As the moon rose and night fell, we picked up our guns and infrared binoculars, ready to begin our hunting trip. We were three professors from the University of Brisbane in Australia – Webster Reade, Clara Toynbee, and myself – filled with curiosity and anticipation for Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino in central Italy. This is a regional natural park with magnificent mountains, mysterious canyons, ancient castles, and abundant wildlife. We wanted to experience the thrill of hunting here while also learning about local history, culture, and cuisine.

Our destination for the hunting trip was Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino – a regional natural park located about 100 kilometers from Rome in central Italy. The park was established in 1989 on an area of 56,400 hectares mainly composed of two mountain ranges: Sirente and Velino. These two mountain ranges belong to the Central Apennines Mountains and Marsica Mountains respectively; they are among the highest peaks in Italy. Here we could enjoy magnificent mountainscapes with lakeshores as well as explore mysterious canyons caves along with ancient castle villages that are home to diverse flora & fauna.

The history of Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino dates back to prehistoric times when human activity had already left its mark here. In medieval times it became a territory owned by many nobles & churches who built numerous castles & monasteries including Medici family’s castle located at Celano city which is now turned into a museum showcasing Renaissance architecture style . In modern times this place has also experienced some wars & disasters such as bombing during World War II or earthquake occurred in 1965 but people here have always maintained respect & love towards nature & culture striving hard to protect this land.

Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino boasts beautiful ecological environment diversity where there are seven peaks over 2000 meters above sea level such as Monte Velino (2486 meters), Monte Sirente (2348 meters), Magnola (2225 meters) etc. These mountain ranges are covered with dense forests mainly composed of tree species like beech, oak, maple etc. In the forest there are also many clear streams, waterfalls, lakes and springs. The most famous one is Stiffe Cave – an underground karst cave system formed by water flow where you can see spectacular stalactites & curtains of water. Besides forests & watersheds there are some open grasslands, swamps and farmlands where we can observe some unique or rare plants such as purple iris, white lily or buttercup.

Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino is also a paradise for wildlife where many mammals, birds reptiles amphibians insects etc live here. Among them the most exciting ones are large carnivores such as wolves bears foxes wildcats etc which although difficult to catch add challenge & fun to our hunting trip . Apart from these animals there are also some common herbivorous animals like deer wild boar rabbits squirrels that serve as main targets for hunting while being important food sources for locals too . As for birds here we have some rare raptors like royal griffon vulture eagle owl peregrine falcon golden eagle etc which not only possess beautiful appearance and strong flying ability but also play important ecological roles serving as predators scavengers in nature’s food chain . Regarding reptiles amphibians insects here we have some interesting species too such as viper salamander butterfly bee providing food pollination services to other animals making up vital components of ecosystem.

Our hunting activities mainly focus on the Sirente Mountains in Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino, as there are more wild animals and terrain suitable for hunting. We chose a weekend last month because the weather was good and there were not too many tourists to disturb us. We left at 6 am every morning and returned at 10 pm, hunting for two days in total. Our equipment included firearms, ammunition, knives, tents, sleeping bags, food, water, first aid kits and other necessities. We also brought some extra items such as cameras, flashlights and compasses. However, our most important equipment was our infrared binoculars from the Chinese brand Wildguarder which is cost-effective with powerful functions.

Infrared binoculars are devices that can see targets clearly in darkness by using the principle of infrared radiation to convert thermal energy emitted by targets into visible light. This allows us to observe and track animals at night without being detected or frightened by them. We used Wildguarder’s infrared binoculars which have several advantages:
• It has a high-definition display screen and high-magnification lens that allow us to see details far away.
• It has multiple modes and functions that can be adjusted according to different environments and needs.
• It has long battery life with waterproofing design making it adaptable under various harsh conditions.
• It is lightweight making it easy to carry around.

Using Wildguarder’s infrared binoculars greatly helped us during our hunt while providing enjoyment as well. We could see some animals that are difficult to spot during daytime such as wolves,bears,and foxes etc., we could also easily find common prey like deer,wild boar,rabbits etc.,and take beautiful photos of them while recording our hunting experiences.

Of course,hunting activities also encountered difficulties and challenges.Firstly,hunting is a dangerous sport requiring attention to safety and legal regulations. We received professional training and assessment before departure, obtaining legal permits and certificates. During hunting, we also followed some basic principles and rules:
• Do not hunt protected or endangered animals.
• Do not exceed the limit or season of hunting.
• Do not hunt cubs or pregnant females.
• Do not waste or kill animals indiscriminately.
• Do not disturb or damage nature.
• Do not harm or threaten other people or animals.
• Do not use illegal weapons or equipment that are unsuitable for hunting purposes
.•Do not hunt in prohibited areas with danger signs posted
.•Do no drink alcohol while driving during the hunting trip.

Secondly, hunting is a sport that requires skill and experience, as well as careful observation and judgment. We encountered some problems and confusion while hunting:
• How to identify the species, gender, age, and health of animals
• How to determine their behavior, habits, and range of activity
• How to judge their direction, distance, and speed
• How wind direction, light conditions, and sound affect the hunt
• How to choose suitable firearms, bullets, and shooting angles
• How to handle the animal after it has been shot down

Finally,hunting is a sport that requires physical strength and endurance. We also experienced fatigue during our hunts:
• Enduring long periods of walking,crawling,and carrying heavy equipment
• Coping with high altitude environments , low temperatures ,and dryness
• Preventing injuries,infections,and poisoning
• Replenishing water,nutrition,and energy
• Relieving muscle,joint,and nerve pain
• Adjusting mental state,mood,and sleep

Despite these difficulties,challenges we faced during our hunts we gained many benefits from them.We not only enjoyed the pleasure of hunting but also exercised our bodies,gained knowledge,fostered friendships.We have developed deeper understanding,respect for nature,living beings.

 

hunting

 

We would like to thank Wildguarder for providing us with high-quality infrared binoculars which made night-time hunting more convenient,safe.Also Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino for providing us such a beautiful place where we could enjoy this amazing experience.

In addition to hunting activities in Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino ,we visited some interesting places where we experienced local history,culture.The three most impressive places were Celano Canyon,the Stiffe Caves,and Medici Family Castle.

Celano Canyon is a deep narrow fissure located below the Sirente Mountains.It is known as the Grand Canyon of central Italy because of its spectacular beauty. In the canyon, we could see cliffs up to 200 meters high,a river only a few meters wide,and various shapes and colors of rocks.We hiked through the canyon along the riverbed,feeling the power and charm of nature.At the end of the canyon,we also saw a small waterfall called Fonte degli Innamorati which was very refreshing.

The Stiffe Caves are an underground karst cave system formed by water flow located at the northern foot of Sirente Mountains.It is a very unique and mysterious place where many stalactites and curtains can be seen.We joined a guided tour led by a guide to enter into caves’ interior.Inside,the sound of flowing water could be heard,and different shapes and colors of rocks and crystals were visible.We also saw some animal bones,fossils,and prehistoric human tools,paintings.At deepest part in cave ,we even saw an enormous curtain-like waterfall that was 30 meters high and 10 meters wide which was truly magnificent.

The castle of the Medici family is a Renaissance-style building located in the center of Celano, built in the 15th century. It was an important stronghold for the Medici family in central Italy and is a treasure trove of history and art. We visited both the interior and exterior of the castle, admiring its architectural style and decorative details. We also saw some precious artifacts and works on display at the museum inside, such as pottery, paintings, sculptures, weapons, etc. At the top floor of the castle, we could overlook all of Celano city and surrounding mountains.

In addition to sightseeing, we also tasted some local cuisine at Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino to experience their flavors and specialties. The three most satisfying foods were sheep cheese, lamb soup, and almond cookies.

Sheep cheese is one of the traditional foods made from sheep’s milk with various flavors and shapes available – salty or sweet; soft or hard. We bought some fresh sheep cheese from a small farm which tasted very rich when paired with bread and honey. We also tried an Italian pasta dish made with sheep cheese at a restaurant which was equally delicious.

Lamb soup is another specialty dish made by stewing lamb meat along with potatoes onions carrots etc., giving it a strong meaty flavor that can warm your stomach while nourishing your body. We ate hot bowls of lamb soup at a mountain cabin feeling comfortable & satisfied; later buying fresh lamb meat from market to grill ourselves back at our tent which was quite enjoyable too.

Almond cookies are sweet treats made using almonds sugar egg whites etc., being one among many famous local products there having soft texture & sweet aroma making them perfect for breakfast or snacks! We bought some almond cookies from a bakery shop pairing them up with coffee/tea feeling relaxed & happy; even visiting an almond cookie factory where we learned about their production process along with tips/tricks.

Our hunting trip was a very memorable and meaningful experience. We not only enjoyed the thrill of hunting but also appreciated the beautiful scenery, tasted local cuisine, and experienced the history and culture of Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino. We believe it is a place worth visiting as it has diverse natural resources, wildlife, rich history/culture & delicious food. We thank wildguarder for providing us with high-quality infrared binoculars that made night hunting more convenient and safe; we also appreciate Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino for providing such a beautiful and magical hunting ground. We recommend readers to try this kind of travel experience too but remember to follow local laws/regulations & environmental protection requirements!

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