On-Site Report Reveals American Hunter’s Intense Hunts in Hyogo Prefecture – Witness the Chilling Photographs | FRIDAY DIGITAL

On-Site Report Reveals American Hunter’s Intense Hunts in Hyogo Prefecture – Witness the Chilling Photographs

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In the first part of the article “Helping the hunter shortage!  The “tumultuous life” of an American man who became a hunter in Japan,” we covered the story of how Hamor Jeffrey Heath, 41, made the decision to come to Japan to live as an “American hunter. In the second part of the series, we will introduce the hunting activities of Mr. Hamor and his friends.

Hamor said that he accompanies Mr. Fujita, a newcomer who has just obtained his hunting license, on hunting trips and gives him guidance. On this day, they patrolled three traps set in wooded areas near residential areas, farmland, and other locations. He carefully explained how to set the traps in the path of the beasts by concealing the wires with fallen leaves so that the boars would not be able to detect them.

“When Residents Report Wildlife Damage to the Municipal Agricultural Department: A Collaborative Effort Between the City and Hunting Associations to Investigate and Strategize Trap Placement”

Mr. Hamor giving a lecture on trap trapping.

After completing their rounds, the hunters head towards the office-cum-storage room referred to as the hut at the Nishinomiya branch. On this day, Mr. Hamor is teaching the new hunters how to make traps using wire. At the Nishinomiya branch, Mr. Hamor and the veterans conduct lectures on gun hunting, trap setting, and methods for dissecting prey.

“In America, we catch coyotes with leg-hold traps (traps that clamp down on the animal’s leg with a metal plate when it steps in), but we didn’t use snare traps for deer or wild boar. Trap hunting in Japan is unique. My mentor catches 100 wild boars in one year. It’s amazing.”

On Sundays, Mr. Hamor participates in joint drives with local hunting clubs in Tanba-Sasayama City, located on the border of Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures. Upon reaching the mountain hunting ground, Mr. Hamor gives instructions and positions shooters. The strategy involves driving the game towards the shooters with the help of Mr. Yoneda, who brings tracking dogs. On the day I accompanied them, no game appeared in the morning, so we had lunch before heading to another hunting ground.

Banquet with members of the hunting club

Mr. Hamor led the way up the mountain, reaching their shooting positions. Along the way, they came across a mud wallow where wild boars or deer were likely to be found, raising expectations.

Shortly after everyone took their positions, Mr. Yoneda’s radio crackled with the message, “Deer spotted. Heading towards Mr. Hamo.” Mr. Hamor aimed his Browning A-Bolt. A few minutes later, a gunshot echoed nearby.

Immediately after, another shot rang out. “I got it,” came the radio transmission. Mr. Hamor hurried in the direction of the gunshot and found a female deer lying on the ground. It was Keiko Sasamoto, in her fifth year of hunting, who had successfully brought it down.

“A deer suddenly jumped out, but I was able to handle it more calmly than I thought,” she said.

Sasamoto, who bagged her first-ever trophy, received congratulations from the hunting party.

Mr. Hamor hiding in the forest

“Today was amazing!”

Mr. Hamor was also very satisfied with the hunt.

The next morning, Mr. Hamor received word that a wild boar had been caught in one of the traps he set, so he headed to the scene. The location was a park in an upscale residential area facing a slope.

A 30kg wild boar, with its left front leg caught in the wire, was struggling desperately. Mr. Hamor cautiously approached from behind to avoid a counterattack. As a finishing blow, he struck the boar’s skull with an iron pipe.

“If it were a smaller piglet, I would use my bare hands to wrestle it into submission,” he said.

Mr. Hamor removing a boar from a trap.

“When I was working in the car export business, I was busy every day and had no mental peace. I couldn’t adapt to city life, and I think stress was building up. After moving to Hyogo Prefecture, I was able to live with my family in an environment close to nature, and I met seniors and friends in the hunting club. We started eating meat hunted in the mountains and growing rice and vegetables, and I was able to achieve the ideal lifestyle for myself.”

Just as he learned hunting from his grandfather and father in America, Mr. Hamor’s wish is to pass on the joy of hunting to his son, Kaisei.

  • Photography, Interview, Text Toru Yokota

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