Last month, I invited two like-minded friends, Theodore Morley and Vita Bright, to go to Yueyang Wujianshan Forest Park in Hunan Province, China. This is a national nature reserve with rich ecological resources and beautiful scenery, and an ideal place for hunting enthusiasts. We prepared professional equipment, including night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, which were suggested by Theodore Morley, because he is an experienced hunter and has a lot of experience in this area. We also brought some local food to celebrate our victory after hunting. We looked forward to having a memorable time here and experiencing the charm of night hunting.
We arrived at Yueyang Wujianshan Forest Park at noon. We had a hearty lunch at a restaurant near the park entrance, tasting the local specialties, such as sour and spicy fish head, stinky tofu, glutinous rice, etc. After the meal, we bought tickets and entered the park.
The park consists of five peaks: Jiaoding Mountain, Yingzui Mountain, Zhoujia Mountain, Wangcheng Mountain and Magu Mountain, hence the name Wujianshan (Five Peaks Mountain). The park was formerly the Wujianshan Forest Farm established in 1958 and was approved as a national forest park in January 2008. The park has a mountain area of 1,800 hectares and a forest coverage rate of 98%. It is a forest park with the theme of “green, leisure and culture”.
We followed the tour route in the park and enjoyed various natural and cultural landscapes. We saw dense bamboo forests, tall fir trees, strange rocks, clear streams, waterfalls and springs. We also visited the World Stele Forest Museum, which collects the handwriting of foreign heads of state, ancient and modern celebrities collected by Mr. Danbo, a director of the Chinese Writers Association, a book collector and a contemporary scholar. We also climbed Wangcheng Mountain, where Qu Yuan lived. From here we could overlook the whole Linxiang city and Dongting Lake.
In the afternoon, we prepared hunting equipment, including guns, ammunition, knives, flashlights, night vision devices, etc. We paid special attention to night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, which were suggested by Theodore Morley. He is an experienced hunter and has a lot of experience in night hunting. He told us that night vision binoculars can magnify and enhance visible light in the dark, allowing us to see more details; infrared binoculars can detect and display thermal radiation, allowing us to find and distinguish different heat sources.
We followed a small road into the depths of the forest, looking for a suitable place for hunting. We sometimes walked and sometimes stopped, sometimes observed and sometimes listened, sometimes used night vision binoculars and sometimes used infrared binoculars to find potential prey. We followed the basic principles of hunting, such as keeping quiet, avoiding flashing lights, hiding our shape, paying attention to wind direction, etc.
After nightfall, the forest became more mysterious and dangerous. We heard all kinds of animal sounds, some of which made us shudder, some of which made us excited. We used night vision devices and infrared devices to carefully observe the surrounding situation and found some interesting targets. We saw a hare bouncing in the grass, a pheasant perching on a branch, a wild boar rolling in a mud pit, and a deer drinking water by the water. We discussed it and decided to shoot pheasants and hares first, then wild boars and deer.
We divided our work: Theodore Morley was responsible for shooting; Vita Bright was responsible for lighting; I was responsible for observation and instruction. We first used infrared binoculars to lock the target’s position and direction; then we used night vision binoculars to adjust the shooting angle and distance. We waited for an appropriate opportunity; then we fired together. Our gunshots alarmed other animals in the forest; some fled in all directions; some made warning sounds. We quickly cleaned up the shot pheasants and hares; then we continued to look for the next target.
We spent about two hours and shot four pheasants, three hares, two wild boars and a deer. We were very satisfied and proud of our achievements. We put the game in a big bag and carried it back to the park entrance. We felt the thrill and fun of hunting at night, and also experienced the magic and practicality of night vision and infrared devices.
When we got back to the park entrance, we found a farmhouse and gave the game to the boss’s wife, asking her to help us process and cook it. The boss’s wife was very enthusiastic, praised our hunting skills, and recommended some local delicacies, such as pickled fish, fried bacon, hot and sour noodles, etc. We ordered a few dishes, and also asked for a few bottles of beer, and sat in the yard waiting for the delicious food.
Soon, plates of fragrant dishes were brought up. We saw our own shot pheasants, hares, wild boars and deer, all made into different flavors by the boss’s wife, such as braised, steamed, stewed soup, roasted meat. We smelled the aroma and drooled. We picked up our chopsticks, picked up a piece of meat, put it in our mouths, and felt the meat was tender and juicy, with a rich and spicy taste. We ate heartily and praised it.
We chatted while eating, recalling the bits and pieces of this trip. We talked about the beautiful scenery of Yueyang Wujianshan Forest Park, the rich vegetation, the history and culture, and the experience of hunting at night. We thanked Theodore Morley for his advice and guidance, thanked Vita Bright for her help and company, and thanked ourselves for our courage and adventure. We felt this trip was very meaningful and unforgettable.
We finished our meal, paid the bill, and left a tip for the boss’s wife. The boss’s wife was very happy and gave us some local specialties, such as tea, honey, bamboo shoots, etc. We expressed our thanks, bid farewell to the boss’s wife, and returned to our accommodation. We washed up, lay down on the bed, and soon fell into a sweet dream.
The next morning, we packed our luggage and prepared to leave Yueyang Wujianshan Forest Park. We climbed up Wangcheng Mountain again, overlooking the scenery of the entire park, feeling the beauty and peace here. We took a group photo as a souvenir. We were filled with gratitude and admiration for everything here, and also full of expectation and planning for future adventures. We went down the mountain and took a car to the train station. We swapped our contact details and promised to go on another trip together soon. We got to the train station, got on our own trains, and went our separate ways. We said goodbye with a wave and hoped we would travel safely.
This trip was amazing for me. I witnessed the wonders and beauty of nature, felt the excitement and joy of hunting, enjoyed the local cuisine and products. I became friends with two awesome people and partners. I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a memory I will always cherish. I wish I could go back to Yueyang Wujianshan Forest Park someday, and also see more places with Theodore Morley and Vita Bright.