Saturday, January 11, 2003

Today I went on a duck hunt in Varanda (Fizuli). No big thrill for me or the Mayor of Martuni, as the two of us are not real hunters.

Though we usually try to hunt alone (less of a hunt and more just to walk around nature), this time we took with us an seasoned hunter (the Mayor�s nephew) and his assistant to carry the kill (another of the Mayor�s nephews).

The Mayor, his daughter and I dropped off the hunter and assistant, four kilometers closer to the front line from the Varanda lake (where I have a fish farm) and drove back to the lake to wait for them to make their way up stream.

While we were at the lake, we decided to do a little bit of hunting ourselves and on a little island with a tree that is in the middle of the lake, the Mayor swore that there were birds in the tree that we could kill if we took our boat out to get closer.

I looked at the tree and it looked like there were at least 7 large birds sitting on it, but looking through binoculars it was clear that they were just old nests which were drooping off the branches. Yes, we really are not hunters.

In a field nearby, it looked like there were geese feasting on a newly planted wheat field. We drove over and snuck up from behind some old abandoned buildings to find that they were not geese, but were storks. Too bad storks are not considered edible or else we would have had a feast.

We returned to the guard�s house at the lake and waited for our hunter and assistant to return with some kill.

Well after two hours, they showed up with two Mallard-ducks, one which looked to me to still be alive. I pointed this out and before I was able to take a picture, our hunter took the duck by its feet and smacked it in the head with the barrel of his rifle, decapitating the duck.

We returned to Martuni with our kill and on the way the Mayor and I admitted that we were not hunters but eaters and proved it when we got back by giving the Mayor�s wife the kill to clean and have ready for us to eat on Monday for lunch as a duck with wheat stew called �koorkoot� or I think we call it �herisa� (see comments from Mama Kocharian as to the difference). If we were real hunters, we would have cleaned the ducks our self and barbequed them on the lake instead of eating a turkey that the Mayor�s wife had fixed for us as she knew we were going to come back empty handed as we usually do.

One thing I learned today is that I really don�t get any thrill in hunting. I�m into hunting for the food, which means that animals that you can�t eat are off limits. I�m usually the driver that takes the hunters to hunt and snaps off the head of some dead animal to drain the blood from their lifeless body for those �hunters� that get squeamish doing such things.

I was thinking while waiting and watching the little black ducks in our lake that hunting should be something you do to survive and feed you and your family and not just for the thrill of going out to kill some living creature. Again, just my opinion and maybe there is more to hunting than what I see it to be.

I was planning on posting a picture of our kill, but I took a picture after the duck was decapitated and thought that it may be a little offensive to some of you animal lovers out there. Apologies to all you blood-thirsty hunters.

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