What is hunting?
It would seem an unnecessary question. But it often arises, and with a more thorough search for an answer, a lot of doubts arise. Do we correctly understand the essence of such an important sphere of human existence? Both disputes and mutual reproaches among the hunters themselves, and the increasingly denial of the hunt by the uninitiated, made us think about this.
Speaking of hunting in general, one cannot limit oneself to only the traditional concept, which implies the extraction of animals and birds, either with a gun, or with the help of other animals or traps. No wonder in the last century in Russia, under their hunt, everyone implied their hobby, be it horses, pigeons or songbirds. But even then, a passion for ballet or collecting paintings was not associated with the concept of “hunting”.
The hunts belonged to hobbies related to nature, to admiring the life of the wild nature and to one’s own participation in this life. The hunter in the true sense of the word, for example, the canine one, least of all enjoyed the brave jump of a comrade in action, he was attracted by his own excitement, fueled by the appearance of the beast and the work of his four-legged assistant. This hunter is fundamentally different, say, from the music lover, ready for hours to listen to the master’s inspired game, taking absolutely no direct part in creating music and playing it. Whereas the hunter is necessarily the creator himself.
Of course, a person who is not very familiar with hunting can say that in a similar way the old boyars observed the greyhounds and falcons without any involvement in fishing. The fact of the matter is that even a high-ranking hunter, who had servants to perform many hunting duties, nevertheless wanted to, and was forced to set up gyrfalcons or a greyhound himself, and then ride after them so as not to miss all the vicissitudes of the struggle.
Although in most cases hunting has lost its commercial value, nevertheless, the result of this attractive action for an amateur remains a specific prey, no matter how separate “pure athletes” claim. Our ancestors took too long to catch animals to satisfy their needs – there was still a desire in our blood to bring something real to the “cave”, whether it was a piece of meat or the fang of a dangerous beast. Therefore, some assurances sound unconvincing that they are only attracted to hunting by the opportunity to make a beautiful shot at a moving target in difficult conditions. This is not a real hunter. This is an athlete who does not care where and by what to shoot, the object and the audience would be. Such a shooter will immediately change the hunt as soon as he lands on a stand perfectly equipped with targets of various types and gathering a crowd of onlookers to shoot. Well-known canine hunter P. Machevarianov caustically wrote about such people back in the 19th century: “These are fanfarons who are subordinate to fashion with their soul and body, no matter how wild, time it may be.”
Amateur, non-commercial hunting, for some reason it is considered to be considered a sport. Perhaps the arrow-athletes contributed to this. But is sport a hunt? Perhaps, yes, because in most cases, modern hunting has all the features of a sporting competition held with the participation of real teams with elements of celebration and mass celebration.
But hunting has that exceptional feature, which is a celebration of the soul of a person who even finds himself at this celebration in complete solitude. Yes, he not only lives a real life, earning himself a piece of meat, as his distant ancestor did it, he celebrates because he broke out of the circle of everyday life, he competes with the beast and his hobby companion, albeit without witnesses – he always can present a trophy, or just a story about his luck. It is difficult to name such a hunt alone, which is loved by thousands of owners of rifles and dogs, only sports. There is more to it.
For example, the fact that knowledge of the beloved wildlife was always of great importance to the hunter was also mentioned by Aksakov himself, a passionate hunter who left to his descendants amazing “notes” about his hobby.
“Despite the hobby with which I always indulged in various kinds of hunting, the tendency to observe the customs of birds, animals and fish never left me and even sometimes forced me to sacrifice my prey to satisfy my curiosity, which is not a joke for a hot hunter.”
A lot of other wonderful people, among whom there were reluctants, said warm words about our passion, introducing their weighty grains into the definition of a concept – hunting.
It contains the charm of solitude alone with nature, and the celebration of the soul, and curiosity, and the protection of all living things, and the joy of life, and, of course, the sporting elements of competition and excitement.
Of the aforementioned in hunting, everyone attracts their own, beloved, often at odds with the generally accepted opinion in a narrow circle. Hunters should be aware of this and respect their fellow hobby, not blaming him for his special outlook on hunting.