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 20.07.2018 Hunting traditions of Hutsulshchyna

Hutsulshchyna — is the land of forests and mountains, land of fast Carpathian rivers and cold streams, land both beautiful and severe.

Hutsulshchyna is located at the highest part on the territory of the Ukrainian Carpathians; otherwise, they are called Wooded Carpathians. The geographical location of the Hutsulshchyna’ region is such, that it can be considered as natural isolated, hideaway highly in the mountains. Remoteness, hard-to-get and highland are the main objective reasons of its social and economic undevelopment, which was historically formed during last few centuries. Thanks to its natural isolation, here were kept authentic material and intellectual culture, and also, to a greater extent, was kept flora and fauna and unique nature, which are well known all over the world. This, for our opinion, is one of the positive effects of geographical isolation of Hutsulshchyna region.

Animals of Hutsulshchyna

There are many kinds of animals on this territory: bears, wolves, red deer, wild hogs, trots, wild goats, rabbits, foxes, martens, wood grouses, blackcocks, ferret. The rivers of Hutsulshchyna are rich for river trout and Danube salmons. Hutsuls are living among such varied fauna and continuing their natural instincts to hunting, become unbeatable hunters and fishers.

Hunting in Hutsulshchyna

Traditional hunting on Hutsulshchyna has had individual-collective character. It was primary caused by small density population and by mentality of hutsuls. Every hunter or small group of hunters has its clearly defined area, so called revir. On this territory, which, by the words of hunters, was giving their grandfathers by the God and they had the right to hunt there. “The ground is my forefather’s land, and cattle – either livestock or forest stock, grazing on my ground, is mine”. Besides it, they clearly knew about quantity of cattle that was live in such revir. They were so well known about the animal’s location and were convinced in their selves’ skills to hunt it that can guzzle down the unhunted animal in advance to the Jew in pub. More often such good was dear’ meat, not without reason on Hutsulshchyna this noble animal otherwise is calling tovarie.

On Hutsulshchyna the great significance set from the earliest time is the hunting on martens, fells of which was rated high, and with the growth of feudal enslavement added to corvee tributes. Thus, every traction farmer, taking in the yard, in village Rybne, Zhdvyzhyn, Kuty in 1565 was forced to give dominiya (form of land estate in feudal period), among other exactions, three martens or 20 grosh for each of them.

Bondholders of Rakhiv in 1600 also give 14 fells of martens for using the manorial domains and pastures.
Fish was also included in feudal duties. Thus, bondholders of Rakhiv were forced to supply domoniya, among other exactions, 1000 piece of trout.

Such kind of rate even more raises the value of integrity of revir. Thus, hunters kept out other hunters off their territory without permission, if they came to other revir from some or another reasons, it can cause quarrels, feuds and bloody conflicts numerous times. These hunters newer shoot she-deers or wild goats, know, that in autumn she will call for male, and some while she sire and thus will enrich by wild flows his revir. If such incident have taken place, the hunters of Hutsulshchyna, which were strong believers, for a period of time don’t hunted and considered, that is very bad sign, after which some troubles will happen in the family. In hard cold winters, hunters feed the animals and never hunted to animal, which get into natural (during fire, droughts on the watering place, don’t hunted the otter during ice drift and high flood).

Such hunters well know living place of animals and their passages, the main parts of them get by means of traps and self-activating traps, saying that self-activating traps keep the forest silence, as it makes loud bang and continuous noise from hounds “animal very angry on hounds, don’t keep one place, and somewhere looking from blackthorn”.

If they shoot animals they was trying to make only one shot, from a small distance, right on target, by this they avoid wounded birds, which they can fall short (throw about) on large territory of revir.

Compared to habitants of plain areas, the main household of which was plant-raising, Hutsuls mainly engaged animal farming; carefully care to animals, which threaten to their domestic animals.

Because the outdoor environment is one of the main factor of formation of human personality, such closeness to the nature, with its plants and animals world, have the determine value on the formation of hutsul’s ideology. Geographical environment is one of the determinative factors of social development. In the process of historical development forces of production of according region life and daily activities of person is depend on natural environment, which cause effectively on its house working, material and intellectual culture. Nearby with commonly known Christianity, in their hearts hutsuls are tending to paganism. This shows by the whole lines of age-old hunting traditions, incantations and fortunetelling for successful hunting. “…it is not enough to have good guns for animals will go, for good point a gun to animal, for sound from gun will not be loud, etc. all this can be achieved by magic”.

Hutsuls, fascinated with bear’s power, wolf’s hardness and importunity, trot’s dexterity, fox’s cunning, eagle’s eyes, creating a lot of legends and tales about them. Some hunters identify themselves with some animal, for which they are treated with huge respect, trying to reflect it in their creativity (sculpture, art, woodcarving, and other kind of creative work).

So, the formation of spiritual and cultural values of Hutsuls and developments of their view of the world, is impossible without practicing in hunting and fishing, which is always, plays the role of additional unit of national economy in general, for Hutsuls, being his life, subject of his proud, without which he could not imagine his life.