A very strange thing happened to me recently. We stopped at the gas station at the entrance to the highway, while driving to friends . The station is quite large with many shelves, as in a classic store. Somewhere, between shelves, I noticed a characteristic hunting hat. Of course I wanted to greet my stranger colleague with a “Darz Bór” (Happy hunting). In response. He answered fleetingly and quickly looked away. This guy was obviously frightened. I wasn’t wearing my hunting clothes, so it seems to me that he could have expected the attack, and he treated my “Happy hunting” as a provocation and not as a reason for a pleasant conversation. I think he could even be ashamed of going or returning from hunting.
We live in strange times, in which our Polish society is convinced that hunters are born murderers. They think, that typical hunter start his day with killing, and finishing it with makeup made of animal’s blood. Unfortunately, we have earned our image by overlooking to many unethical behaviours.
On Friday, I saw news on Internet about the fact, that three hunters were stopped near Piotrków Trybunalski under the influence of alcohol. According to the information, they were returning from a hunt with gun in the trunk.
We all see, that there is a massive anti-hunting campaign in Polish media. But by doing those things, we throw oil on that bonfire. I think we need a really big poured ice water down our neck. I hope that this one called changes in the hunting law is enough. Thoughts, humbleness, reflection on ourselves and our behaviour.
I think I’m not going to pass the truth if I say that hunting in Poland is very much based on Christian traditions. St. Hubert’s Hunt begins with a solemn Mass, often accompanied by our hunting clubs flag. We very often wear a festive clothing. The hunt itself is really just an addition to the celebration of our patron day – day St. Hubert
We are at the end of a Great Fast. It’s a good time for reflection on hunting ethics, and to think – what I did to improve the image of the hunter.
Good Friday is soon. It’s a day, when every christian church will have an all-night vigil, in which many people will probably participate. A guard will appear in front of Jesus’ grave, most of whom are soldiers or firemen. I would like to ask a question – So, where are we all hunters going to be? Do we want to spend this special day on internet forums and hunting groups exchanging pictures with each other from hunting, saying that the good times for hunting have passed away, and hoping, that today nothing stupid about hunters will be shown.
I would like us to spend this day without shame or embarrassment in our beautiful formal uniforms, with our hunter’s club flags, guarding the grave. Side by side with firemen and soldiers, changing a bad image of hunters, which unfortunately t was very much self-inflicted. Let’s just get it together, and go go out into the community. I am more than sure that many priests will be keen to ensure that the hunters also act as guards.
So my dear friend, take the phone, and call your colleagues from the hunting club and suggest that your hunting club can participate in the celebrations of Easter. Let it be the day when the faith will be born, that hunting in Poland is not lost. Let’s start showing hunting of it’s good side.
How many of you are preparing a venison sausage for Easter? Hundreds of hands, right? It may be worth to go on Saturday, with a traditional basket full of a delicious sausage from the hunting club, which we could give to the faithful who come to bless the food. Who would have despised a delicious wild boar sausage in his basket? Now imagine, how many families will talk on Easter Sunday about the sausage loaf they got from the hunter in the church. Maybe even the priest would whisper a nice word during homily?
Even if you don’t do such thing, come in your hunting uniform just for the Saturday’s food blessing. Do same on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. If you meet someone you are in conflict with, do not do not argue with him. Easter is a time for reflection, but also a rebirth. Besides, you’re wearing an uniform, and you represent our hunting association, so it’s not a time for disputes and conflicts. Do not get into unnecessary discussions, because your behaviour can do more harm than good.
There are 120,000 of us – hunters in Poland. We do a hard, and difficult job – protect the nature – which has been given to us by Polish government. Not everyone can be a hunter and not everyone should, and if we already have this honor. Let’s all take care of that people will speak about hunters well or not at all.
Let’s stop doing stupid things, let’s take care of good traditions and cultivate them wisely.
Let’s stop being ashamed of who we are and what we do. When we shake a hand on Easter to a friend who asks what you are wearing, answer with pride – this is a hunting uniform, and I am a hunter.
Well, unless there’s a reason why you should be ashamed to be a hunter. Then hang the uniform in the closet next to the weapon and go back for browsing internet.