Famous lynx hunter change attitudes and start to participate on lynx research and monitoring
Location: Michalová, Muránska planina – Slovakia,
Story by: Ondrej Galko
Mr. Ondrej Galko was a very effective lynx hunter for several years, and he knew very well about top localities of lynx. Large carnivore research team asked him to use his knowledges and to participate on field works. The hunter was honoured, that research community was interested in his experiences, and he started to cooperate in lynx monitoring. Now, more than 3 years research community used his local knowledges and experiences.
Mr. Ondrej Galko was a very effective lynx hunter in 80´s and 90´s. He was an “old school” traditional trapper hunter, motivated by a desire for hunting experiences in the way of wildlife, which was used mainly in Russia and North America. Usually he went hunting on his horse in the accompaniment of hunting dog. This way of hunting demanded huge knowledge about the ecology as well as ethology of animals. He needs to know very well “personal” life of the animal and be able to read from animal’s tracks. He has also a very good knowledge about a territory, where he was hunting. All these skills can be gained, only if you spend in a forest huge amount of days. To spend a time in the forest, to hunt, sleep and eat in the forest, was the greatest time for him. Villagers remembers times, when he was walking through the country on his horse, with his big mutton cap decorated by a fox tale, having a hunted lynx over hanged on his horse. Perfect picture from the story of Jack London situated in a small village in the heart of Western Carpathians – in Slovakia.
During the period of 80´s and 90´s, he hunted down 10 lynxes, and in another few cases he was working also as a hunting guide. In that time was the average annual harvest around 112 individuals/year. That number was too high and it reflects on population decrease.
80s – 90s
During that period he was a famous hunter in his region
he stopped to hunt the lynx because of a new law
he cooperates with researchers and participated on lynx monitoring
Hunting of lynx is forbidden in Slovakia since 1999 (Ministry of Environment), respectively since (2001 (Ministry of Agriculture) because of high amount of hunted lynxes. After the whole year protection was established, also Mr. Galko finished his lynx focused hunting.
The Slovak research organization DIANA focused on large carnivore’s research, with main focus on monitoring and research of lynx, was collecting during the year 2015 data and information about large carnivores in Muránska planina mountain. Researches contacted Mr. Galko, if he will be willing to deal his knowledges about large carnivores in this area. After few meetings in his hunting room decorated by many trophies, researches asked him to guide them on sites where he hunted lynxes. He took researches to the top locality, where he hunted most lynxes. After 20 years, the key mark site of lynx on NP Muránska planina was identified at the same place.
Training Courses / Workshops
Meetings with researchers give a new impulse to his life connected with lynx. He was honoured, that research community was interested in his experiences and he started to cooperate in lynx monitoring. Now after 3 years he is a part of local research team and he is a volunteer member in monitoring activities in one of the lynx LIFE project. He continuously shares his valuable knowledges and experiences with researches and also gives them useful information from the hunting community. He also provides his lynx trophies for genetic analyses and for deterministic monitoring based on lynx coats patterns, what was very valuable for researchers.
Mr. Galko changes his rifle and traps behind the camera and hunting experience changes on the “hunting” of lynx photography. We believe, that cooperation with him will continue also during the next years and he will participate on lynx monitoring and on protection of lynx in Slovakia.
Monitoring for Banskobystrický
Administration of NP Muránska planina
Faculty of Natural Sciences of Matej Bel Univerzity in Banská Bystrica.
A SPECIAL MOMENT
One day, when he tracked a lynx, he found according to the tracks in the snow as the animal starts to hunt the deer. Suddenly the lynx jumped on the 200 kg male red deer. At first, it looks like that after running some distance; the lynx felt from the deer, because no lynx pawprint was visible any more. But after 300 meter hunter recognize a small paw print in the snow and then he found out that the lynx was still on deer and hung on him approximately 400-500 meters. After this distance the deer had given apparently a heart attack and fall dawn. Because Mr. Galko wanted to hunt this lynx, he dug near the carcass a jam in the snow a wait until the dark. In the night he found out that this super lynx is a mother with two youngsters. As the proper old school trapper’s hunters, he left her alive.