The Czech Republic has several national organizations specialised in hunting and cynegetics. The largest organisation is the Czech-Moravian Hunting Union, which is based in Prague and is made up of nearly 80,000 members. The membership in this organisation is voluntary and members contribute an annual fee.
Of these 80,000 members, around 3.5% are female hunters. This is a relatively small percentage, but the number of women entering the hunting world is increasing every year. Above all, there is a growing interest amongst the generation of young women who are relatively well represented in various clubs of the Czech-Moravian Hunting Union, especially in cynegetic clubs, trumpeter and bugler clubs, writers clubs, but also in the newest founded club that supports women in hunting, the DIANA Club.
The DIANA Club is an official game keeping society and was founded on June 3rd, 2009 as the first ever women’s hunting association within the Czech Republic. It was established in the district of Tábor in southern Bohemia, where the representation of women in hunting is higher than the national average. The club currently has more than ninety female members and new members are joining every month. There are women of all ages and professions. The club is also a member of the Bohemian-Moravian Hunting Union, membership of which is not compulsory in order to become a member of the DIANA Club. Any woman who just sympathises with our activities or is simply interested in game keeping can join us.
The club is not subsidised by any other hunting or state organisations. All costs are met from their own resources, or from sponsorship, which is primarily used for children’s educational purposes.
The main purpose of the club is to foster friendship, mutual understanding and to work with children. In many cases, it is still women who pass on family traditions, but there are also women who are not from a hunting background, who are currently participating in the game keeping course. Women who are not from hunting families often have difficulties engaging in the act of hunting itself and integrating local and regional hunting grounds. We want to give these young women and others the opportunity to meet, exchange experiences, and help each other. In many cases, friendship and mutual assistance is carried over into everyday life.
Amongst the ranks of the club are hunting dog-handlers, falconers, members of the hunting trumpeters and buglers club, women dedicated to sport shooting, professional decoy calls, engraving, women engaged in cultural and artistic activities and members working with children and youth. There are also certified hunting dog judges, a successful writer, painter, a lecturer and reviewer of the national hunting assessments, several organisers of cultural and social events, and of course women who actively conduct game keeping on their regional and local hunting grounds.
The activities of the club focus mainly on working with children, to whom we as women and mothers are closest. We seek to divert them from the television and computer screens back to nature, to teach them a common awareness of nature and its active protection, which have always been an integral part of hunting. We hold joint meetings with renowned experts on canine matters, shooting, falconry, game keeping, different methods of hunting and other related topics. We also attend and organize exhibitions and cultural events, but we also meet at collective hunts. In addition, we organize children’s days, lectures at schools, competitions for children, canine and shooting activities. We strive to improve the public’s perception of hunting.
Together with the wider hunter base, the club would like to contribute to the defence of the significance and importance of hunting in our modern society. The club promotes the Czech hunting culture, music and traditions, which are the best foundations for this discussion.
Central to the club’s strategy is the representation in the media. Members took part in filming a TV show entitled “A thousand years of hunting”, and also took part in a radio programme in the Southern Bohemian studio of a national radio. The club had a booth at the National Exhibition of Hunting – Natura Viva where the public was informed about its’ activities. The club regularly contributes to hunting magazines, on both regional and national levels.
Of all the events which have taken place in the past few years, it is important to mention a very successful Festival of trumpeters and bugle youth in the castle park Bechyne. The Czech-Moravian Hunting Union in Tabor runs its own trumpeters club under the leadership of a member of the DIANA Club: Sarka Kvičínska. The club currently has fifty members, with a very high proportion being women and children. This is just one way of bringing the hunting culture to the general public and especially to the younger generation. In addition, every year the club organize a shooting competition called the Diana Cup, with the aim of improving one’s shooting skills. This year, the club announced a contest in hunting photography and the club would like to strengthen its’ cooperation with the Videoclub of the Czech-Moravian Hunting Union.
Next year, the club has planned an international children’s summer camp, with the theme of game-keeping and the conservation of nature, and canine training days for novice hunting dog-handlers.