Marguerite Sandy, Derrick MacMillan and I are college classmates. We are all zoology majors and have a strong interest and love for wildlife. After graduation, we went our separate ways and never saw each other again, only occasionally interacting on social media. Last month, we finally had a chance to reunite. We agreed to go hunting together in Nanling National Forest Park in Shaoguan, Guangdong, China.
Why did we choose this place? Because Nanling National Forest Park is one of the largest forest parks in China, with rich animal and plant resources. It is a paradise for hunting. We wanted to experience the interaction with wildlife in such a natural environment, and feel the fun and challenge of hunting. Of course, we were not killing for the sake of killing. We only wanted to capture some legal, unprotected, and abundant animals, such as wild boars, pheasants, hares, etc., as our food and souvenirs.
For this hunting trip, we made full preparations. We applied for hunting permits in advance, booked local guides and accommodation, and bought some necessary hunting equipment, such as guns, ammunition, knives, compasses, flashlights, first aid kits, etc. Among them, the most important equipment was night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. They could allow us to clearly observe the location and movement of animals at night, and improve our hunting efficiency and safety. We were all looking forward to and passionate about this hunting trip, hoping to spend an unforgettable time with old friends.
Nanling National Forest Park is located in the north of Guangdong Province, at the junction of Ruyuan Yao Autonomous County and Yizhang County in Hunan Province. It is in the middle section of the Nanling Mountains, the largest mountain range and an important natural geographical boundary in southern China. It stretches across Hunan, Guangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Guangdong, and is the watershed of the Yangtze River and Pearl River systems. Nanling National Forest Park is the core area of the Nanling Mountains, with rich geological features and biodiversity. It is a paradise for hunting.
The natural scenery of Nanling National Forest Park is very spectacular. There is Shikengkong, which is 1902 meters above sea level and is known as the “ridge of Guangdong”. It is the highest peak in Guangdong Province. There is the largest primitive forest in Guangdong, which is the “land of biological diversity in Lingnan”. There are eight main waterfalls, forming a waterfall group scenic area. The highest one is Qianmi Waterfall, which is 300 meters high and has a magnificent momentum. There are clear streams and pools, forming a water valley scenic area. The largest one is Feihua Pool, which covers an area of 5000 square meters. The water is green and clear, like a mirror and a painting.
The ecological resources of Nanling National Forest Park are very rich. There are more than 2000 kinds of plants, including mosses, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms. Many of them are rare and endangered species, such as tree ferns, long-stemmed twin-flowered wood, South China fir, octagonal lotus, etc. There are more than 340 kinds of butterflies, which is the distribution center of Guangdong butterflies. There are animals such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, etc. Many of them are national first or second class protected species, such as macaques, clouded leopards, leopards, South China tigers, black deer, sika deer, yellow-bellied pheasants, white-necked long-tailed pheasants, golden-spotted swallowtail butterflies, long-armed golden beetles, etc.
For this hunting trip, we booked the tickets, guides and accommodation of Nanling National Forest Park online in advance, and planned to play in the park for three days and two nights. Our itinerary is as follows:
Day 1: In the morning, we set off from Shaoguan city and drove to Nanling National Forest Park. Along the way, we enjoyed the Ruyuan Yao ethnic customs and Nanling mountains. We arrived at the park entrance at noon, completed the park procedures, received the hunting permits and equipment, and drove to Xiaohuangshan scenic area in the afternoon. We visited Xiaohuangshan, Rufeng, Yingkesong, Rufeng Pavilion and other attractions, and experienced the largest primitive forest in Guangdong. We stayed in Xiaohuangshan scenic area at night.
Day 2: In the morning, we drove to the waterfall group scenic area and visited Jiuchong Mountain, Qianmi Waterfall, Peacock Waterfall, Feiliu Waterfall, Jingxin Waterfall, Hukou Waterfall, Qingxin Waterfall, Yinyun Waterfall and Shuangfei Waterfall. We admired the beauty of Nanling waterfalls. We had lunch in the waterfall group scenic area, and drove to the water valley scenic area in the afternoon. We visited Feihua Pool, Pearl Pool, Jiuqu Pool, Qingsong Pool, Tongyou Gorge, Fairy Pool and Wolong Gorge. We felt the clarity of Nanling streams. We stayed in the water valley scenic area at night.
Day 3: In the morning, take a car to the Shikengkong scenic area, visit the Shikengkong, Golden Toad Moon, and the old site of the Air Force Radar Station, climb to the highest peak in Guangdong, overlooking the Nanling Mountains, have lunch at the Shikengkong scenic area, in the afternoon, start our hunting activity, follow the guide’s instructions, choose the appropriate location and time, use night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars to observe the position and movement of animals, try to capture some legal, unprotected, and abundant animals, such as wild boars, pheasants, hares, etc., stay at the Shikengkong scenic area at night, and taste our hunting results.
This is our itinerary; we look forward to spending an unforgettable time in the Nanling National Forest Park.
Hunting is an activity that requires professional equipment and skills, especially at night, when the limitation of vision increases the difficulty and danger of hunting. To ensure our hunting safety and success, we chose some hunting equipment suitable for night use, the most important of which are night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, which can make us see more clearly, farther, and more accurately in the dark.
Night vision binoculars are a kind of optical instrument that uses the principle of photoelectric conversion to amplify the weak ambient light (such as moonlight, starlight, night light, etc.) by thousands of times and display it on the screen. They can let us observe the outline and details of animals at night, but the color will be distorted, usually showing green or black and white. Night vision binoculars are divided into different generations, from the first generation to the fourth generation, the higher the generation, the better the performance, and the higher the price. We chose the third generation of night vision binoculars, which have the following advantages:
- High resolution, clear image, low noise, can observe more details;
- High magnification, can observe farther distances, generally between 300-500 yards;
- Long battery life, can last for several hours, do not have to worry about insufficient power;
- Strong durability, can resist the impact of shock, water, dust and other harsh environments.
The method of using night vision binoculars is very simple, just adjust the focus, aim at the target, press the switch, and you can see the image on the screen. We can choose whether to turn on the infrared auxiliary light according to the intensity of the ambient light, to improve the brightness and clarity of the image. We can also switch between different modes, such as full color, black and white, green, etc., to suit different personal preferences.
Infrared binoculars are a kind of optical instrument that uses the principle of thermal imaging, converts the heat energy emitted by animals into visible light, and displays it on the screen. They can let us observe the heat distribution and temperature changes of animals at night, but the shape will be blurred, usually showing red or color. Infrared binoculars are divided into different types, from low resolution to high resolution, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image, and the higher the price. We chose high-resolution infrared binoculars, which have the following advantages:
- High sensitivity, can detect small temperature differences, can distinguish different animals and backgrounds;
- Wide field of view, can observe a larger range, generally between 400-600 yards;
- Strong function, can record video, take photos, store data, connect to mobile phones, etc.;
- Good portability, light weight, small size, easy to carry and operate.
The method of using infrared binoculars is also very simple, just adjust the focus, aim at the target, press the switch, and you can see the image on the screen. We can choose different color modes according to the temperature and distance of the target, such as white hot, black hot, color, etc., to improve the contrast and recognition of the image. We can also adjust the brightness, zoom, shrink, freeze, playback and other functions by buttons, to increase the effect and fun of observation.
In summary, night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars are essential equipment for our hunting, they can make us see more clearly, farther, and more accurately in the dark, and improve our hunting safety and success. In the next part, we will introduce our hunting experience, including the different scenarios of day and night, the animals we encountered, our harvest, our feelings, and our interaction and memories.
On the last day of our trip to the Nanling National Forest Park, we started our long-awaited hunting activity. We followed the guide and drove to a place suitable for hunting, where there was a large open grassland, surrounded by dense woods, with a stream flowing through, which was a place for many animals to drink and forage. We set up a simple tent on the grassland, put our hunting equipment and food in it, and then divided into two groups, one group responsible for daytime hunting, and one group responsible for nighttime hunting, changing every few hours.
Marguerite Sandy and I were the first group, we were responsible for daytime hunting. We took guns, ammunition, knives, compasses, flashlights, first aid kits, etc., and quietly entered the woods, looking for our target. We walked along the direction of the stream for a while, and saw a group of pheasants pecking at the water’s edge, we immediately crouched down, slowly approached them, trying not to make any noise. When we were about 50 yards away from them, we stopped, aimed at the largest pheasant, gently pulled the trigger, a gunshot, a pheasant fell down, the other pheasants flew away in panic. We ran over happily, put our first prey into our backpack, and continued to explore.
We walked for a while, and saw a hare hopping around in the grass, we carefully approached it, ready to shoot. But just as we were about to shoot, we heard a loud roar, we were startled, looked up, and saw a leopard jumping down from a tree, biting the hare, and then quickly ran away. We were stunned, we did not expect to encounter such a situation, we quickly backed away a few steps, watching the leopard’s movement, afraid that it would come back and attack us. Fortunately, the leopard seemed to have no interest in us, it just dragged the hare, and disappeared into the woods. We breathed a sigh of relief, sighed at the cruelty and wonder of nature, and then moved on.
We walked for a while, and saw a wild boar digging the soil under a tree, we decided to try again, we quietly approached it, aimed at its head, and fired two shots at the same time, one shot hit its eye, one shot hit its ear, it let out a scream, and then fell to the ground, and did not move again. We were overjoyed, we finally captured a large prey, we went over, cut off its tusks, as our souvenir, and then dragged its body back to the tent, handed it over to the guide to deal with. We returned to the tent, and exchanged our hunting experience with Marguerite Sandy, they also captured some small animals, such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, etc., we shared our joy and thrill, and then prepared a rich picnic, and enjoyed our hunting results.
Night fell, and we changed groups, Derrick MacMillan and I were responsible for nighttime hunting. We took night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, and set off. We found that nighttime hunting was very different from daytime hunting, the animals at night were more hidden and alert, we needed to be more careful and patient, to find their traces. We used night vision binoculars for a while, and saw a yellow-bellied pheasant resting on a tree, it was a national second-class protected bird, we could not shoot it, we just admired its beauty, and then continued to look for other targets. We used infrared binoculars for a while, and saw a black deer grazing on the grassland, it was a national first-class protected animal, we also could not shoot it, we just envied its elegance, and then moved on.
We walked for a long time, and did not see any suitable prey, we were a bit disappointed, we decided to try one last time, we used night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars at the same time, hoping to find some unprotected, abundant animals, such as wild boars, pheasants, hares, etc. We came to a small hillside, and saw some bright spots flickering on the screen, we looked carefully, and found a group of wild boars drinking water at the foot of the hill, we ran over excitedly, aimed at the largest wild boar, and fired two shots at the same time, one shot hit its heart, one shot hit its lung, it let out a scream, and then fell to the ground, and did not move again. We were overjoyed, we finally captured a large prey, we went over, cut off its tusks, as our souvenir, and then dragged its body back to the tent, handed it over to the guide to deal with. We returned to the tent, and exchanged our hunting experience with Marguerite Sandy, they also captured some small animals, such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, etc., we shared our joy and thrill, and then prepared a rich picnic, and enjoyed our hunting results.
This hunting trip, let us relive our friendship from college, and also let us experience a close contact with wild animals, we felt the charm and mystery of nature, and also felt the fun and challenge of hunting, we harvested not only prey, but also happiness and memories. We want to thank the Nanling National Forest Park, for providing us with such a beautiful and rich place, let us appreciate its natural scenery, feel its ecological resources, and also thank the guide and staff, for providing us with professional and intimate service, making our journey smoother and safer.
Of course, we also cannot forget the delicious food of Shaoguan, the food culture here also gathers the strengths of a hundred families, and forms its own, forming a lot of delicious dishes that have both local characteristics, and integrate Hakka cuisine, Guangfu cuisine, and the major cuisines of the Central Plains. We tasted a lot of mouth-watering dishes here, such as Shaoguan beef noodles, Shaoguan stuffed tofu, Shaoguan roast goose, etc., each dish made us feast, and memorable, let our taste buds also enjoy a feast.
This is our hunting trip, we had an unforgettable time in Shaoguan, we hope to have the opportunity to come here again, feel the customs and culture here again, taste the delicious food here again, meet the animals here again, and blend with the nature here again. We also hope that you can come here, experience our story, feel our feelings, and enjoy our happiness.