Sometimes you see something you know you'll never experience again. This is where these stories lives on beyond the campfire.

Boban Spaskov

A life-changing moment in the wilds of Serbia

November 22, 2012 • Vlasina lake, Serbia
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“It was an early, chilly morning in a late autumn. Yet there was no wind or clouds, and the sun seemed to shyly announce the beginning of a warm autumn day.”

The area of Vlasina lake in southeast of Serbia, high in the mountains, is wild and challenging. All around me was beech forest, colored in gold, and lots of fast mountain streams with very cold water.

A few days ago I bought my first hunting rifle, a Benelli Argo Endurance. My idea was to try it, away from other people – with no hurry. I enjoy shooting and I was very pleased with the rifle, both its ergonomics and performance. I shot off about 20 rounds, then, smiling and happy, began walking back toward my home. I just couldn’t wait to go on my first hunt ever, which was to begin in seven days.

I was left with three rounds in the rifle, and I was carrying it in my hands. I was crossing a flat field with no trees or any vegetation on my way to the cabin. Suddenly, I heard the sound of rustling leaves. To my left I saw a huge wild boar, who was emerging from the forest to the field at full gallop. He did not see me, yet he was heading towards me at full speed. Behind him was another huge boar – an even larger one. My heart started pounding like crazy.

The first one spotted me at about 30 meters and changed his route. The second wild boar didn’t seem to see me at all and continued to run towards me. I raised my rifle, took aim and fired. The boar fell, rose for a second, and then fell again. Silence. He did not move.

I was completely out of breath and could hear my heart beating very loudly. I couldn’t believe my eyes. After a couple of moments I started to think about how many bullets I had left – and whether there might be more boars coming. I carefully got closer to the animal, ready to shoot again should he get back on his feet, but determined that the boar was indeed dead. The boar was really large. Later we weighed him at 160 kg. I never in my life felt such strong emotions of happiness, joy and pride! I was completely ecstatic – and also very hot and thirsty.

For a while I simply sat, and I felt like I was in a dream. The hit was good – a little behind, but good. More luck than skill. Then I called my dad and some friends, and they appeared quite soon. They took the animal to the jeep – and then came the celebrations! Today, two years later, I cannot remember many of the details too clearly but what I do remember is the heartbeat, the smell of the animal, and my incredible thirst – and I remember the sun.

The 160 kg boar from the story.

Why does one feel such excitement when they see a wild animal? Why do we have such a strong desire for the hunt, and for wilderness? Maybe we are carrying the memories of our ancestors, which tell us that hunting is the only way to survive. Evolution continues, and even though we have no real need for hunting anymore we are still hunters. In any case, from that day on I became one of many people who are addicted to the hunt. Close contact with wild nature has since that day become my new way of life.

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