Wonderful Wildlife

Singing in the snow: capercailzie.

1073765_1000

A photograph by Valeriy Maleev, perhaps the best contemporary Russian wildlife photographer. It is a very rare shot, because capercailzie don’t usually do their spring mating song when the weather is that bad.

Valeriy started out as a hunter, a trophy hunter even, before he put down the guns and took the camera, and it might have nothing to do with the images he takes – his blog deserves a visit from anyone who enjoys pictures of wildlife – but there’s one thing that I can’t get out of my mind: all hunters turned photographers claim that you can no longer kill the species you take pictures of. There’s something very significant in this that I can’t put my finger on.

Advertisements
Standard
Hunting in Russia

Another story from Russian Hunting Magazine – May 2017.

On the Threshold of Capercailzie Lek.

Text and photo by Alexander Prokhorov.

condensed translation into English by Aleksei Morozov

caper

Photo by Daniil Karpichenko, from Russian Hunting Magazine 2013 contest.

The night before another capercailzie lek hunt I seldom get to sleep. Continue reading

Standard
Hunting in Russia

In Russian Hunting Magazine – March 2016.

Would you like to spend your vacation hunting with the nomads of Siberian taiga – the Evenk? This is what Nikolai Vlasov did, and told about it to Russian Hunting Magazine. A great story, very dynamic and picturesque, and I’m very concerned whether I could or couldn’t do it justice in the condensed translation – where I had to fit 4000 Russian words into 2000 English ones – but I tried to do my best. Click on the images to make them larger and enjoy!

rhm 16-3arhm 16-3b

Standard
Hunting in Russia

Capercailzie

Spring capercailzie hunting is a Russian classic. The biggest grouse in the world begins its mating ritual with the male sitting on a tree at a special area known as lek, and singing the mating song. During parts of this song, which last for only a few seconds, the male is deaf; that’s when a hunter moves, usually in a form of a couple of giant leaps, in the direction of the bird. This may sound easy, but it really isn’t, as the bird is deaf only for a couple of seconds at a time; otherwise, it can hear very well and, knowing its vulnerability, is extremely wary. The hunter begins the stalk in the dark, going over leftover snow, bogs, fallen trees, and other impossible terrain. A capercailzie doing the lek song is a common theme for Russian engravers.

гравировка лево 2

My Izh-54 Sh grade.

Below is an extract from “Chasing Spring”, by Nikolai Vlasov, published in April 2015 issue of the Russian Hunting Magazine.

We went through the night, across the wood, swamps and beaver dams. Sleepy ducks would take off now and then, breaking the silence of the taiga with their loud expressions of disappointment, curlews sang their quiet songs in the clearings, woodcocks were doing their mating flight over the tops of the pines. The forest was living its life. We took a rest not far from the lek. Sanya was tending his saddle-sore legs, Kolya and Igor lit their cigarettes, and I was listening to the silence, which was now and then broken by the calls of migrating widgeon and the mad cries of the mating hare. These sounds filled my soul with peace. Then we spread; I went with Igor, and Kolya led Sanya into the marsh, their silhouettes soon vanishing in the dark, and only splashing of their feet could be heard. We approached the lek – the capercailzie mating ground, which spread across the kilometer-long ridge overgrown with pines – from the other side. Continue reading

Standard