Is this the end of Polish hunting?

by Krzysztof Turowski

“The end of Polish hunting”, “It’s not hunting anymore,” “Where is the tradition !?”, “Where is our culture?”, “What will you teach young hunters now?” I have encountered such a wave of comments on the Internet recently. There were also others, showing the other party’s opinion and a completely different approach, such as “Finally!”, “It’s about time!”, “Finally someone thought.” Who is right in this dispute and what it is really about – I am hurrying to clarify.

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“Love or hate” is the easiest way to describe the situation we have been observing last days. What are we talking about? I think that below entry will serve as the best introduction to the topic: “1a. For night hunting of wild bores hunter may use night-vision and thermal vision optical sights.” The new hunting regulations and changes related to it are one of the hottest commented things lately not only on the web. Night vision, thermal vision, which is something about what hunters disputes are almost as popular in our country as discussion whether .308cal or .30-06 is better. Until now, the use of such devices for hunting was in Poland illegal. Of course, the devices used for observation were ok, but there was no question about shooting with a cap. Now these tools have been approved for hunting wild boars nationwide and you know what has become of the Polish hunting model in this connection? Nothing.

What you are reading now may be shocking to some people, but absolutely nothing has changed. Hunting is still the same as it was before the changes, and hunting is still the same hunt that we know from previous seasons. However, the tool allowed for hunting has changed, and in only one case – wild boar hunting. In addition, I would like to emphasize that thermal vision is not an obligation, but a possibility. This is not a necessity but an option. This is not a compulsion, but the hunter’s own and conscious decision, and finally the most important point – it is a huge nod to safety during hunting.

Just pick up any book about safety on hunting or accidents to quickly conclude that virtually all fatal accidents involving the use of weapons while hunting are caused by non-compliance with hunting regulations and largely focus on misdiagnosis of the target. Not so long ago, on June 15, our country received the sad news that a hunter shot a 61-year-old man because he thought he was a boar. Everyone who once looked at a good-quality night-vision device or a thermal vision device knows how much it affects the effectiveness of target recognition. We all know that we hunt wild boars mainly at night, and even the most lunar night can turn into cloudy and dark during the full moon. Our traditional binoculars or scopes, no matter how good they are, would not always cope in complete darkness. Thermal vision will. 

In addition, what if under the cover of the same cloudy night a man who would like to steal a basket of potatoes or a few corn cobs from a neighbour succeeds in the potato or corn field? We must not forget about people in a state of intoxication, which can sometimes be found in very different places and positions, as well as about seekers of so-called treasures. It turns out that people with metal detectors have recently become an increasingly common sight in our hunting ground. Because of the law, they often operate under the cover of night, and now what do you think – how will behave a man who does not want to be found in the middle of a dark night in the field? Kneel? Will he lay down? Will he hide in the grain, grass, between potatoes or in the bushes and from time to time he may look to see if it is safe? Didn’t this or similar scenario take place in June? Safety is the basis of hunting, let’s not forget it!

Colleagues referring to hunting ethics and culture forget about some basic principles contained in our set of hunting ethics and traditions.

Point 30, says directly: “Any doubts as to the conduct of organizational life and hunting, hunter decides in accordance with his own conscience.” I think it can be clearly read that if as a hunter you have an ethical problem with such devices, it is simply do not use them. Okay, but what about the approach that “Those hunters with thermal vision will shoot everything” Just look at point 18. “The hunter maintains moderation and composure during the hunt, does not allow the hunting passion to turn into avarice.” And the fact that we operate on the basis of authorization to perform hunting, which each of us receives from the hunter’s club. There is no arbitrariness, let’s not forget about it.

I contacted several stores that have nightvision and thermal imaging devices in their shops to find out if those queues were lined up for those devices as before in front of the apple manufacturer’s stores. It turns out that interest actually increased, but producers did not have to increase production several times. Customers often ask about the price of scopes or monoculars to often realize how much these devices cost. Whoever wanted to buy a monocular device probably already did it, or would do it regardless of changes in the law. Who doesn’t want to, probably won’t. Answering the most important question – is this really the end of Polish hunting? I think we have more important problems to solve, and this change will be good for all of us. What about the wild boars themselves? Let’s enjoy the hunt until it was destroyed by ASF, because in a few years the taste of wild boar sausage can only be a memory.

Happy hunting!

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