Viktor Todorov was a passionate hunter and this passion of his has accompanied him throughout his life and creative journey. He was turned on to hunting by Angel Tomov, who taught him in the “Repin” circle – he often invited him to his hunting trips. Few people know that during hunting Victor carries a set of sketchbooks and crayons – he captures impressive landscapes in sketches, which he later realizes on canvas. The early morning hours of the hunting trip suggest interesting natural scenes that are not observed during the other parts of the day.
My father pursued his hunting hobby with an unquenchable passion. He came up with the name of a famous game meat chef – and not without reason. Quails, partridges, pheasants, rabbits, roe deer, boars – it is difficult to describe the merits of his skills. There were months when only game meat was eaten at home. He often invited companies to his atelier in the village of Markovo to share the table – and the praises did not stop.
I was involved from a young age in the whole process. My father had equipped himself with all kinds of tools and materials for making hunting cartridges and maintaining hunting weapons. Preparations for each outing took place several days in advance. Depending on the season and the type of game, a different number of hunting balls was prepared. There was a special scale for weighing the balls, another device for weighing the gunpowder, special plugs for separating the ingredients, a device for placing the cartridges and for knocking out the spent ones – the cardboard cases were so strong that they were used many times. Each finished cartridge was labeled with which bullet number it was. I did all this, he only supervised and controlled whether the process was OK. My duty was also to clean and lubricate the hunting weapon. We often went out on the moors above Markovo – then our houses were the last ones and everything up there was deserted. We usually carried a larger piece of cardboard and my father would test how far the balls would scatter.
Many hunting dogs have also passed through our house over the years. My father always had a hunting dog. From my early childhood, I remember that every time, returning from Sofia, he passed through the Iskar Station kennel and chose a hunting dog, which lived for a while in the apartment until it got used to the new owner. Once I had found a cuckoo with a broken wing and was looking after it in a box at our place. My father brought another dog from the kennel and we kept him in the bathroom. One day, returning from school, I found the room ravaged, evidently by some mad chase, and the cuckoo curled up between the obstructions of the radiator, plucked beyond recognition, but still alive. Of course, a fight between my mother and father ensued, but in the end everything ended well.
My father often liked to quote one of Confucius’ many lines of wisdom: “If you want to be happy for a day, get drunk. If you want to be happy for a month, get married. If you want to be happy all your life, become a hunter.” He really wanted me to inherit this passion of his, but I was blown away by another wind.
“I will tell you a hunting story. We go to Victor’s shack (in the Studenets area, above the Zdravets hut) on a hunt for foxes. Naturally, we took plenty of food, drinks, and a hen, which we tied to a bush by the shed. There was a special hole in the wall for a shotgun and we waited. Meanwhile, our treat was going well. A long time passed and it got dark. Viktor fell asleep and was snoring a lot, I was still in good shape and lurking. At one time I saw the fox come. I could have blasted her, it was at gunpoint, but at that moment I decided not to shoot. I imagined with that thunder what a wakeup call I was going to give Viktor. In general, there were many interesting hunting episodes.”interview with Alexander Georgiev, January 2023.
Viktor Todorov’s hunting affections are the source of many interesting lucky incidents, including the discovery of a missing monument (bust) in the forest.
“In the village of Markovo, on the site of the current “All Saints” chapel, there was a bronze bust of Philip Shabanski (a local hero of the national liberation struggles), quite large and imposing, and the author was Ivan Topalov. Suddenly, one morning – the bust was gone. A familiar story from those years (this happens after 1989), but there were no traces. After some time, the unsuspecting Viktor Todorov, who was hunting with a group of hunters around the land of the village of Markovo, came across the well-hidden and masked missing bust in some bushes. They called the mayor and the bust was restored – this time in the garden above the community center, on the right.”conversation with architect Antoaneta Topalova, daughter of sculptor Ivan Topalov, April 2023.