Hunting in the Carpathians
Traditions bind manly companies. Some men play regularly with their friends football once a week every Friday or visit a sauna on Saturdays. Or they get together every Sunday or oftener for a glass of beer. Generally there exist numerously various clubs according to the interests. One can regard hunting as the oldest men s collective hobbies. In ancient times it was considered a dangerous, but necessary condition of human survival, but in the past centuries it has transformed everywhere to a recreation, hobby and relatively expensive relaxation. Many consider that hunting awakes terrible instincts in the depths of human being and develops a tendency to cruelty. Hunters themselves talk about noble manly friendships and a close association with nature. So or otherwise, hunting exists and the ecologic and moral aspects are always determined by three conditions: where you hunt, what you hunt and how you hunt.
Pay money for wolves
It is autumn in the mountains – it is not the bright colouring of the mountain landscape, changeable weather and mushroom glades. In the Carpathians from the 1st September to the 26th December the individual hunting of deer, roe and wild boars is allowed. During the 90-ies many roes perished during the very cold winters, but now the number has increased to the previous stand. Special limits for hoofed animals are determined by a commission for each state hunting ground. The period of collective hunting is more limited: from 26stNovember to 26th December. Indeed the individual hunting of male roes is possible from the 1st June. At the end of November the male roe drops his horns and stops to interest the real hunter, who foremost is worried about the trophy – about what he can boast about at home before guests: size of the horns of the roe, fangs of the wild boar, hide of the wolf.
By the way, for the kill of a wolf in the Ukrainian Carpathians one can receive a state reward of 100 Hr., when in Poland for the same act one can land in prison for three years. However to obtain the reward, one has to hand in the hide, which has a market value of 100 USD. Environmentalists are certainly indignant at the financial stimulation for the killing of the “sanitary agent of the forest”. However the head of the administration of the hunting department in the region of Ivano-Frankivsk Yaroslav Oliynyk declared that on the territory of the region presently live ca. 80 wolves. This number is difficult to record exactly, but the region is able to absorb not more than 50 wolves. Besides, the hunt on the known predator is usually executed in passing, in the case that a license is obtained for other game. To meet a wolf and shoot him, is almost incredible, but also illegal. To walk on forest paths with a hunting gun one requires not only a license, but one has also to be accompanied by hunter. If you have entered a forest and you have a gun – you are a hunter only if you have a relevant license. If you obtained a license for roe, deer or wild boar, you may obtain a license for hunting a wolf. It is necessary to underline, that to succeed in wounding a wolf it is very rare. This predator is very strong, clever and well adapted to existing next to people. The hunting of wolf and fox is possible also outside of the season, but only with a separate license for this purpose.
For the largest Carpathian predator, the brown bear, one finally found space in the Red Book of Ukraine. Any hunting on him is forbidden. There are presently on the territory of Ukraine not more than 200 of the “claw-footed” – in zoos and in the mountains.
Hunting during the mating
Hunting in the Carpathians differs from the hunting in flat-land due to the considerable physical requirements. A Carpathian hunter must foremost be a sportive person able to walk not only one kilometer climbing and descending at different heights, even through deep snow. Known are cases when the fan of hunting suffers a heart attack. Although in to-day s rational and hard world such a thing can happen on a municipal pavement…
Experienced people say that a true hunter consists not only of ardor and goes hunting not only to shoot someone. It is pleasant to wake up early, watch the sunrise in the mountains standing in his room listening to the birds singing, admire the landscape and feel part of the wild nature. Besides the hunter should be interested in the maintenance of the forest fauna, so that his children and grandchildren can hunt too. A forest without animals is dead forest.
One of the most emotional types of hunting is that on hoofed animals. Before World War II Polish hunting magazines sufficiently often published features of a hunt on Carpathian deer and a few of the then achieved trophies were entered into world catalogues. From middle September to middle October, when the hunt is on the noble deer, when he with a load roar informs the forest about his greatness, calls out potential rivals to fight and shows off before females. The “harem” of the deer consists of between five and seven females. When mating the deer sees nothing and is almost deaf, because he is trapped by his own “singing.” Then one can approach him as close as 15 meters. The best photographs in the world of the deer were snapped during the mating. But it is not simple, because the females do not lose their diligence and on a feeling of danger alarm the male deer immediately. It is therefore possible to forgive an “insidious hunter” that tries to take advantage of the euphoric state of the deer.
With permission of the reader I will return to the concept of a true and false hunter, which the regional state forestry official Yaroslav Oliynyk mentioned. The state official, who hunts since childhood, explained what a conscience of a hunter is. A person, who shoots a rabbit, when it is swimming in water, will never gain respect in society. The rabbit is not a swimmer and in water finds itself in trouble. Unwritten laws prohibit the shooting of a wild boar, when it is stuck in deep snow and is exhausted. Even when you set off to hunt a wild boar and paid for your license, then you will return home, bring some potatoes and mais and allow the animal to free himself. We will meet again, you will say to yourself. That is the attitude of a true hunter. That is a Carpathian hunter s conscience. A true hunter was the known grandfather Mazay.
Collective hunting of wild boars
This is the most popular hunting in the autumn. Usually a group of five to 10 hunters (allowed is up to 15) agree to meet at the hunting ground on a agreed date. Collective hunting is a serious affair and it demands discipline. One begins with the instruction which all participants undersign. Important is the instruction as to accident prevention. Written and unwritten rules of the collective hunt are known and need not be repeated here.
The dog-leaders “lift” the wild boars and drive them in direction of the hunters who stand each in their position and wait. No smoking is allowed and silence is observed. The approaching of the wild boar can be defined by loudness of the barking dogs. The hunter shoots from a distance of 50-60 meters, but only that hunter whose area the wild boar enters. All questions are decided by the leader of the hunt.
Today hunting organizations try to orient hunters to use smooth-bore weapon, because a bullet from a carbine rifle flies a greater distance and can injure other participants. Due to aan optimal relation of price and quality the guns of the Russian manufacturers in Izhevsk and Tula are most popular among Ukrainian hunters. They cost ca. 400 USD.
There are hunting sections in every Carpathian state forestry. As a service the forestry offers accommodation, offroad-transport, leadership of the hunt and hunting-dogs, vetinerary services and the preparation of trophies. For our readers that wish to participate in a hunt in the Carpathians we have an additional information with telephone numbers as to a “hunting weekend.”