Our hunting traditions, customs, ethics, ceremonies, and other hunting rituals in Czech and Slovakia create a hunting culture that has both educational and practical implications for us and generations to come.
The hunter’s character consists of a strict hunting ethic and morals.
In the 18th Century great hunting books were written by German writers describing the hunter’s character. He needed to have great vision, hearing, breathing, a loud voice, healthy and straight teeth. He needed to be fast, tough and alert. He wasn’t allowed to be jealous or be a drunkard. A good hunter should abide by the hunting rules, look after game, be self-possessed, modest, keep traditions, while continually educating himself, and be honest and fair.
Hunter’s language: The hunter’s language is very old. All hunters talk this language during the hunts. Czech and Slovak hunting language is typical for its positive and heartfelt relationship between the game and hunter as well as with nature.
The typical hunters greeting is “Lovu Zdar!”, which in translation means “Good Luck!” And the answer for it is either to repeat “Lovu Zdar!” or just say “Zdar!” - “Thank you!”
But don’t worry; you won’t be required to learn the language, as Shooting Enterprise representatives will be there to interpret and answer all your questions.
Hunter green has been the colour de rigeur for centuries. It is a perfect camouflage colour, as are grey and brown.
For hunting events, the guns have to wear appropriate hunting clothes. Guns dress according to the weather, wearing comfortable boots for walking the unspoiled countryside. We do not keep to a dress code. As long as it is green or green-brown, or dark in colour, it suffices.
Let’s not forget hats, which are green colour, though in winter there are Cossack hats, which are different. Hats are a two-purpose item. First, a hat protects and camouflages the hunter, and second it holds a piece of the trophy on the right side. More on that latter…
Sounds of the horn:
In the 14th century hunting horns were introduced and in the beginning were made of steel. Initially the horn was for playing melodies at the hunts, or for a few hunting signals.
Nowadays we use horn blowing for more reasons. For example, it helps with organization and safety during the hunt and it is practical and aesthetic part of our heritage.
Both ends of the horn hang on a rope, and it is worn on the left shoulder across to the right side of the upper body. Depending on the number of guns one or more horn blowers are invited.
1x long blow /-/ go ahead, beginning of the drive, beginning of the shoot
2x long blow /- -/ stop, line up, beaters goes into the circle and guns shoot only from the circle.
3x long blow /- - -/ do not shoot into the drive, beaters drive the drive back
4x ling blow /- - - -/end of the drive, end of the shoot
Few short blows /………../ view of the bag, calling everyone to view the game bagged
During a group shoot every drive is finished with counting the game bag.
At the end of the day the game is laid on the ground on its right hand side, and every tenth piece (counted from left to right) is moved out slightly from the row. On a mixed hunt, game is laid down according to its weight, size, and gender. Usually, this goes from largest to smallest, and males first.
With this presentation the hunters say goodbye to the game, and they show their appreciation for nature by laying the game on pine tree branches. Bonfires are lit on each corner. In no circumstances should the game be stepped on or over.
Each game has a small branch from a pine tree in its mouth, which represents its last bite.
Hunter’s pine tree branch – last honour to the perished game
This is a symbol joining the hunter with nature.
Three small branches should come from a leafy, or preferably, pine branch.
This must be snapped, not cut, from a tree close to the place where the game was shot and in total should be roughly as big as a man’s palm. As mentioned earlier, the first offshoot branch goes in the game’s mouth as its “last bite”, the second is put on the game’s side and the third is lightly dipped in the game’s blood and placed on the right hand side of the hunter’s hat. It’s worn all day to represent a successful hunt.
This tradition is for most of game except birds.
The hunter keeps the branch and preserves it, or just keeps it in a box. On New Year’s Eve, the hunter opens the box and takes the branches out one by one, to take a moment to evaluate his hunting year.
The last drive traditions:
After the successful day, the hunters gather in a lodge. Usually the walls are decorated with game trophies. As a matter of course, before they sit down the guns need to be locked away securely, and the dogs need to be taken care of.
Don’t forget: tradition says that the left hand should be used when holding a glass at a toast.
Trophies and their Preparations:
In the 16th century, deer trophy preparation was first mentioned. A lot of trophies from the 17th and 18th centuries are still kept in a good condition around the country.
Depending on the game the following would be considered for a trophy presentation:
Deer – an antler, spikes, hide
Fallow deer – palmated antlers
Muflon – muflon horns
Wild Boar – lower tusks, upper tusks, bristles,
Hides are often placed on walls, or are used as rugs
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