Без рубрики, Hunting in Russia

A Bit of History.

Czar Falconry

Czar Alexey Mikhailovich (1629-1676; r. 1645-1676) was perhaps the most sporting of Russian monarchs; the first Russian dedicated hunting book ever – “Урядник сокольничья пути” (The Master of the Way of Falconry) – is said to be composed by him personally, or at least at his direct and competent supervision.

Czar falcon and gun

Hawking and coursing, naturally, comprised the lion’s share of Czar Alexey’s sport, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t room for firearms. Guns were used to dispatch the cripples that escaped to water, and when waterfowl would not rise from their safe position in the middle of the lake, the Czar’s hunters would fire their guns at the birds, to make them fly.

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Без рубрики, Hunting in Russia

In Russian Hunting Magazine – March 2017.

At the End of the World.

(goose hunting in the Subarctic)

 by Konstantin Samokhin.

Photo by Rinat Mustafin, Victor Kuzerin

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Few things excite a hunter more than the sounds of a goose flock in the sky. In spring you feel the sweet anticipation of hunts to come; in autumn you usually ponder the frailty of existence. Somehow, goose hunting always makes one uncommonly philosophical. “Whither are you going?” – wonders a hunter watching a flock of geese on their way North. Continue reading

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Без рубрики, Hunting in Russia

Another story from Russian Hunting Magazine.

A Different Order of Things.

By Mikhail Krechmar.

Published in December 2016 issue, photos by the author.

Condensed translation into English by me

 

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It’s not very pleasant to sleep over a stream of running water bubbling under the truck. It’s even less pleasant to wake up knowing that you’re going to spend the next few hours toiling knee deep in a mixture of moss and mud, to set the vehicle free. Still, there was no way out of it. You are the only rescue team you’ll get, this is what Siberians learn with their first breath. Continue reading

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Без рубрики, Hunting in Russia

A Bit of History: St. Trifon’s Day.

On February 14th, Russian Orthodox Chirch celebrates the day of Saint Trifon.

According to the canonic story, one of the falconers in the hunt of Ivan the Terrible was called Trifon. During one of the hunts, Trifon somehow let escape an especially valuable falcon, and had to recover the bird or face one of the punishments that were the reason why Ivan IV got his moniker. After three days of fruitless search, Trifon fell asleep under a tree, having made his prayers first. Then his patron saint appeared to him in a dream, as a youth on a white horse with a falcon on his hand, and told him to take the bird and return to the Czar. When Trifon avoke, he saw the falcon perched on the tree under which he was lying. The Czar gave Trifon a generous reward for recovering the bird, and Trifon in turn used the reward to put up a chapel dedicated to St. Trifon on the place where he found the falcon (the extended version of the story has it that the falcon was found at the estate of a Boyar, whose daughter Trifon eventually married). St. Trifon has since been honored in Russia as patron saint for hunters and fishers.

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Без рубрики, Hunting in Russia

A Bit of History.

The first record of hunting birds with firearms in Russia dates back to 1602. Prince Johann, brother of Christian, King of Denmark, travelled to Moscow to be engaged to Xenia, daughter of Boris Godunov, then Czar of Russia. On his way, Prince Johann shot “little ducks” with a samopal (a “self-firing” gun, i.e., a wheel lock or a flint lock), and “returned to town late and was very pleased”, writes Nikolai Kutepov in his “Great Princes and Czars Hunting on the Rus’, IX-XVI Centuries”  (1896).

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Hunting in Russia

Wild Pigs, Government Offices and Old Presumptions.

Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, and unlike Dante, I’m not speaking metaphorically. Dusk was setting as I was riding the snowmobile behind the gamekeeper to the stationary blind where I was to wait for wild boar – my first big-game hunt in the whole 40 years of my life. Why did a born hunter like me take so long to even try it? That’s a long story – and it’s less about me and more about the how hunting in Russia is (and in the USSR was) organized. Continue reading

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