Heading to the Hunting with Selkup elderly woman to prey on partridges

alentina Starovoytova lives in Narym, often visits her native village Tyukhterevo, located on the shores of the lake with the same name.

During her life she traveled to Tomsk, Omsk Region, Altai Territory, Ulan-Ude and Kemerovo Region. She tried many different professions: had a job on duty, worked at a school as a teacher, as a mechanic with wood-making equipment, worked a nurse, a cashier, a cook, a technical, a watchman.

text,photo: Alexey Vshivkov

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“Being away from Narym, from Tyukhterevo, I always felt that I was missing something ...”.

The Selkups say that the village of Tykhterevo is already 1,500 years old and all this time the main craft of its inhabitants was hunting. In summer, the village is filled with Tyukhterevskie chvara (local lakes), bears attack it in the spring. They are covered with snow in winter, but the Selkup do not abandon their hunting grounds. They hunt for sables, foxes, elks, minks, wood grouses, earning their living.

Valentina Denisovna each time walkes about 14 km to get to the village of Tyukhterevo, sometimes by car, sometimes by snowmobile, and sometimes by hitch-hiking (passing by timber trucks).

Tyukhterevskoe cemetery is located in the middle of the forest. If you don’t know where it is, it is almost impossible to find it. The cemetery is “guarded” by trees with colorful ribbons around them, so the Selkups have good relations with nature.

Valentine, walking in the woods, often sings. Her friends laugh at her, saying that she will scare away all the animals. She just shrugs her shoulders, saying - “Well, how can you not to sing when the soul sings”.

Here you can change the direction of the camera by yourself.

Tyukhterevo village (Tyurterev yurts) is a small settlement of 6 houses with outbuildings.

The village stands 20 meters from the shore of the lake at the edge of a cedar forest.

The village of Tyukhterevo consists of several huts. One of them belongs to Valentina, and the other belongs to her grandson Mikhail. Connection in Tyukhterevo depends on the weather, always is in different parts of the village.

Valentina has a nephew — Michael. For the first time Mikhail took a gun and went hunting when he was 8 years old. My father gave several bullets and said, “Do not come back without a bag”.

Mikhail also had time to try himself in different roles: he served in Abakan, worked in Tomsk, went on duty, but by the age of 35 he realized that life in the village was most suitable for him. “In the village it is calmer, more comfortable, it is easier for me”.

Now he lives in Narym and makes a living only by hunting. Hunting under a license, the state does not provide any benefits for him as the Selkup. Mostly, he hunts for sables, minks, foxes, several times tried to hunt for bears — “The bear cannot frighten me with anything, I know this beast well”.

Here Valentina is preparing to go hunting: she takes fresh nets, a knife and a kuzov (a sturdy backpack made of bark) to keep prey.

To get to the nets you have to overcome deep snow piles. Their height reaches the waist. And if you fall into a hole, the snow can cover a person by the neck.

Frozen partridges are often stolen by foxes from the nets, because the average bag is about 1-2 partridges. But this time a record was set — 4 partridges.

Despite the sleepless night, the bruise under the eye from her lover, high blood pressure that jumped sharply and bad weather, Valentina easily overcomes the snowdrifts and checks the nets in search of prey.

Once, during a hunt, Valentine, having shot at a squirrel, hit her with a bullet right between the eyes. After that, they called her a “killer” in the village.

Valentina goes hunting at least once a week, often stays in Tyukhterevo for several days. She goes hunting for fun. All she gets is given to her grandchildren.

“Often I go out into the forest just like that, not for bags, just to walk, to be alone with my native nature”.

Walking through the woods, she often comes up with lines of poems, she says “they come up just by themselves”. She does not record them, does not save; verses as spontaneously appear as disappear without a trace. In general, people in their family are engaged in writing: Valentina's sister Lyudmila Shadrina writes poetry, her son Vadim is also a poet and is going to publish a book soon.

Valentine is checking the nets for catching birds. Today's record: 4 partridges

Here you can change the direction of the camera by yourself.

Here you can change the direction of the camera by yourself.

Mikhail uses homemade sledges to carry passengers by a snowmobile.

Valentina has 5 children and 6 grandchildren. She communicates with them whenever possible, helps as much as she can. When they invite Valentina to visit, she refuses and invites everybody to her place because she no longer wants to leave Tyukhterevo.

Unlike many Selkups, Valentina does not pay much attention to religious issues. She finds it difficult to answer what kind of clan she is, speaks about shamanism with a grin and calls herself Orthodox.

Her plans for the future are limited to the village way of life: harvest, inspect her nets, not to miss the hunting season, etc.

“I am calm in Tyukhterevo, my home is here ...”

Here you can change the direction of the camera by yourself.

Michael’s hut (Valentina’s nephew) in Tyukhterevo, where hunters can warm up and relax during the fishery.

Избушка племянника Валентины Денисовны Михаила в Тюхтерево, где охотники
могут погреться и отдохнуть во время промысла