I am an outdoor enthusiast who loves hunting, and so are my companions. We often explore different hunting locations together and enjoy intimate encounters with nature and animals. This year, we decided to go hunting in the Dabie Mountains of China, an unfamiliar and mysterious place full of charm.
Located at the junction of Anhui, Hubei, and Henan provinces, the Dabie Mountains are the watershed between the Yangtze and Huai rivers. It has rich geological, climatic, botanical, and historical and cultural resources, making it an ideal hunting destination. We wanted to experience different hunting methods and targets here, as well as different local customs and cuisine.
To ensure our hunting effectiveness and safety, we chose the Owler1 night vision binoculars from Wildguarder, a brand from Shenzhen, China, as our equipment. This is a professional night vision binoculars that can observe animal movements and features clearly in the dark, helping us find the best shooting time and location.
The purpose of this article is to record our hunting activities in the Dabie Mountains, analyze the advantages and disadvantages of Owler1 night vision binoculars in night hunting, and introduce the local customs and cuisine we experienced in the Dabie Mountains. This article is divided into three parts: the first part introduces the geographical location, topographic features, climate conditions, botanical resources, and historical and cultural aspects of the Dabie Mountains; the second part describes our hunting activities in detail, including time, location, methods, targets, process, and results; the third part introduces the local customs and cuisine we experienced in the Dabie Mountains. We hope this article can provide some useful information and references for readers who love hunting and traveling.
The Dabie Mountains are an important mountain range in eastern China, located at the junction of Anhui, Hubei, and Henan provinces. It is adjacent to the Tongbai Mountains in the west, and extends to the Huoshan (also known as Wanshan) and Zhangba Mountains in the east, with a length of about 380 kilometers and a width of about 175 kilometers. The Dabie Mountains are the watershed between the Yangtze and Huai rivers, and the Ezhou, Yanling, and Wuhu regions centered on the Dabie Mountains include more than 20 counties and cities. The Dabie Mountains region is one of the old revolutionary bases in China. During the Land Revolution War, it was the central region of the second largest revolutionary base in the country, the Ezhou-Yanling-Wuhu Revolutionary Base.
The structure of the Dabie Mountains is relatively complex, belonging to the ridge of the Huaiyang Mountain-shaped structure system, and is an extension of the Qinling fold belt. It has a northwest-southeast trend, and the east segment has a northeast-southwest trend, with a length of 270 kilometers and a general elevation of 500 to 800 meters, with the main part of the mountain at an elevation of about 1,500 meters. The elevation of the mountain ridge is mostly 1200-1600 meters. The protected area is higher in the north and lower in the south, and the terrain slopes in a step-by-step manner from north to south, with middle mountains, low mountains, and hills appearing in order, with middle mountains as the main feature. The highest peak (main peak) of the Dabie Mountains is called Baimajian (1777 meters above sea level), the second highest peak is Duoyunjian (1763 meters above sea level), and the third highest peak is Tianhejian (1755 meters above sea level). The three peaks form a character shape and stand together.
The Dabie Mountains belong to the North subtropical warm and humid monsoon climate zone, with typical mountain climate characteristics, mild climate, and abundant rainfall. It has excellent mountain climate and forest microclimate characteristics, possessing the climate advantages of the forest. The average annual temperature is 12.5℃, the highest temperature is 18.7℃, the lowest temperature is 8.8℃, the extreme highest temperature is 37.1℃, and the extreme lowest temperature is -16.7℃. The average precipitation is 1832.8 millimeters, with 161 rainy days per year, an average relative humidity of 79%, and an average annual sunshine duration of 1400-1600 hours.
The Dabie Mountains have a large difference in forest altitude and obvious vegetation changes, ranging in height from over 400 meters to over 1700 meters, forming a rich and colorful forest landscape. Artificial forests such as Chinese fir, Chinese hemlock, and Masson pine are distributed in patches at low altitudes, and thick and vast. In the forest, Chinese fir and Chinese hemlock have straight trunks and lush growth, while Masson pine has strong branches and lush foliage. The live oaks, Quercus acutissima, fragrant maples, and sandalwoods are thriving and flourishing. There are also small patches of bamboo interspersed. As the altitude increases, the landscape changes. On the steep cliffs and rocks, the Huangshan pines have withstood wind and frost and stand proudly. On the mountain slopes, the Huangshan pine forest stands against the wind, with curved trunks and branches forming a flag shape, exceptionally beautiful. The scenery varies with the seasons. In spring, flowers bloom, plants grow rampant, pine trees are green, bamboo turns yellow, and hundreds of birds sing together; in midsummer, the forest is dense and shady, the cool breeze caresses the skin, and the scorching heat is almost forgotten. In autumn, the pine and bamboo trees are deep and dark, the maple leaves are like fire, and the branches are full of fruit and the grass is fragrant. With the arrival of winter, the forest is swept by the wind and covered in snow. The mountain color is heavy, like a rugged ridge. The snow on the mountaintop lasts for a long time and blends with the blooming flowers and green leaves, creating the beautiful scenery of “Heavenly Snow”.
The Dabie Mountains is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural area, and the people in the mountainous areas have a rich and colorful folk culture, such as clothing, food, marriage, festivals, and beliefs. The people of the Dabie Mountains have preserved many traditional folk festivals, such as the Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Chongyang Festival, etc. There are also some local characteristic festivals, such as the “Dushan Meeting” in Dushan Town, the “Gushi Meeting” in Gushi County, the “Jinniu Meeting” in Xinyang City, etc. These festivals have their own customs and activities, such as ancestor worship, worship of gods, dragon boat racing, kite flying, eating dumplings, and enjoying lanterns, reflecting the love of the people in the Dabie Mountains for life and their awe of their ancestors.
The people in the Dabie Mountains also have a rich and diverse folk art, such as music, dance, drama, storytelling, and painting. Dabie Mountain folk songs are a widely circulated form of folk music. They are mainly orally transmitted and reflect the emotional life and historical changes of the people in the Dabie Mountains. Dabie Mountain folk songs have three styles: Yufeng is based on the tune of Henan opera, with lyrics that are easy to understand and a lively and cheerful melody. Chuyun is based on the tune of Chu opera, with beautiful and lyrical lyrics and a melodious and lingering melody. Wansu is based on the tune of Wan opera, with humorous and witty lyrics and a lively and agile melody. Dabie Mountain dance is a highly expressive form of folk dance. It mainly uses body movements to reflect the labor scenes and life habits of the people in the Dabie Mountains. Dabie Mountain dance has various types: labor dance is a dance formed by imitating the movements in agricultural life, such as planting rice dance, threshing dance, and picking tea dance; entertainment dance is a dance formed for entertainment in leisure time, such as flower drum dance, bamboo pole dance, and Yangko dance; ceremonial dance is a dance formed for praying for blessings or expressing respect during worship or celebrations, such as dragon dance, lion dance, and torch dance. Dabie Mountain opera is a comprehensive form of performing arts. It mainly uses singing, recitation, acting, and martial arts to reflect the historical stories and social life of the people in the Dabie Mountains. Dabie Mountain opera has various genres: Yuzhou opera is a popular opera genre mainly in Henan province, based on the white tone as the basic music form.
The Dabie Mountain region not only has beautiful natural scenery but also has many characteristic delicacies, such as chestnuts, kiwis, melon seeds, tea, etc. These delicacies are made by the people of the Dabie Mountains using local natural resources and traditional skills. They not only retain the original flavor but also are rich in nutrition and health value.
- Chestnuts: Dabie Mountain is one of the main areas for chestnut production. The chestnuts here are more fragrant, crispy and plump compared to those bought in stores. Chestnuts can be eaten raw, boiled, fried, baked, stewed, etc. Examples of dishes include braised chestnut meat, chestnut roasted chicken, chestnut snacks, and more. Chestnuts contain more vitamin C than tomatoes and over ten times more than apples! They are also rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, which are beneficial to the human body.
- Kiwifruit: Dabie Mountain is one of the main areas for kiwifruit production. The variety of kiwifruit here is diverse, including red, yellow, and green kiwifruit. Kiwifruit is not only delicious but also rich in vitamin C. Known as the “King of Chinese Fruits,” it can be eaten raw, juiced, or added to milk to make cheese. Kiwifruit also has antioxidant, blood pressure lowering, and blood lipid lowering effects.
- Sunflower Seeds: In the Man Shui River area of Huoshan County in Dabie Mountain, the red lantern-shaped chili peppers are abundant. They are sweet and not spicy at all. When soaked and cooked with handmade tofu, they are particularly delicious and are the most famous local dish. These chili peppers can also be dried and made into sunflower seeds without any added spices. The original flavor of the sunflower seeds is even more tempting. Dabie Mountain people like to eat heavy-flavored dishes, mainly salty and spicy. This kind of sunflower seeds is their best snack during leisure time.
- Tea: Dabie Mountain is one of the important tea production areas. The tea here has excellent quality, strong fragrance, and a green color. Tea can not only be brewed for drinking but can also be used for cooking or making tea eggs. Tea has the effects of refreshing the mind, clearing heat, detoxifying, reducing fat and losing weight.
Dabie Mountain is a magical and beautiful place that has nurtured rich and colorful folk culture and cuisine. The people of Dabie Mountain are hardworking, kind, and very hospitable. They use their wisdom and skills to turn the gifts of nature into delicious dishes that make people linger. The folk culture and cuisine of Dabie Mountain are not only a way of life but also a cultural heritage. They record the history and stories of the people of Dabie Mountain, and display their spirit and style. Let us enter Dabie Mountain together, experience the local customs and taste the delicious cuisine, learn the folk culture, and protect the natural environment together, so that the charm of Dabie Mountain will always shine!