Yuki Kuroda (23 years old), who is engaged in forestry in Misato Town, is one of them. Their main business is planting saplings and mowing undergrowth to help trees grow, but they also hunt on weekends and holidays.
I thought it was natural to go hunting when I grew up
ーHow old were you when you started hunting? I got my hunting rifle license when I was 20, so it must have been around that time.
Photo: I grew up watching my father, who was a hunter, and hunting was part of my life from an early age. Hunting also started naturally.
-Why did you decide to go hunting?
My father used to hunt, and I watched it from an early age, so when I was old enough to get a hunting license, I had to get a license for a hunting rifle, and I thought I would have to hunt. I thought so.
So, when I turned 20, it started in a very natural way.
-I'm sure you've seen your father hunting before, but didn't you dislike it?
It's true that when I was a child, I had to help out with various things, and I only thought it was troublesome, but I wonder what it was. I wanted to shoot a gun. My father's guns are cool, and I used to imitate them with toy guns when I was a child.
ーSo, do you remember the first time you went hunting after you got your hunting rifle license?
I remember. I think I killed the deer then. Two deer came out and I aimed and shot them but they didn't hit, but the deer went to my father and my father killed one and finally killed the one that came back near me. .
-How did you feel when you killed your prey with the bullet you shot for the first time?
My legs were shaking, I was so excited (laughs). I sorted it out myself.
ーYou also do the judging yourself. How did you learn how to handle it?
I've been watching them since I was a kid, and I've been helping them before I started hunting, so I naturally learned them.
( Picture): Mr. Kuroda skillfully tweezers a wild boar he has caught. It's something I've done many times since I was a child.
-How often do you go hunting each year?
I have a job and my children are still small, so maybe twice a month. I haven't been able to go much lately.
(▲ Photo): All the prey caught. Handle the prey you caught yourself, appreciate the blessings of the mountains, and enjoy the delicious food.
The real thrill of hunting is the thrill and excitement
-Please tell us the most memorable scene of your hunting so far.
Was it last year? A wild boar and a hunting dog were fighting in the garden of a private house, and the time when I killed it left the biggest impression on me. The dog had weakened the boar to some extent, so it never came towards me, but I was frightened because the boar was right next to me. That's why I was so happy when I got the job.
- On the other hand, are there any scenes you didn't like?
It started to rain while we were hunting, so we decided not to go out today, so we went looking for a hound in the mountains.
I went into the mountain without a gun because I was just looking for a dog, but just then I found the dog I was looking for and a wild boar fighting one-on-one. It's popular...
The dog wasn't in a life-threatening condition, but if I had taken a gun with me at that time, I wouldn't have missed my prey.
- As with anything, it's not all fun. Where is the fun in hunting?
Well, the preparations before going are troublesome, but once you go, it's really fun. Excitement and thrills.
Also, it is more fun to go with several people than to go alone. If you go alone, the chances of seeing the prey are low, but if you go with a group of people, it's interesting to have a hound dog chase the prey and see the excited exchanges of going this way and that way.
(▲ Photo): Most of the area of Misato Town is forest. Young people are moving away from town, and the late-stage aging rate, which indicates the percentage of people aged 75 and over, is also high. Mr. Kuroda's main business is "afforestation." Find time between work and family, and hunt during the limited time on your days off.
- Don't you want to own a hunting dog?
Well, I don't think you can grow unless you really like it. It's the same with raising them, but you have to train them and raise them into good hunting dogs. But you can't catch prey without a hound.
If you don't let the dog chase the prey and put it out in the right place, the prey won't come out even if you're standing with a gun. Also, it's better to have a hunting dog as a countermeasure against wildlife damage. If the dog barks and runs around, the wild boar won't come near it.
-Do you want your child to hunt?
No, I don't think so. It's a lot of trouble. Of course it can be dangerous. But if you want to do it, I will let you do it. My father never told me to get a hunting license either.
-I see. Then, please tell us if you have any future goals for hunting.
I'd like to kill a big boar with my gun. The one that weighs about 80 kilos. I have only caught wild boars weighing about 40kg.
Living in relationship with the "mountain"
Mr. Kuroda says with a smile that he enjoys working in the mountains and hunting because he feels a sense of accomplishment because he can see the results of what he has done.
It was impressive to me that they valued the relationship between mountains, nature, and people, and enjoyed living in a mountain village. I also learned from this interview that they take pride in their forestry and hunting activities.
Towards the goal of killing big wild boars, I hope that hunting, which is an important culture of mountain villages, will be inherited and protected.