Sent the English digest of the Russian Hunting Magazine for 2018 this week. With every issue we choose two best stories, and run condensed English translations of them. When the year’s over, we get them together and publish in a separate issue. Of course, the stories lose a lot when cut from 1,500-2,000 words, but overall they give a pretty good impression of the hunting and hunting gun world in Russia. Here are a few snapshots of the third annual issue, for 2018. Continue reading
Many news sources worldwide reported on the state of emergency declared on the Russian archipelago Novaya Zemlya. The reason for the emergency is that there are over 50 polar bears ‘terrorizing’ the township of Belushya Guba. The animals stay near residential buildings in spite of all attempts to scare them away. The local residents are afraid to leave their homes, and some bears even began to penetrate the buildings. Rosprirodnadzor (controlling body for environment protection) did not authorize killing problem bears. Instead, they formed a commission which was to fly to the islands Tuesday and make a decision on the spot.
The information presented in English-language news sources is accurate (although slightly incomplete), and there wouldn’t be any need in my comments on the issue, if it weren’t for the reaction of the hunting community. “Time to thin the herd”. “Weren’t the polar bears supposed to die because of global warning?”, “bad government won’t let good people kill bad bears”, and comments on these lines seem to fill the hunting pages in social media. And, I have to respectfully suggest that these commenters might be jumping to conclusion without first properly informing themselves of all aspects of the issue. Continue reading
The new flashmob on Facebook that encourages hunters to post their hunting photos may actually fuel up anti-hunting sentiment.
You log on your Facebook account, click on the red number that flashes up against the little Earth image, and read “So-and-so tagged you in the post”. You know So-and-so to be a fellow hunter, so you click on the post, and see a hunting picture and a request for you to post one, too – to “flood Facebook with hunting pictures instead of junk“. You pick up one of yours, and past it on, tagging another hunting buddy… nothing wrong with it, right? Continue reading
“Young an inexerienced” is how Konstantin Snezhko captioned this video, showing a 2-3 y.o. Amur tiger that has just been driven off by mother tigress to make an independent start. This is perhaps the most dangerous time in a tiger’s life – natural curiosity combined with lack of experience can easily get one into trouble, and the need to cover vast distances in search of appropriate territory only makes things worse.
This search will sometimes take tigers to places totally unsuitable for them – like a big city. The big city in question is Vladivostok, a major port on the Russian Pacific coast, and capital of the Primorye Region that houses Russia’s tiger population. The city authorities used to deny the tigers’ existence within city limits – until October of 2016, when one was captured by a dashboard camera.
It took a few days to locate and immobilize the animal, but – surprize, surprize – it wasn’t the end of it. Just a week later another tiger was caught in Vladivostok! Both tigers were placed in a special tiger shelter and relocated into the wilderness after being vetted and equipped with tracking collars. They apparently thrived on a diet of grabage and stray dogs (dogs being a delicasy for Amur tigers), found ample shelter in parks and abandoned industrial and construction areas, so they were probably not the first and certainly not the last tigers to visit Vladivostok.
How numerous and healthy is Russia’s tiger population is an open question. Environmentalist bodies such as WWF, especially when on a donation drive, claim that Russian tigers are dangerously low in numbers and balance on the edge of extinction. The alternative opinion is that Primorye’s tiger population, estimated at about 600 animals, is healthy and sustainable. The number of tiger encounters seems to support the latter – but it doesn’t mean, of course, that tigers shouldn’t be rigorously guarded. Like on this video, where a protective tigress meets anti-poaching squad.
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
All right, so what if this blog is at present mostly about Russian hunting whatever, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in larger conversational issues – if only at the “hit the bloody repost button” level. So here goes:
Why am I reposting (all right, linking and commenting on) it?
If you have a real serious interest in polar bears, you must have this book – because this is about the only recent and reliable source of information in the English language on the Russian population of the species. For hunters and conservationalists, biologists and sociologists alike, the book provides tons of data. Its main question is “what do local people think of polar bears and what they do to them”, but it has answers for a whole lot more, from “Does introduction of a species in the endangered lists do anything to its survival?” to “Is global warming real?”.
Anatoly is my Livejournal friend, and perhaps the greatest living Russian authority on Polar bears. This book is the result of decades of field trips, biological and sociological studies.For a free download of the book in English click here.
Anatoly is also a fantastic photographer. See for yourself:
and visit his Livejournal page for more.