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Msharf’s Article: Shooting Birds in Saudi Arabia

Article #2 in the ESL Student Life Stories Project, by Msharf from Saudi Arabia, age 24.

Saudi Arabian student

The author, on our class trip to Boston’s Science Museum

One day during the migration season in Saudi Arabia, nine of my friends and I went into the desert to hunt.

We woke up at five in the morning to distribute the work between us. First, we chose a boss for the group to settle any small disagreements that may come, though usually we agree.

Next, we prepared the hunting gear and stashed it in the four-wheel-drive cars.

The sun had not yet risen when we began to drive into the desert.

One hour away from Riyadh by car, we reached our destination and fixed our camp for the next three days. We began to unpack the food (rice, eggs, water, spices, and bread), the rugs (prayer rugs and everyday rugs), our snacks (chips, juice, and candy), a camera (which we used to take the photos in this article)… and a TV with a satellite and DVD player. Yes, we took a TV into the desert!

Then we made and drank Arabic coffee.

Saudi Arabia tent

The tents in the desert where the hunting group slept. The TV is inside!

We had arrived so early that it was still dark, so we took a thirty-minute pause to eat a small breakfast: dates, buttermilk, eggs, and tea.

When the sun began to rise, it was time to hunt! We climbed into two cars with our big rifles.

“When you see the trees,” said my friend, “don’t get out of the car. You must instead prepare for shooting.”

We lifted our weapons as our friend continued: “Put the gun barrel on your shoulder and be alert for safety. Focus on the birds with the rifle and be very careful that there are no people near the tree! After that… start shooting.”

Then my friend fired his gun into the birds in the trees.

Rifle

One of the hunting rifles or “Shooting Irons” as our dictionary says

We began firing, too. As we shot, one car drove right, and the other car went left. Within a few hours, we had shot a large pile of birds.

In the afternoon, we came back to our camp to take a break and sleep. When we woke up, we made lunch from birds, rice and soup. All my friends helped the person cooking, and some cleaned the dishes to prepare. One friend cut tomatoes and green peppers. The bird lunch was delicious, and it smelled great!

After the lunch, my friends and I drank tea and discussed poetry. We slept early because for the next two days of hunting we would be waking up at five am.

I heard Saad say to Muhammad, “I am enjoying this trip so much!”

Birds from hunting

The pile of birds from one day of hunting, soon to be lunch…

In the desert you can really see nature: trees, sand, and animals. We people look so little under the big sky! You can hear the birds’ voices, the sound of air, and the shooting of guns. The weather is sunny all the time in the desert… and I love it there!

In the past, many men in Saudi Arabia depended on hunting because they did not have enough food. Nowadays, however, my friends and I love hunting because it helps us find patience and relaxation. It is such an enjoyable change to go from the city to the desert!

Lillie’s Note: Are you hungry yet? I like this article because it shows a sweet, friend-filled side of hunting: an activity which we in Boston are somewhat freaked out by. Please leave an encouraging (or politely shocked) comment for Msharf, stating your geographical location. Msharf worked hard on this article, and would love to hear from you!

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Linda

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Msharf and friends,

I love to hear when people are able to hunt their own food and be responsible hunters in order to provide food for themselves. This is how people used to live for many many many years before we had grocery stores and other things like that. I think it's wonderful to be able to learn how to provide for yourself and others in a respectable way and I love this article that you wrote very detailed very friendly and it shows that you and your friends had a wonderful time. The one friend that was educating you on how to shoot and how to be responsible I think that's outstanding to be able to give you pointers and tips on how to do things properly for the safety of everyone. I see nothing wrong with hunting as long as it's done responsibly and everyone should know how to hunt for food for themselves because we never know what the future is going to bring. Thank you for this beautiful post it was lovely to see how much fun you had and as long as you hunt responsibly I see no problem with hunting as long as it's not an excessive pastime so that way there's plenty for everyone all the time. Again thank you for this lovely post much happiness to you and your friends I look forward to hearing another post from you.

Linda Pollender Kentucky, USA

Lillie Marshall

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Linda!

Emily

Thursday 6th of February 2014

Dear Msharf, This does sound like a wonderful day with friends. I would encourage you to hunt responsibly--you may not be aware that many migratory birds are rare or endangered, so you might be hunting some of the last birds of their kind without realizing it. Since it sounds like you enjoy nature, I think that you might want to talk with your friends about finding a way to hunt fewer birds, and only the ones that are not at risk of extinction. Here is an article about how leading hunters in the Middle East are discussing responsible hunting: http://migratorysoaringbirds.undp.birdlife.org/en/news/prominent-hunters-middle-east-and-africa-sign-declaration-responsible-hunting. I also have an idea for you: many tourists from other countries like to watch migrating birds, and it sounds like you know good places to find them. It could be fun (and profitable) for you and your friends to be bird guides instead of bird hunters. I know I would love to see many of these birds in flight. Thank you for considering these things! Also, I thought your article was well written. Regards, Emily

Hamed A.

Friday 15th of June 2012

Birds hunting , or any hunting of wildlife is the most despicable thing! Since u people are no longer poor and hungry you should let these poor creatures alone! Just imagine your desert without the sound of birds you claim to love!

Adam

Friday 24th of February 2012

Hi, I am an expat living in Saudi and have a life long interest in hunting and living off the land. It would be great to have an opportunity to go hunting here in saudi on the weekends. If you know of anyone that i could tag along with then please contact me at ads_@hotmail.com. Thanks, Adam

Drew

Tuesday 27th of July 2010

I am in Arizona, which has desert land like Saudi Arabia. There is some bird hunting, but we also hunt Javelina, which is a wild pig. The meat is very tasty.

When I first learned to shoot and hunt, my father taught me that if I shoot it, I eat it. Eating your wild game while camping out with friends is indeed an enjoyable experience that some of the city slickers in Boston (or any other big city) should check out sometime.

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