This was our second time in Latvia this year. This time we were invited to the season’s opening hunt. The hunt was exciting and the company grand. As it is common in bird hunting, every man there had their own smoothbore hunting guns, one older than the other, which is quite common in Latvia. The firing pin of my gun broke already with the first shot and the hunt was that much shorter and unproductive for me because of it. However, the beauty of the hunt and of the organization was something I could observe the whole day. Those people whose job it is to deal with everything that comes with hunting and to organize hunts are lucky to do it for living! It is, of course, fascinating to see how the same people, with extreme care, set the hunters in place in line and explained with motherly patience the safety rules – all of this from the beginning of the day until the end.
The Latvians like if everything is repeated constantly, because they do not want to move according to the arrangements. The line has to be crooked, and at the same time pictures have to be taken as well. But when the first bird takes flight from the grass…Yes! That is an experience of its own kind – how the bird proudly flies in front of the whole line of hunters and when having survived even the last man’s shots, safely reaches the edge of the forest. And when the commotion passed and the hunters were properly in line the next birds were not so lucky to escape!
Pheasant hunting is also in very high regards in Latvia. Honestly, if you ignore the strict artificiality of that hunt, it is still a quite regal one and won’t leave a single hunter indifferent. Dogs also enjoy pheasant hunting – the hunt is quick and thorough. Every bush and shrub is searched. All the puddles are swimmed through and no height (of bushes) will be an obstacle. The shots that are fired and heard by the dogs make them even livelier and wherever the bird falls, the dogs follow quickly. Fast and active, the noticeably well-built dogs praise the day. The dogs praise it, the hunters as well.
And if you do not have a gun…then you have to use your paws :)
Photos by Kate Štern