Day 15: Hunting in Poland

Our group with Leszek (fourth from the left)

Today Leszek (Frederick) picked us up bright and early to drive us to the school where Dr. Lambert would meet us. In both vans we have ridden in, Leszek has a bobble head dog on his dashboard. We had decided to surprise him with the bobble head dog and a key-chain with his name on it this morning and wrote him a card in Polish to thank him for driving us these last two weeks. We used Google Translate to write the card so there is no telling what we actually wrote or if it was grammatically correct. He laughed and clapped and blew us kisses when we gave it to him. I am firmly convinced there has never been a more grateful and jolly man than Leszek was in that moment. Somehow it feels like our trip would have been very different if his smile wasn’t the first one we saw every morning. On our way home he requested to have a picture taken with us (above).

The shelter where we held class

Today Simon and Lech took us to the area where they hunt and gave us a presentation on the rules and regulations of hunting in Poland. Lech started off the day with a melody on a traditional hunter horn. We learned about the process of getting a license and the strict regulations on what can be hunted, when, and by whom. Next we discussed problems facing hunting in Poland  such as shrinking hunting areas due to urbanization, damage to crops from trampling and grazing, and poaching by dogs and by human-placed snares. Hunting in Poland is important for providing meat to the hunters and to the public but also extremely important for protecting the crop populations since almost all of the species which can be hunted are grazing animals. It is brings in additional income through the sale of trophy animals, mostly to foreigners who pay a steeper price.

Watching the grazing animals

We had only just begun going over species which can be hunted when Lech came to us in haste and asked us to drive out to field to see some grazing herds before they moved along. Leszek drove us out there with all of our binoculars in tow and we were able to watch mouflon, fallow deer, and roe deer graze from across a field of corn. After watching them for a while, we made our way back to the the shelter and continued our lecture while Lech built up a fire to cook pork and Polish sausages for our lunch.

 

My view from the hay-ride wagon

Lech had already arranged for us to take a carriage ride (which was really more of a hay ride than anything) through the gardens of a nearby palace. We dodged tree branches and enjoyed the warm sunshine as we took our pioneer-like journey. There was a shift in vegetation as we approached the palace and the placement of trees and other plants appeared to become more intentional. The Palace of Lubostroń was built between 1795 and 1800 and designed by Stanisław Zawadzki, a famous architect. The beautiful palace was not immune to the wave of destruction brought about by World War II and lost many of its valuable artifacts and artwork during the war. It has since undergone restoration and is used as a beautiful hotel and wedding venue today. It was a lovely sight and a bride and groom rode by us in their own carriage which was adorable.

Palace of Lubstroń

The wagon driver, who did not speak any English and definitely did not read it was wearing a shirt which said “I tried to sniff coke once but the ice got stuck in my nose”. He asked for a translation of his shirt when we laughed at it and was both embarrassed and amused when he found out what it said. We ate and then Leszek drove us home. I spent the rest of the evening resting since I didn’t feel particularly well today. I’m hoping to feel better tomorrow for our train ride to Krakow.

 

 

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