Russian Nat Guard Makes Illegal Hunters the Hunted With Surprise Helicopter Raids

Today is the last session of the National Guard Board. One of the items on the agenda is equipping the troops with modern technology. Among the new machines is the upgraded Mi-8 helicopter. The first batch of them is already in action.

Sergey Arsenichev followed the National Guard soldiers on one of their raids.

The Mi-8 is perfect for gun control purposes of the National Guard. In just half an hour it can cover the distance that is a half a day's drive for experienced hunters on SUVs who think nobody can find them so far in the wild.


In a way, it's a hunt for hunters. All their hiding places are clearly visible from up here. To have a closer look at the details, there's a special video camera. And after the landing, you can see what is actually going on.

That the law enforcement officers will have to deal with armed men is a given which is why there are always OMON members on the raid. Faced with people wearing vests, helmets and armed with assault rifles, nobody ever tries to argue with the airborne visitors.

Aleksey Vdovin, Head of Weapons Control Department: "The civilians remain calm. They see a helicopter landing and National Guard troops coming out, accompanied by special forces, so they have a normal response".

Sergey Arsenichev: "Are they surprised at your arrival?"

Aleksey Vdovin: "A lot of them are".

The first landing cuts the road in front of an SUV speeding across the field. There are two hunters in the car. Their shotguns are not stowed away and even still have rounds in the chamber.

Two severe violations. The offenders get a ticket, and it's good bye, firearms! At least, until the fine is paid. Violating transportation rules is punished by a fine of 500 to 2,500 rubles. The pursuit is over. Even after admitting their guilt, the hunters are savoring the chase.

A hunter: "We wanted to cut off a hare. Didn't have our dog with us today. The hare raced toward the river. We were trying to cut it off. But we should've used the gun cases".

The next stop — the same violations. Experience shows that hunters rarely follow all the rules. But maybe these spot checks will make them change their behavior, because if they get caught on the same thing again, they'll lose their guns for a year or even two. And nobody knows when the next helicopter will come and where from.

Sergey Arsenichev, Daniil Yakimov and Aleksander Bazhenov. Vesti from Samara Region.