Last month, I went hunting with two friends Vivien Rossetti and Yvette Meredith in Changde Jiashan National Forest Park in China. We are all passionate about travel and adventure, and are interested in China’s natural scenery and cultural history. We chose Changde Jiashan National Forest Park because it is a comprehensive scenic area that integrates mountains, rivers, forests, temples, and historical sites, with rich biodiversity and cultural charm.
In order to increase the fun and difficulty of hunting, we decided to hunt at night. Night hunting has a different pleasure from daytime, because you can encounter some nocturnal animals, and also feel the thrill and excitement in the dark. Of course, you also need some special equipment, such as night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. These two binoculars can provide clear vision in the dark, help us find and locate targets. Night vision binoculars use low-light amplification technology to amplify the weak light in the environment by thousands of times, making the human eye see things that are not visible. Infrared binoculars use infrared detection technology to display different colors according to the heat emitted by the target, making the human eye distinguish different temperatures.
We bought two binoculars online and tested and debugged them before departure. We found that both binoculars are very easy to use, allowing us to see farther, clearer, and more realistic in the dark. This made us look forward to and confident about night hunting.
We went straight to Jiashan National Forest Park after arriving in Changde. This is our main destination for this trip. Jiashan National Forest Park is located eight kilometers southeast of Shimen County in Hunan Province. It is named “Jiashan” because of the east-west twin peaks facing each other and the north-south passage in the middle. The forest park covers an area of 1530 hectares, with a current operating area of 740 hectares. The forest coverage rate is more than 90%. It is a suburban park-type forest park and was rated as “China AAAA-level tourist area” in 2014.
Jiashan National Forest Park not only has beautiful natural scenery, but also has a long history and culture. It is one of the birthplaces of Zen Buddhism, with a thousand-year-old temple Jiashan Temple. It is also the place where Li Zicheng, the leader of the peasant uprising at the end of the Ming Dynasty, lived in seclusion and was buried after his defeat. There are Li Zicheng’s mausoleum park and many cultural relics related to him. We felt a strong historical atmosphere and cultural heritage here.
We first visited Jiashan Temple, which is an ancient Buddhist temple that was built in the Tang Dynasty and has been repaired and named by the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties. Jiashan Temple covers an area of more than 50 acres. There are buildings such as Shanmen Hall, Heavenly King Hall, Mahavira Hall, Dabeidian Hall, Dharma Hall, Golden Hall, etc., as well as attractions such as Lingquan Pagoda, Life Release Pond, Biyan Spring, etc. We felt a peaceful and auspicious atmosphere in the temple and saw many devout believers and tourists. We also tasted the vegetarian food of the temple, which was light and fragrant.
Then we visited Li Zicheng’s mausoleum park, which is where Li Zicheng died after living in seclusion in Jiashan Temple under the name of Fengtian Yuchan. The mausoleum park covers an area of 30 acres and has buildings such as Li Zicheng’s Seclusion Memorial Hall in Jiashan Mountain, Yongchang Pond, Dashun Bridge, Zishi Archway, Shendao, Shixiangsheng, Mausoleum Chamber, Yefu Tower, Minglou Tower, etc. We learned about Li Zicheng’s legendary life and indomitable spirit in the mausoleum park, and also saw his poems and ink marks left on Jiashan Mountain.
We also visited some other attractions such as Ximo Pond, Yuxi Well, Jiashan Ancient Street, etc., each with their own stories and features. We had a pleasant and fulfilling day at Jiashan National Forest Park.
As night fell, we began our night hunting trip. We wore camouflage clothes, carried G-U-N-S and ammunition, and also had night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. We walked quietly along the forest path, looking for possible prey.
We soon found a deer, standing under a big tree, eating leaves. We used night vision binoculars to observe its position and movement, and found that it did not notice us. We decided to try sniping, so we found a suitable place, hid behind some bushes, and aimed at the deer’s head. We took turns shooting, trying to control the sound and recoil of the gun. After several attempts, we finally hit the deer’s heart, and it fell to the ground, lifeless. We ran over happily, checked its condition, and confirmed that it was dead. We tied it up with a rope, hung it on a tree, to prevent it from being discovered by other animals.
We continued to move forward, looking for more prey. By using infrared binoculars to scan the surrounding environment, we found some interesting sights. Some animals had high body temperatures, showing red or yellow; some animals had low body temperatures, showing blue or green; and some animals had body temperatures similar to the surrounding temperature, showing gray or black. We judged some possible animal species based on these colors, such as wild boars, foxes, squirrels, snakes, etc.
We found a wild boar hiding in some grasses, apparently resting. We used infrared binoculars to observe its size and shape, and found that it was very fat, probably an adult male wild boar. We decided to challenge this more difficult target, so we slowly approached it, trying not to disturb it. We found a place not far from it and prepared to shoot. We noticed that the wild boar’s heart position showed a bright red color, which was a fatal part. We shot at the same time, hoping to kill it with one shot. However, things did not go as we expected. The wild boar was not killed, but was awakened and made an angry roar. It quickly rushed out of the grasses and pounced on us. It was very fast and had sharp teeth and tusks. We were scared and quickly retreated, shooting continuously to stop its attack. After a fierce firefight, we finally knocked down the wild boar. We gasped for breath and walked over to check its wounds. We found that it had many bullet holes and blood stains on its body. We felt a bit of relief and regret: relief that we were not injured; regret that we could not solve this dangerous enemy in one go.
We also tied up the wild boar and hung it on another tree, then continued our night hunting. We encountered some other animals, some of which we successfully shot down, some of which ran away or hid. We used night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars to record our hunting process, and also used graphic_art to create some hunting images. We enjoyed the fun of night hunting and also experienced the challenge of night hunting.
Besides night hunting, we also enjoyed the local specialties in Changde, which satisfied our taste buds. Changde cuisine has a strong local flavor, with both the spiciness of Hunan and the freshness of Jiangnan, as well as its own innovation and variation. We tried the following dishes in Changde, and they all impressed us.
Changde rice noodles are the most famous dish in Changde, and also a national intangible cultural heritage of Hunan Province. They are made from rice ground into a paste, fermented, steamed, and cut into strips. Changde rice noodles can be eaten in two ways: dry or soup. Dry rice noodles are mixed with minced meat, chili oil, soy sauce and other seasonings, and they taste spicy and smooth; soup rice noodles are cooked in broth, and added with slices of meat, fish balls, tofu and other ingredients, and they taste savory and moist.
Sauce duck is another famous dish in Changde, and also a national geographical indication product of China. It is made from white duck marinated, dried, and smoked. Sauce duck has a bright red color, firm texture, crispy skin, tender meat, and fragrant aroma. Sauce duck can be sliced and eaten cold, or stir-fried or made into soup.
Lei cha is a traditional drink in Changde, also called three-life soup. It is made from tender tea leaves, ginger, raw rice and other ingredients pounded in a mortar, and boiled with water. Lei cha has two flavors: fragrant and slightly spicy. It can quench thirst and clear heat, as well as improve digestion and appetite. Lei cha can be drunk alone, or eaten with various side dishes and rice.
Bowl dish is Changde people’s favorite dish, and also a special dish that combines both cookware and cuisine. Bowl dish is made by putting various ingredients and seasonings in a bowl (a ceramic utensil), and simmering over low heat. Bowl dish can be made with any ingredients, such as valley duck, wild boar meat, beef, mutton, fish, tofu, etc. Bowl dish tastes rich and delicious, with savory broth and soft meat. It is a very suitable dish for winter to warm the stomach. We had a bowl of intestines and a bowl of fish head at Xiaolin Intestine Restaurant, and we felt very satisfied.
In short, Changde cuisine opened our eyes and made our trip more colorful. We praised Changde cuisine highly, and also left a deep impression on Changde’s customs and culture. We hope to have the opportunity to come to Changde again, taste more dishes, and experience more charm.
Our hunting trip in Jiashan National Forest Park in Changde is about to end. We not only appreciated the natural scenery and cultural history of Jiashan National Forest Park, but also experienced the fun and challenge of night hunting. We also tasted the specialties of Changde cuisine, which made our trip more colorful. This trip to Jiashan National Forest Park in Changde is a very memorable and sharable trip, as well as a very meaningful and rewarding trip. We hope to have the opportunity to come to Changde again, explore more beauty and wonder. We also hope that you will like our article, and that you will go to Changde to see for yourself. Thank you!