Magdeburg resident Kristfrid Berends learnt about the small one-house Belarusian village of Padar in the Internet. It is the third time he has come here: “Travel agency Westphalia- Jagdreisen I bought the tour from offers 5-6 tours around Belarus, but after visiting Krugloye district for the first time, I understood that I will never change my choice. I am 100% sure next year or in two years I will return here again”.
57-year-old Kristfrid will not return to his native Germany from Krugloye district empty-handed, but with a trophy — magnificent antlers. Actually it is what brings hunter Kristfrid to Teterinskoye hunting reserve year after year. Though trophy luck was unfair to him in the past, all the same, every September he packed up and left for faraway Belarus. To roam through forests with a rifle, spend a night in an ambush hoping to track down a wild animal.
“Hunters who come to us from the other end of the world always see their pray. There is no such thing: a man spends three days in an ambush, but the boar or the elk did not come,” says head hunter of Teterinskoye hunting reserve Andrei Shimchuk. “Our hunters always ask what animal the foreign guest has in mind, what age, weight of the deer, elk, roe deer, or boar he wants to get, and brings the foreigner directly to the place the animal roams. The foreign hunter just has to take his best shot. Sometimes they fail. Sometimes the hunter sees the animal and lowers his rifle, pitying the wild beast. I remember one German stout fellow took a long time to decide whether he should shoot and then cried over the deer he had killed… One of these days a compatriot of him missed a huge elk, though he’d been practising shooting sport since the age of seven. He missed. Though he was standing not on a tower, but on the ground — just about one hundred metres from the beast. He told me later he had been bewildered when he saw such a magnificent beast up close and his hand failed him”.
There are picturesque places in Krugloye district. Virgin forests and speaking names of the villages — Volkovschina (wolf area), Stai (packs), Zalosye (beyond elk area)… Along with Germans in autumn the place attracts hunters from Austria, America, Poland, Czechia, and Italy. Every nation has its omens. “Germans are not superstitious, they don’t ask the driver to turn back if a woman with empty buckets crosses the road or a black cat does. If they forget to take their binocular with them, they just return to take it and wouldn’t spit over their left shoulder. But they get offended if you wish them a lucky hunt. It is a taboo. Such a wish will scare away all the luck,” says interpreter Maksim Bukatov, who’s been coming to the place from Vitebsk for years to serve as a mediator between foreign hunters and Belarusian ones. “When they drink, they clink glasses only with the left hand. It is a custom. By the way, many of them treat hunting not as an adventure, but as a service. In Padar they like everything — the nature, people, animals, which is why they come to this place from hundreds of kilometres”.
A short while ago Italian Andreo Feragutti left for home happy — he managed to shoot a boar whose tusks were 24 centimetres long! Truly a rare sight. The tusks cost Andreo almost 800 euros. He paid another 679 euros for staying in a comfortable hunter hut: the foreigner came to stay in Belarus for seven days. One day of the rifle-roaming in the forest pleasure costs a foreigner 97 euros.
Last year profits of the experimental hunting reserve Teterinskoye totalled 120 million rubles. This year’s figure made 170 million, with 100 million paid by foreign hunters. It is one of the best performance figures across Belarus. The hunting reserve’s guestbook has only good opinions. “A strong company, powerful potential, good discipline, magnificent nature, lots of game,” foreign hunters wrote down.