A great example that comes to mind is a hunt at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, which I was invited to join in January of 2020 - shortly after the first and only snow of the year. I met local hunters at the meeting point just before 8, when the hunt was supposed to start. But the highlanders, as highlanders are used to, told stories one after another, laughed and cursed terribly, but did not seem as if they had planned to go into the forest that day. Finally, becoming a bit impatient, I asked Tadek, my friend who had invited me, about this.
“Oh, it's simple,” he replied, “the scouts aren't back yet.”
“Trackers. If we don’t find out where the wild boars are located after the night, we can hunt until the evening, but we will not see any game,” Tadek answered.
We waited for at least an hour. Finally, the phone rang - the ‘scouts’ came back with good news and we could start the hunt. We walked uphill one by one in the snow, quiet so as not to spook the game. The leader of the hunt indicated the stands to be taken. I stopped at some young, low, dense spruce trees. My neighbor took a spot 50 meters away, and the rest of my companions disappeared around the bend. After 5 minutes I saw them come back again. There’s an exit track – I heard – the boars are further east, we have to move.
So we advanced about a kilometer. Everything took an hour or so. The snow was 30cm deep, frozen at the top, so it was very difficult to walk in. Fifteen minutes after the beaters disappeared between trees, I heard dogs barking. Wild boars came out and moved left, but no one fired a shot.
“They went down the stream, it was impossible to put anyone there,” the leader told me after a while. “We have to track them down again.”
‘We’, as it turned out, fortunately meant the ‘scouts.’ The rest of the company met by the fire. We took out sandwiches, sausages, and hot tea thermoses from our backpacks. The break lasted almost two hours. In a “normal” hunting situation, we would have had at least two, maybe even three drives behind us. This was completely different. But no one complained, everyone was talking, laughing and cursing again as highlanders do.