Fe­male hun­ters take aim at wild boar

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By REUTERS in Fukui, Ja­pan

Chi­aki Ko­dama blows her whis­tle and soon a male deer wan­ders into sight.

She slowly takes aim and squeezes the trig­ger of her ri­fle.

Mo­ments later, Ko­dama and a friend on her first hunt are track­ing the wounded an­i­mal through the for­est.

“Look for the trail of blood,” said Ko­dama as they set off on a moun­tain­side in Ja­pan’s Fukui prefecture.

The 28-year-old hair­dresser and city coun­cilor is among a small but grow­ing num­ber of women en­ter­ing the male­dom­i­nated world of hunt­ing, where it was once taboo for men to even speak to a woman be­fore go­ing on a hunt.

As the hunt­ing fra­ter­nity shrinks due to age and ru­ral de­pop­u­la­tion, women are re­cruited to help pro­tect farms against ris­ing num­bers of wild deer and boar viewed as pests by farm­ers.

Farmer Manabu Ushiy­achi said he wel­comed any hunter, male or fe­male, to help fend off the wild boar that feast on his veg­etable crops.

“There are farms that have been com­pletely dev­as­tated,” he said, adding that at­tempts to trap the an­i­mals have failed.

Ja­panese farm­ers have lost up to $170 mil­lion an­nu­ally since 2008 be­cause of ris­ing num­bers of deer, boar, mon­keys and birds.

Since 1990s, the num­ber of deer in Ja­pan has jumped from less than 400,000 to more than 3 mil­lion. The boar pop­u­la­tion dou­bled to 1 mil­lion.

Ak­iba said hunt­ing was nec­es­sary to “keep the num­bers un­der con­trol in or­der to main­tain a sys­tem”.

Of Ja­pan’s 105,000 reg­is­tered hun­ters, two-thirds are 60 or older and only 1,169 are fe­male.

Af­ter shoot­ing the deer, Ko­dama and her friend, Aoi Fukuno, fol­lowed the blood trail and found the dead an­i­mal ly­ing on a fallen tree.

Ko­dama then showed Aoi how to gut the deer and lay it in a river to drain the blood.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to fi­nally see with my own eyes what I read in text­books to get my li­cense,” Aoi said. healthy eco-

THOMAS PETER / REUTERS

Hun­ters Chi­aki Ko­dama (right) and Aoi Fukuno re­trieve a deer shot by Ko­dama in a for­est in Ja­pan’s Fukui Prefecture on Nov 17.

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