First post – Hunting Season Opens

Well, this is just to start the blog. I don’t know where to start really. I have been here on my quinta that I own now and I’ve been here since June. I’ve been meaning to start this blog for some time now so I feel like I have much to write here. Mainly for exactly what it’s meant for, for logging my experiences here on Quinta das Moitas (Bush Farm, more on why it’s called that later) and also for my family and friends should they have any interest in what I’m up to.

Since I don’t know where to start, I would like to start with what’s happened to me today and shed light on a new challenge that has only just presented itself. It would be an honest place to start with where I am right now.

I had hunters come through my farm this morning. I heard some ruckus and shooting over the other side and thought that they were on my property somewhere close by. Eventually I saw a spaniel that came up just outside my caravan so I walked out. As I looked along the drive I saw them approaching so I started watching them, seeing if I could recognise them and slowly walked closer, I was recognising their faces, I knew atleast one of them. They yelled out to me to salute me, in a very neighbourly way. Two of them were people that I knew from the village. They were fully attired in their hunting gear and had their shotguns with them. They all came up to me and saluted me cordially and mentioned that it’s first day of hunting season (great!). One of them asked jokingly, ‘where are the pigs’ (onde estan los porcos?). They were friendly enough, but it kind of bothered me that they treated it like as if coming through my land was not any problem at all. It kind of shocked me really so I didn’t really know how to respond. It did however, make me feel as if these people were so different to me with respects to their values and got the impression that I’m already the odd one and that perhaps expressing my views on them passing through my land for the purposes of hunting might be a bit premature yet for several reasons.

[Last night coincidentally/synchronously I had a dream that there were hunters outside my caravan and I let them in because they were seeking shelter. In the dream they had a certain kind of overpowering energy about them.]

I’m not really sure how to show them, or make them recognise that there are certain parts of their value system that I just don’t share, not that I have anything against them at all, but this incident seems to highlight to me that perhaps it’s important to let the people around the area know what my intentions are here and see if that could perhaps lead them to the understanding that I would like to do my best to avoid killing any animals (or facilitate the killing of them by allowing others to come and traverse my land for the intention of killing). Anyway, to communicate this could be quite difficult. I guess I’ll have to work this one out as I go along. It does seem to matter to me now as to what they think of me. I knew two of them, one of them was the president of the Freguesia (the village) and the other one I’ve spoken with once down at the bar (he pointed to the fact that I had roses in my garden and so went searching for them after that and sure enough, amongst the bushes, which I have yet to clear, I found them. I’ve not seen them flower yet however) and so because of my acquaintance with them I am therefore tending towards politeness (politics) but I really am waiting on a vision to tell me how to play this one out. I feel like some distinction should be recognised, that we share different value systems and that each of them need to be respected. I don’t really know how to deal with this yet, could be a bit tricky, but I feel that at some point I will have to be honest with them and make things clear, one way or another. It’s a question of communication, and right now I’m still not fluent with the Portuguese, which is necessary I think, but I’ll get there. Patience. In the mean time, there is much work to do on the Bush Farm.

One of the visions that guides me here is one of getting other people involved and integrating adjoining lands together with the same intention of regeneration. If that vision were to be realised then I guess there’s no reason why giving this land back to nature and letting it develop within a permaculturally designed setting can’t lead to the region being declared a natural park of sorts. One where the people living within it would be sharing the values of deep ecology therefore viewing themselves as being at one with their natural environment. If this can become some kind of natural park, or declared protected area, then that could definitely lead to the protecting of the native fauna, including the porcos 🙂

Anyway, for now, I will upload some fotos into the gallery for historical reference and for any that wish to see.

4 Comments

  • starmoongirl

    October 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm Reply

    Congrats Millo! The start of "understanding" which will develop both ways once you have worked out the path and know how! I hope your dream of a small permaculture community around you will be realised and that the future landscape will portray a true human love of life and for our beautiful planet.
    Amelia

  • Earth Monki

    October 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Passed on to me by Burra Maluca …

    I'm not sure of the exact laws, but basically if you are in a traditional hunting zone, then licensed hunters have an automatic right to wander all over your land in the hunting season *unless* you go to your local hunting license place and request that your land is removed from the list of 'allowed places'. I think you need to take all your paperwork for the property (haha – don't you love Portuguese paperwork…) and then after a lot of penpushing and rubberstamping and waiting for officials in other offices to do their thing, which might take weeks, you are entitled to buy 'refugio do caca' signs to erect all around your property.

    The traditions here are very different from the UK, where I'm from, and the wild boar are seen as a valuable food resource. If they weren't hunted legally, they would be wiped out by the locals both for their meat and for the damage they do to trees and crops, but as the law stands they are protected, in as much as only a certain number are allowed to be taken, always leaving enough to breed to keep the numbers up. In my experience, the local hunters bend the laws rather (I've found giant snares and traps) but if you are polite and explain that you are removing your land from the hunting zone as you want to cultivate it, or somesuch, they will approve and respect that.

  • Earth Monki

    October 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm Reply

    Passed on to me by my friend Leo who does anti-hunting camps …

    … Portugese laws are similar to the italian ones [possibly]. Hunters here are allowed to trespass private property since a law that Mussolini set. Here people sometimes build fences to keep hunters out of their properties. If there is a fence they cannot go in. Best solution is probably to plant spiky blackberries bushes where hunters trails meet your property. During our camps we always drop seeds of spiky plants along hunters trials. We help nature to defend itself using its own ways of doing it.

  • Andre Correia

    January 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm Reply

    Hello Millo!
    Tension between landowners and hunters is quite common in Portugal and hunters know about that, so they should be prepared to hear that you don't want them to hunt in your land.
    I have a neighbour here in Tabua that goes after the hunter with a camera when they get less than 250m from his house even though they never get into his land. Once he was shouting in their face for them to go away. Now when the hunters see him they just start walking away as they know it's illegal to hunt there.
    I know your situation is different as you seem to want to maintain good relationship with those hunters, or at least you don't want any trouble.
    Could it be that they are playing super-friendly just to make it more difficult for you to tell them to go away?
    If I had that problem I would explain that I'm doing a controlled experiment of farming integrated in the wider ecosystem and that requires for no animals to be hunted to study the consequences and find out if the system gets to an equilibrium. That is true in my type of farming and not so antagonistic as saying that I am vegan and don't want to facilitate in any way the unnecessary killing of wild animals.
    If they don't accept that, isn't it you that had a trauma with guns and have panic attacks whenever you hear shooting. Unfortunately some times a white lie may be the only way to avoid animosity.
    As a last resource you should be able to legally turn your land into a non-hunting area.
    Millo if you want I can send you the hunting law and translate anything.
    Keep us posted 🙂

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