I heard about edible rat hunting shortly after I arrived to Gulu, the largest city in northern Uganda. Equal parts pest control and hunting for food, the practice has long been a practice of farmers in the North. In the lead up to the first planting season, usually between January and May, men aged 14 to 50 take a break from tilling to fan out over their fields each afternoon with spears, dogs, and a bit of gusto looking for the groundhog-like creatures, known locally as anyeri. A daily catch of three to five rats can serve as a free source of food to families, or fetch a few extra shillings during the lean times.
I reached out to a local friend in Gulu to arrange for me to join some men in his village as they went searching for anyeri. After a few text messages and persistence, my phone rang one morning, with my friend asking just one question:
“Are you ready to hunt?”