Hunting

In the past, all Balochis were passionately devoted to field sports, and in the days of the Mirs the shikargahs, or game preserves, which occupied the banks of the Indus from Sehwan to Thatta, were places of inviolable sanctity. The hunter was seated in his shooting box opposite a gap in a hedge. Through this gap a close-packed herd of hog-deer (Axis porcinus) was driven to be slaughtered at close quarters amid acciamations of victory. Duck and water fowl were shot in the same way.Nowadays hunting is still popular, although the stock is decreasing.

The Indus and its tributaries constitute the ‘Green Route’ for migratory birds coming from the cold regions of Russia in winter to the more hospitable land of Sindh. Exceptionally rich wetlands are found in Sindh, and several hundreds of thousands of ducks and coots spend their winter on these lakes. The migratory waterfowl visiting Sindh follow Flyway No. 4. The hunters are able to shoot because the wetlands are not protected under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Amendment Act, 1993.

The Houbara Bustard (Chiamydotis undulata) migrates in winter to the arid zone of Pakistan. It has become a favourite quarry of hunting expeditions from Arab countries. For the Arab nobility, falconry has been a favourite sport for many hundreds of years, and the traditional quarry is the houbara. In former times, it was a relatively common bird in the Arabian deserts, and about as big a target as their Saker falcons (Falco cherrug) were prepared to tackle. Although the houbara rarely escapes death, the battle between the two birds is considered a great spectacle, and houbara flesh is thought to be quite savoury. In the past, falconry was practised as a leisurely art, the shikaris (hunters) tracking the bustard by horse or camel, and only two or three hawks were flown. However, with the advent of oil wealth these traditional methods quickly gave way to highly mechanized expeditions, and much of the endemic game of the Gulf was rapidly exhausted. Since 1968, the number of houbara to be found in Pakistan has declined noticeably, ‘by no coincidence the year when large scale hunting by Arab visitors to Pakistan was started…’ (T.J. Roberts, 1991, p. 275.)

Hunting License
Hunting License

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