December 21, 2009

Let’s go hunting with Ashong in Lun Pi tribe


Located on the north shore of Lan-Yan river, Lun Pi tribe area used to be a beautiful pond. After the pond dried up, it became the settlement for Atayal’s. In the vicinity of the tribe, Hapen Trail deposits rich flora and fauna and was also the hunting field for the tribe since ancient time. They hunt; live peacefully with the Mother Nature. In Lun Pi tribe, we followed the footstep of Ashong to explore the hunting trail, identify animal tracks, learn the wild life, and discover the hunting wisdom of Atayal’s.


In addition to experience the Atayal hunters’ hunting culture and understand the ecological wisdom, we went to the Hu Po Lun on the Hapen Trail to understand the wetland ecology, which was also the main purpose of this trip.


After we arrived at Lun Pi tribe, led by Ashong, we jumped into a truck with a small black dog. From here to the entrance of the mountain, the road was quite a bit bumpy. We all needed to maintain balance and watch out for the branches attack. It was very “exciting”!


Every hunter owns at least one hunting dog and it is usually a black dog. Ashong’s black dog followed the truck. No matter how fast or slow the truck was, the black dog had never passed the truck. He was such a well disciplined dog. It was so interesting seeing the black dog doing the muddy spa in every muddy water we passed by. We had a good laugh.


After we passed through the mountain entrance, a ceremony was held for entering the mountain at the intersection. Ashong put away his smile, held the millet wine cup with his eyes closed, communicated with ancestors with his native language, wishing a safe trip from the blessing of the ancestors. He tossed to the ancestral spirits with one sip. We all took turns to have a sip. The ones who did not drink could sprinkle the wine on the ground with fingers.


Walking in the lively and shrouded tree mountain trail, we were exhausted, but we still found it very comfortable.


Ashong was showing us how to observe the footprints of animals, and identify them by their sounds. This mark was left by a ferret badger, and that hole was made by a mountain swine. The small dent was the footprints of a Muntiacus reevesi. Whether the waste was from the animal or whether the sound was from a female or a male Muntiacus reevesi’s, Ashong knows all the answers. Following him to hunt, my senses seemed to act up as well.


Ahsong was also telling us the function of each plant. Which ones can’t be touched because of the poisonous, which ones can be eaten, which ones can alleviate the symptoms after the injury, and how to release the thirsty… After all these, he then cut off a yellow vine. He said “Hunter does not bring water with him. Drink this instead!” The juice came out from the yellow vine. It tasted unbelievably sweet and fresh after a sip. Mother Nature is just like a natural supermarket. No wonder as long as Ahsong has a knife, a bag of rice, and salt, he can live inside the mountain for a couple months.


Following the slope all the way down, I did not see the Lun Pi pond, but heard lots of frog sounds. I was getting excited. Not for too long, I finally saw the hidden Lun Pi pond.


The Lun Pi pond is surrounded with flat area. It contains a variety of water plants.


With the continuous sound of frogs and dancing of dragonflies and damselflies, you could also see the wild geese duck if you are lucky!


The Lun Pi pond is covered by a small oval shape floating plant which is one of the rare and endangered plants - Brasenia Schreberi.


On the back and stem of the Brasenia Schreberi, a shining jell grows and looks like a jelly. It was reported that Brasenia Schreberi can reduce heat, release anger, and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It has a pretty high medical value. Lun Pi pond is one of the two places in Taiwan growing Brasenia Schreberi and has generated lots of attention.


After an hour at the pond, we came back for lunch. We had our meals at “Three Ina Shop”. Shan Shu salad, fried pork with bun, golden tofu, rib, and green onion chicken all were delicious. It was a worthwhile experience.


We now visited Ashong’s work studio. The studio was built by retaining walls in his backyard and is very simple and small, but it does not affect his desire in sharing his hunting culture.


Ashong at the age of mid 30s gave up a higher pay job and returned to the mountain to be a guide in order to continue the tribal hunting culture. He started hunting with his father in his childhood years. Now he has a solid foundation of hunting skills and knowledge. He is such a good candidate for being a hunter for his age.


There is a variety of hunting weapons, such as bows, arrows, spears, wooden guns, harpoons, fish cages, etc. Asong explained the details of each weapon’s function and handling method. The arrowhead has single, double and triple arrow heads. Each animal is hunted by a different arrow head.


The traditional wooden gun did not look lethal. However, it was not what I thought, after Ashong explained and demonstrated. A license is needed by using the wooden gun. Of course, Ashong is legal to own his gun.


In addition to the hunting weapons, there are animal leather, yellow rattan basket carry-on, bamboo containers, pipe, and other daily necessities in his studio. In the photo a cloak is shown and was made by the animal skin which was his raincoat. It can keep warm and is also water resistant. It can also become a sleeping bag. It is very easy to use.


Ashong also shared with us the hunting principles. Hunter can’t be greedy. They have to follow the rules to keep eco-balanced and respect our Mother Nature. In fact, no matter which tribes of indigenous people, they all have a strong land ethic and natural harmony concept. We all need to learn from them.



"Three Ina Shop"-[三個伊娜的店]


Yilan County, Da Tuing Township, Lun Pi Village, Cao Yang Lane, #11

宜蘭縣大同鄉崙埤村朝陽巷11號 Read More


Anonymous said...

Technically, that's a damselfly (豆娘).
Dragonfly is 蜻蜓. ;)


kritsten and micki said...

Ha! actually there are two kinds- damselfly and dragonfly. I skipped the 豆娘. Thanks!
You were a kid hunter before, so cool!

Anonymous said...

thanks for share....

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