I had had my dog for a couple of years and was ready to give up because I had found absolutely nothing till that point.
Don’t forget that the other successful hunters, the experienced guys had been teasing me and back then that used to bother me. Anyway you can imagine how happy I was with that first truffle. Not just because it was my first but it was also a really beautiful truffle a perfect shape, almost gold in colour and over 150 grams. It took me at least 40 minutes to dig it out, so so carefully and my dog was going crazy all that time scratching and barking and I thought I was going to break the truffle and my heart was racing too with the stress and the excitement. So once it was out of the ground I left the forest and went straight back home.
My first thought was to show it to my wife. She had been nagging me about the time I spent looking for truffles and telling me to find another hobby. But I was home earlier than usual and she wasn’t there, she had gone to her sister’s or something. I was covered in dirt so I had a shower and she still wasn’t back so I wrapped up the truffle and went down to the bar with it in my jacket pocket.
I ordered and some of the guys came in and we had a glass or two and I was waiting for the perfect moment you understand. Eventually I took out the truffle in quite a dramatic way and everyone started admiring it and congratulating me and we ordered more wine to drink a toast Because those days I didn’t know how things are done, I started spilling the beans, yes I’d had some drinks but it was more to do with me feeling really proud of myself and wanting to be important for an hour or so because of that truffle
I found out later that I had stumbled upon an unknown area and because of my big mouth I never found another truffle in that spot for years. You see I could only go hunting if there was time after I’d finished work and of course at the weekends. The cavatori I had been boasting to checked out what I’d told them and they would get to this field first thing in the morning, three days a week and collect whatever their dogs sniffed out. And I”d turn up in the afternoon and find nothing. These aren’t bad guys, this is just what happens, it’s a kind of game. If you are starting out alone no one tells you not to talk, in fact they will encourage you to talk. You have to learn for yourself.
Nowadays the younger hunters and the attention seekers aren”t mouthing off in the bar, they are doing it on social media. Sometimes they do it to find a buyer but whatever the reason, trust me, it’s not a good idea because here’s a secret I will share with you – all those older guys who don’t talk a lot have actually got pretty technically minded over the last few years and they will be checking out where you are posting from. Off they go then and scout the area and next season these cavatori will sneak in and out so smooth you won’t even know they”ve been and you are going to be scratching your head and wondering what happened to the truffles this year, you”ll be blaming the drought that summer, or your dogs or global warming instead of blaming yourself and your big mouth!’