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

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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