I met Kyle Carroll and Ternence Gaskell in a bar in Beijing in the summer of 1998. We were all American students studying Chinese culture and history. The three of us hit it off immediately and enjoyed drinking, chatting, traveling, and hunting together. We all thought that hunting was an exciting and interesting sport that could improve our physical fitness, enhance courage, and cultivate teamwork. We would often drive to the mountains and forests near Beijing on weekends or holidays to hunt, and sometimes we would go to other provinces to look for more game and challenges.
We didn’t know much about China’s hunting regulations, nor did we care. We only knew that we needed licenses and firearms permits to hunt in China and had to comply with restrictions on hunting areas and seasons. But we felt that these were just restrictions on our freedom, and we could avoid them by being careful not to be discovered by the locals. We brought a few guns, ammunition, knives, ropes, and other tools from the United States. We would wear camouflage suits and hats, paint ourselves with black paint, and lurk in the woods waiting for our prey. We used binoculars to observe our surroundings, communicated with walkie-talkies, and signaled each other with hand gestures. We caught various animals such as rabbits, pheasants, ducks, deer, wolves, and sometimes encountered rare or dangerous animals such as pangolins, leopards, and bears. Every time we caught an animal, we would take pictures with excitement, then put them in the trunk of our car and take them back. Sometimes, we would cook them into delicious food, and sometimes we would make them into specimens or fur.
During these years of hunting in China, we went to many places, saw many sights, and encountered many dangers and difficulties. But the most unforgettable hunting trip was in Quanzhou Qingyuan Mountain. It was autumn 1999, we took a high-speed train from Beijing to Quanzhou and rented an off-road vehicle there to go hunting in Qingyuan Mountain. Qingyuan Mountain is a beautiful and mysterious place with a long and rich history and folklore. It was once a Buddhist holy land with many ancient and spectacular temples and pagodas. Later, it was abandoned because of a big fire. The fire was said to be caused by a woman named Honglian, a beautiful and crazy witch who fell in love with a monk named Qinglong, but he rejected her love. So she used magic to ignite all the temples and pagodas on Qingyuan Mountain and killed many monks and residents. Since then, Qingyuan Mountain has been regarded as a cursed place, and few people dared to go there. But we were not interested in these legends; we were only interested in the wildlife there. We heard that there were various rare and precious animals like white deer, white apes, white cranes, white tigers, etc. We wanted to catch these animals and become legends in the hunting world.
We stayed in a farmhouse at the foot of Qingyuan Mountain and prepared to go hunting the next day. We met an old man named Lao Wang there. He was the owner of the farmhouse and a retired hunter. He told us that the animals on Qingyuan Mountain were very intelligent and alert, not easy to catch. He said that if we wanted to catch them, we had to set out at night and use night vision binoculars to observe and track them. He also said that there were many strange and dangerous things on Qingyuan Mountain, such as ghosts, monsters, traps, etc. He advised us not to take risks, but we didn’t listen to him. We thought he was just trying to scare us or jealous of us. We had confidence in our skills and equipment, and we believed nothing could stop us from realizing our hunting dreams.
With the help of the farmhouse owner, we purchased guns, ammunition, knives, and other items needed for hunting, as well as the night vision binoculars we chose: Wildguarder owler1. This night vision binoculars is produced by a brand in Shenzhen, China. It has high definition, powerful magnification, long battery life, and waterproof and shockproof design. It allows us to see all the details in the dark, and even take pictures and record videos. It is an essential tool and partner for us when hunting.
At dusk on the second day, we set off. We drove along a small road into the depths of Qingyuan Mountain. Along the way, we saw many beautiful and spectacular sights, such as waterfalls, streams, cliffs, forests, and some ancient and mysterious buildings like temples, towers, and bridges. We felt excited and curious. We wanted to see if there were any of the strange things that Lao Wang had mentioned and if we could find the prey we were looking for. We encountered some animals on the road, such as squirrels, monkeys, and sparrows, but we were not interested in them as they were too small and common. We wanted to hunt bigger and rarer animals like white deer, white apes, cranes, and white tigers.
We found a clearing in a valley and stopped the car. We took our things out of the car, checked our firearms and ammunition, adjusted the night vision binoculars, and split into two groups. One group consisted of Kyle and me, and the other consisted of Ternence and a local guide we hired. We agreed on a contact signal and a meeting point, and then we set off in different directions into the mountains. We carried walkie-talkies and night vision binoculars, intending to find suitable prey before nightfall.
We observed everything around us through the night vision binoculars and saw many ordinary and commonplace sights such as withered grasslands, hiding squirrels, startled birds, and farmers at work. We knew these were the real face of Qingyuan Mountain and that they were all irrelevant, but we did not feel tired or disappointed. We felt they were all indispensable backgrounds for us to find our targets.
We walked in the mountains for about an hour, but we hadn’t found what we were looking for. We only saw some traces of small animals, but they quickly disappeared. We felt that the animals here were smart and alert, not easy to be discovered and hunted by us. We began to feel frustrated and anxious, worried that we would return empty-handed or miss some good opportunities.
Our night vision binoculars did not malfunction but provided us with clear and stable images. They allowed us to see all the details in the dark and even take photos and videos. They were an indispensable tool and partner for hunting.
We kept in touch with the other group and exchanged information every ten minutes through the walkie-talkies. They had not found any good prey either and felt frustrated and anxious like us. They said they saw a white animal on a hillside, but when they got closer, they found it was just a white goat. They also saw some ancient and mysterious buildings like temples, towers, and bridges, and they wanted to explore them, thinking there might be some discoveries. We warned them to be careful, not to take risks, and not to stray too far from the agreed meeting point.
We did not encounter any danger or difficulties except for not finding any prey. We felt that Qingyuan Mountain was not as strange and dangerous as Lao Wang had said, and there were no ghosts, monsters, or traps. We thought Lao Wang was just trying to scare us or jealous of us. We had confidence in our skills and equipment, and we believed that nothing could stop us from achieving our hunting dream.
We walked in the mountains for about two hours, and it was completely dark. We still had not found what we were looking for and began to feel tired and hungry. We decided to stop in a flat place, eat some dry food and water, and rest for a while. We contacted the other group through the walkie-talkies, and they had not made any progress either. They said they found something strange in a temple but did not have time to examine it carefully because they heard some terrible crying and moaning sounds. They said they would soon return to the agreed meeting point and join us.
After we finished eating, we prepared to move on. We scanned the surroundings with the night vision binoculars, hoping to find some traces of prey. It was then that we saw a surprising and exciting sight. In front of us, about five hundred meters away, there was a huge wild boar eating grass. Its body was over two meters long, over a meter high, and weighed over three hundred kilograms. Its fur was black and shiny like metal. It had two curved and sharp tusks on its head, like two sharp blades. Its eyes were red like blood. It looked very fierce and strong, a wild boar king we had never seen before.
We immediately became excited and decided to make it our target. We felt that this was a rare opportunity, and if we could knock it down, we could become legends in the hunting world. We approached it quickly and carefully, trying to find a suitable position and angle to shoot it. We told the other group through the walkie-talkies that we had found the wild boar king and asked them to come and support us as soon as possible. They said they were on their way and asked us not to act rashly until they arrived.
We followed their advice and stopped about one hundred meters away from the wild boar king, hiding behind some bushes. We observed its every move through the night vision binoculars, waiting for the best opportunity. We found that the wild boar king had not noticed our presence and was still eating quietly. But it was not an easy opponent to deal with, as it had a sensitive sense of smell and hearing, as well as a strong physique and a fierce character. If we accidentally alarmed it, it might attack us or flee. So we had to be very careful and accurate. We took out our hunting rifles, adjusted our sights, and aimed at its head and heart. We waited for the other group to arrive, hoping to shoot together and increase the chance of success. We asked them about their location through the walkie-talkies, and they said they were almost there, asking us to wait a little longer. We had no choice but to wait, feeling time passing slowly and worrying that the wild boar king would discover or leave.
Just then, we heard a loud noise, like a bomb exploding. We looked up in terror and saw an unbelievable sight. Behind the wild boar king, a mysterious and ancient tower suddenly exploded, with a ball of fire and a cloud of black smoke rushing out. The fireball and black smoke were mixed with various debris and dust flying in all directions. The wild boar king was engulfed by the fireball and black smoke, let out a miserable scream, and then fell to the ground. We didn’t know whether it was dead or alive, nor did we know why the tower exploded.
We were stunned and didn’t know what to do. We contacted the other team on our walkie-talkies and asked what had happened. They said they didn’t know either. They had just arrived near the tower and saw it explode. They said they had suffered some minor injuries in the explosion, but were okay. They said they wanted to go and see what was inside the tower, perhaps there would be some clues or evidence. We told them not to go, it was too dangerous there, there might be other explosions or traps. We said we should first go and check on the wild boar king, if it was still alive, we could take it away; if it was dead, we could leave its fur and teeth as a souvenir.
We packed our things, took our guns and knives, and headed towards the direction of the wild boar king. We carefully avoided the debris and dust flying out of the fireball and black smoke, trying to find a safe route. When we reached about ten meters away from the wild boar king, we stopped and prepared to do a final check on it. Just then, we saw an even more surprising and terrifying sight.
The wild boar king did not die, it just fainted for a while. When it felt someone approaching, it suddenly opened its eyes and let out an angry and threatening roar. It struggled hard to break free from the constraints of the fireball and black smoke and stood up. It stared at us with its red eyes, bit us with its sharp teeth, and pointed at us with its curved fangs. It was like an angry demon, ready to launch a deadly attack on us.
We were scared, we didn’t expect the wild boar king to have such strong vitality and combat power. We immediately picked up our guns and aimed at its head and heart, and fired. We hoped to knock it down with a burst of bullets. But we were wrong, our bullets had no effect on it. Its fur was like a layer of hard armor, resisting our bullets. Its body was like a powerful machine, ignoring our bullets. Its eyes were like two red lasers, penetrating our souls.
It was not hurt at all, but more angry and crazy. It let out a deafening roar and rushed towards us. It ran very fast, like a meteor. It attacked us with its fangs and claws, trying to tear us into pieces. We couldn’t resist its attack, we could only run for our lives. We threw away our guns and knives, only carrying night vision binoculars and walkie-talkies, and ran towards the direction of the car. We hoped to get to the car and then drive away from this place.
We contacted the other team on our walkie-talkies, telling them that the wild boar king had awakened and was chasing us, and asked them to escape as soon as possible. They said they were already on their way back, but they also encountered some trouble. They said they had found some strange things in the tower, such as ancient and mysterious runes, patterns, and objects. They thought those things might be related to the tower explosion or the wild boar king. They said they wanted to take some videos and recordings as evidence and commemoration. But when they used the night vision binoculars to shoot, they found that the night vision binoculars had malfunctioned. The night vision binoculars displayed some abnormal images and sounds, as if someone was talking and singing. They said they couldn’t hear what those words and songs meant, but they felt uncomfortable and terrified. They said they wanted to turn off the night vision binoculars, but the night vision binoculars didn’t respond, as if it were locked. They said they were scared and confused, they didn’t know what those things were, and they didn’t know why they affected the night vision binoculars. They said they didn’t know what to do.
We told them not to worry about those things, but to escape quickly. We said we were almost at the car, and they should come as soon as possible. We said we must leave this place as soon as possible, otherwise we would be killed by the wild boar king. They said they understood and would come as soon as possible.
We finally arrived at the car, quickly got in and started the engine. We saw the wild boar king still chasing us, it had already run to a distance of about fifty meters from the car. It looked very angry and violent, tearing up the ground and trees with its fangs and claws, trying to stop us from escaping. We had no time to care about it, we immediately stepped on the gas and drove towards the exit. We hoped to get rid of its pursuit and escape from this terrifying forest.
Just then, we heard the terrified voices of the other team on the walkie-talkies. They said they had encountered an even bigger trouble. They said they were on their way back, but they encountered a group of wild boar king’s companions. Those wild boars were also big and ferocious, with black fur and red eyes. They said those wild boars seemed to hear the call of the wild boar king and launched an attack on them. They said they couldn’t resist the attacks of those wild boars and could only run for their lives. They said they had already suffered some serious injuries, and some guns and items were discarded on the road. They said they didn’t know whether they could come back alive.
We heard these words and felt shocked and helpless. We didn’t know how to help them, and we couldn’t go back to rescue them. We could only sympathize and apologize to them, and wish them good luck in escaping. We said we would wait for them at the exit if they could come back.
We continued to drive towards the exit. We saw the wild boar king still chasing us, it had already run to a distance of about twenty meters from the car. It looked very close and dangerous. We had no time to hesitate, we could only accelerate forward, hoping to shake off the wild boar king. Our car was bouncing on the muddy road, and we heard the roar of the wild boar king and the sound of its hooves on the ground. We felt a sense of fear and despair, we didn’t know whether we could escape from this terrifying forest. We could only pray that God would bless us and let us return home safely.
Just then, we saw a bright light ahead, it was the exit sign. We felt a glimmer of hope and excitement, we used our last strength and rushed towards the light. We saw the gate of the exit, which was the gate to freedom and safety. We saw some people waiting for us at the gate, they were our colleagues and friends. They saw us and waved to us happily.
We finally reached the exit, parked the car outside the gate, and quickly got off and ran towards those people. They hugged us, greeted us, and congratulated us. They said they were very worried about us and were happy to see us safe and sound. They said they had already called for help, and soon a rescue team would arrive to help us. They said we were lucky to have survived such a dangerous adventure. We thanked them and hugged them, feeling a sense of relief and gratitude.