Saint Hubert, Patron Saint of Hunters
On 3 November, all European hunters celebrate the feast of their patron saint, St. Hubert. Masses and meals are held all over the country to honour this day and in a way, feeling proud of the work they do.
The legend of the deer
Hubert of Liège was born in 657 into a French noble family. The nobility of the Middle Ages was very fond of hunting and the young man was a regular hunter. The story goes that one Good Friday he was hunting and was chasing a large deer with his dogs. At one point in the chase, the majestic animal turned and stood watching, and between its antlers a crucifix was revealed, highlighted by numerous rays of divine light. After this, Hubert heard a voice saying: "Hubert, if you do not return to the Lord and lead a holy life, you will go to hell". Hearing these words, he knelt down in front of the deer and asked what he should do, and the heavenly voice instructed him to go to the bishop of Belgium for answers.
From then on, he devoted his whole life to helping the needy, retiring from hunting and wealth in the Duchy of Aquitaine. Years later, he became bishop of the diocese of Maastricht, noted for his simplicity and austerity. He was also a fluent speaker, noted for his dense prayers and fasts. Finally, he died in Tervuren (Belgium) in 727.
After his death, numerous military orders of the 15th century took his name and protection. It is worth mentioning that thanks to Philip IV of Spain, Saint Hubert is venerated by all hunters, because he chose him as their protector.
Today we also have the legend present in brands such as Jägermeister, which uses the deer with the cross as its brand logo. There is also a breed of hunting tracker dog (very similar to a hound) to which his name is attributed. And numerous artists have depicted the legend of this nobleman on their canvases, as we can see below in this oil painting by Rubens.
Hunting modality Saint Hubertus
This blessed man is so important for our community that a hunting modality has been created in his honour. This reflects in a brief simulation what hunting is in its purest form, as its rules are based on strict compliance with the rules that cannot govern our daily hunting days. It is based on respect for nature and sportsmanship.
According to the RFEC, this test assesses three fundamental aspects, which are:
- The hunter's behaviour in relation to the game and his dog.
- The hunter's shooting ability
- Training and natural qualities of the dog
The championship consists of a fenced area simulating a hunting ground and 20 minutes to go around it. You can only shoot two game, which is the quota that must be respected for the viability of a species. The rest of the animals must be allowed to escape without being shot by the hunter.
Six cartridges must be carried and no more than four may be shot. The game must be shot at a minimum distance that allows the meat to be used for consumption. This is the essence of the activity, hunting for food and enjoying the gifts of nature.
As for the dog, it is judged by the standard of its breed. They are usually small game breeds such as podencos in all their variants, pointers, terriers, Breton spaniels, German pointers or buzzards among others. These canes must search with the air in their favour and always have contact with the owner, as they form a team for the same purpose. When they locate a prey, they must make a sample and guide the hunter. Once the prey has been shot, they must wait until the owner gives the order to retrieve it and deliver it to the hunter's hand.
Everything must be done in such a way that it can be shot without danger and respecting the safety measures installed by the judge.