Caroline Strachey, Dora Christie and I were college classmates. We all love nature and adventure. After graduation, we went on different paths and rarely had the opportunity to contact and meet. Last month, we finally had a rare reunion opportunity. We agreed to go hunting together in Xicheng Forest Park, Luohe, Henan, China. Why did we choose this place? Because we have heard that this is a place with beautiful scenery, rich animals, and exciting hunting. We wanted to experience the Chinese hunting culture, and also challenge our courage and skills. We booked hunting permits online in advance, bought the necessary equipment, including night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, because we planned to hunt at night, which would increase the difficulty and fun. We also consulted some information about Xicheng Forest Park in Luohe, Henan, and learned some basic situations and precautions. We were full of expectations and excitement for this hunting trip.
The hunting location we chose was Xicheng Forest Park in Luohe, Henan. This is a comprehensive park that integrates science popularization, science education, sightseeing, worship and other functions. It is located in the west of Wuyang County, covering an area of more than 600 acres and was built in 2000. It has beautiful natural scenery, rich animal and plant resources, and a long history and culture.
We checked the geographical location of the park online and found that it was not far from the hotel where we stayed. It only took 35 kilometers along National Highway 107 to Luowu Intersection to reach it directly. We booked a taxi in advance and planned to leave at around 4 pm so that we could arrive at the park before dark.
We also learned some information about the park’s scenic features, animal and plant resources, as well as hunting rules and precautions. We found that there is a 1,000-meter-long, 8-meter-high, and 20-meter-wide Zhouhan Ancient City here, which is an ancient and mysterious relic. There are lawns and flower gardens in the ancient city, green trees and vines, and there are red maple, camphor, loquat, acacia, ginkgo, osmanthus, wintersweet and other hundreds of thousands of famous flowers and precious trees on both sides of the ancient city. There is also the Xicheng Cultural Square completed in March 2002. The representative buildings include stone drums and opera houses. There are also many scenic spots and historical sites in the park, such as the famous Fanhou Pavilion, Sanfeng Cave, Bailong Pavilion and so on.
We were most interested in the animal resources in the park. We heard that there are various rare wild animals here, such as wild boars, hares, pheasants, ducks, deer and so on. These animals are all legal hunting targets as long as we abide by the regulations and quotas on the hunting permit. We also need to pay attention to protecting the ecological environment of the park, not to damage vegetation and water sources, not to disturb other tourists and staff members, not to use illegal or dangerous weapons and tools.
We were curious and looking forward to this park. We hoped to enjoy an unforgettable hunting trip here.
We arrived at the park at around 5 pm. We first picked up our hunting permits at the gate and then entered the park. We walked along the wall of the ancient city for a while, admiring the surrounding scenery, then found an open space to start our night hunt.
We first checked our equipment. We each brought a semi-automatic rifle, some bullets, a flashlight, a backpack, as well as a pair of night vision binoculars and a pair of infrared binoculars. Night vision binoculars are devices that can see objects in the dark. They use micro-light amplifiers and infrared light sources to convert weak ambient light into visible light. Infrared binoculars are devices that can detect the thermal radiation of objects. They use thermal imagers and infrared filters to display objects with different temperatures as images with different colors. These two devices are essential equipment for night hunting. They can help us find and aim at animals, as well as improve our safety and efficiency.
We started our night hunt after the sky was completely dark. We divided into two groups, Caroline and I in one group, Dora and a park staff member in another group. We each chose a direction and walked along the inside or outside of the ancient city. We agreed to contact each other by phone every half an hour to report the situation and location.
Caroline and I put on our night vision binoculars and started looking for animal tracks. We walked for about ten minutes and found a hare hopping in the grass. I quietly picked up my rifle, aimed at the hare’s head, and gently pulled the trigger. There was a slight sound, and the hare fell to the ground. I ran over happily and put the hare in my backpack. Caroline also congratulated me on hitting the first animal.
We continued to move forward, and soon we saw a pheasant perching on a branch. It was Caroline’s turn to shoot, and she also accurately hit the pheasant’s body. We put the pheasant in our bag, and then continued to look for bigger and more challenging animals.
We walked for about twenty minutes and came to the northwest corner of the ancient city. There was a dense forest here, which looked very suitable for animals to hide. We decided to enter the forest and explore. We put on our infrared binoculars and started scanning the temperature distribution around us. We quickly found some interesting images, some were gray or blue, indicating low temperature; some were red or yellow, indicating high temperature. We judged that these high-temperature images were animal bodies.
We slowly approached one of the high-temperature images and found that it was a wild boar. The wild boar is a very strong and fierce animal, it can weigh up to 200 kilograms, its tusks can grow to 30 centimeters, and its speed can reach 40 kilometers per hour. We knew this was a very dangerous hunt, we had to be very careful and decisive. We decided to shoot at the same time to increase the probability of hitting. We aimed at the wild boar’s heart and fired bullets at the same time. We heard a scream, and then saw the wild boar fall to the ground. We ran over quickly and confirmed that the wild boar was dead. We felt a burst of excitement and pride, we hit a wild boar!
We contacted Dora and the staff member by phone, told them our location and situation. They were also surprised and happy, they said they also hit some animals, including hares, ducks and deer. They said they would come over soon to help us move the wild boar away. We waited for a while, then saw their figures. They also wore night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, holding rifles and backpacks in their hands. They saw our wild boar and expressed admiration and envy. We complimented each other on our hunting skills, then dragged the wild boar to an open space together.
We put all the animals we hit together, then took a few photos as souvenirs. We counted them, we hit two hares, two pheasants, two ducks, one deer, and one wild boar. This was a very rich harvest, we all felt satisfied and happy. We divided the animals into four parts, one for each person. The staff member said they would help us deal with the animal’s fur and viscera, then send the meat to our hotel where we stayed. We thanked them for their help and service, then ended our night hunt.
This is a very exciting and interesting night hunting experience. We not only saw various rare wild animals, but also used advanced night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars to improve our hunting level and fun. We also felt the friendship and cooperation among classmates, and enhanced our feelings and trust. This was an unforgettable hunting trip.
After we finished our night hunt, we returned to the hotel where we stayed. We put the meat of the animals we hit in the refrigerator, ready to deal with it the next day. We decided to taste the local cuisine of Luohe and enjoy different flavors. We searched online for some special dish’s worth tasting in Luohe, and found the following:
- Beiwudu Hulatang: This is a traditional local dish in Luohe, which is said to have originated in the Qing Dynasty during the Daoguang period, and has a history of more than 100 years. It is made with more than 30 kinds of Chinese herbs, stewed meat, pepper, chili, Sichuan pepper, star anise and so on. It has a heavy soup color, spicy and fragrant taste, can warm the stomach and dispel cold, and also increase appetite.
- Wuyang Gangzi Mo: This is a special snack in Wuyang County, Luohe City, and it is also a gift that cannot be missed for local weddings and funerals. It is made with white flour, kneaded and pressed hundreds of times with a thick wooden stick, and then steamed with an iron pot over a low fire. The bottom of the bun is golden in color, the rolled bun slices are white, and they are layered together. It is very chewy and can be stored for several days without mold or hardening.
- Sesame candy: This is a traditional local snack with a long history and unique flavor. It is said that as early as the Tang Dynasty, local people used maltose and sesame to make sesame balls. Its characteristics are that sesame seeds are full without showing skin, both ends are sealed without leaking stuffing, sugar layer has holes without being stiff, sweet and crisp without sticking to teeth.
- Pickled pepper roasted river clams: This is a local special snack, which is said to be inspired by Guangdong roasted oysters. There are no oysters in the north at all, so local people began to study roasted river clams. Although they do not have the tender feeling of oysters, they taste good and are worth a try.
- Gongpin Mahua: This is a unique dish in Luohe. Many people ate it when they were young. It is made by hand with wheat flour, refined vegetable oil and more than ten kinds of seasonings. It is said that it was a tribute in the Qing Dynasty during the Qianlong period, and it was named “Mahua Zhuang” by Emperor Qianlong. Its characteristics are pure taste, delicious color, endless aftertaste.
- Luohe egg-filled pancake: Although you can buy egg-filled pancakes everywhere now, its origin is Luohe. I think it’s still worth a try when you come to Luohe. The people who sell egg-filled pancakes here are usually couples who cooperate tacitly and are also very delicious.
- Yancheng tofu box: This is a local traditional dish that originated in the Southern Song Dynasty. It is made with tofu from Shaliang River water. It can be used as a snack or as a dish on the table. It has a bright color, delicious taste and high nutritional value.
- Luohe roast chicken: This is a famous local special snack that is made with dozens of Chinese herbal spices and a unique formula. Its characteristics are authentic taste, delicious color, endless aftertaste.
We chose a few of the dishes and went to a nearby restaurant. We ordered Beiwudu Hulatang, Wuyang Gangzi Mo, Pickled Pepper Roasted River Clams, Luohe Roast Chicken and so on. We tasted the food while chatting, feeling the local customs of Luohe. We had different opinions and preferences for these dishes, but we all felt that they were very distinctive and flavorful. We ate very full and satisfied, and very happy.
We spent two days in Luohe, where we felt the beauty of nature, the charm of culture, and the fragrance of food. We not only enjoyed an exciting and interesting hunting trip, but also tasted some special and delicious dishes. We also enhanced the friendship and feelings among classmates, recalled the past bits and pieces, and looked forward to the future dreams and hopes. This was an unforgettable reunion, and also an unforgettable trip.
Before we left Luohe, we hugged each other and wished each other well, expressing our gratitude and satisfaction for this trip. We also expressed our expectation and wish for meeting again in the future. We believe that no matter where we are, no matter what difficulties and challenges we encounter, we will always maintain the friendship and support among classmates. We will always cherish and remember this trip.