On Saturday morning

by Krzysztof Turowski

Saturday, 6 am. The alarm clock does not give up, so I have to get up. Quietly,to not wake up my wife.

Coffee, some fruit, because I do not have time for a normal breakfast. A glance through the window – there is fresh snow. It’s very windy, and cold –  thermometer shows -10 Celcius (14 Fahrenheit) . I put on an extra layer of clothes and go to the place of our meeting.

The master of the hunt starts the briefing. This time without weapons – we have a very serious task. Once again this year, we will look for dead wild boars that had been killed by the African swine fever virus (ASFV).  The virus causes a haemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in pigs and wild hogs.

In Poland, the first ASF cases were detected in 2014 in some dead wild boars. Since then, we are tilting at windmills.

Currently in our country, we have found 1445 cases of fever (https://bip.wetgiw.gov.pl/asf/mapa/). Mainly in the east, in the center in the area of the Kampinos National Park, and on the north, next to the Kaliningrad Oblast.

My Hunter’s Club game shooting district is in so-called ‘yellow zone’. It means, we do not have any cases yet, but we need to keep the biosecurity. For example – we have to use disinfectants, and every hunted boar is tested for the virus.

Despite many efforts, the ASFV virus is still spreading. The worst thing is that hunters, who are the most involved group in the fight against this disease are also most accused group.

We get in to car and drive to the post. Snow and wind do not give up, but we are moving. First, wastelands, then bush and forest. We move along the game’s paths, also looking for snares, from which two weeks ago we rescued a young fawn. He was so exhausted that he probably would not have survived night. Fortunately, there are no new snails.

Short break to regroup, we go to a different place and move on. In the meantime, other late hunters are coming.

After all, the master of the hunt, gives us bags with grain for pheasants. We divide into smaller groups, and when the search is done we go on feeding.

I’m getting back to my home by late afternoon. I am cold, but I know that I did a lot of good things today. I have been fighting the virus, searching for new snares, feeding pheasants. I am proud of myself.

Next day, I see a post on one of the anti-hunting pages.  Once again, we have been called murderers and degenerates. There is a random photo of some dead game. As always, there is the account number “for nature protection” included.

Someone honest, not even a hunter, puts a comment with a link to the article about the car accident from which this game photo were taken. The comment disappears as quickly as it appears, and I am sure its author will get a lifetime ban.

I read all this and wonder – whether the man who wrote this anti-hunting post, did in one year as much for nature as I made in this one morning.

Happy Hunting!

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