…. Chief Stiliyan!!!
I am so pleased you are alright, and kicking fit!
All i can say about you, that i wish i had more friend like you: you were always there to help me, you offered and done two of my hunts and filmed it all, both of them free of charge!!!
You also came to the opening of my Museum in Keszthely, you brought two lovely presents, i keep them in a special place in my house.
Finally you have offered to come and film any of my hunts free of charge, i never met any other professional film maker who would do this!!! You are a very special friend, and i hope after my back surgery i can and will take you up on your very kind offer.
Meanwhile i wish you all the best to your forthcoming book, i am sure it will be a best seller!!
My very best regards,
It is great that you are going to write a book about your hunting life.
I remember what great pleasure my trips with you in Bulgaria, hunting Red deer and Chamois.
Everything was perfectly organised and I got great trophies. But overall the most important was your friendship during many years.
Stiliyan Kadrev provides here his memories of hunting: vivid images, and many hunters who have become friends.
I was pleased of hanging out with Stiliyan, with his video and my rifle, and always enjoyed our relationship. He is a great companion, kind and connoisseur who solves, with a smile and enthusiastic dedication, the thousands of events that are presented in any hunting.
At the beginning our relationship was the one of a professional and his client, and then moved to be the one of two friends who share the same hobby.
Dear Stiliyan farewell.
Marcial Gómez Sequeira
I must admit that when my great friend Stiliyan asked me to write a few lines that he would include in his first book about the 35 years he spent hunting and filming across the vast lands of our God, I felt exceptionally flattered. It even occurred to me that this is something I would consider doing in one of my books, but I have 17 of them so far, and still I have not made that step. Surely, at some point I will decide to do it and then I will turn to my dear Stiliyan with a request to write a few lines about me.
When I speak about Stiliyan, it is really easy for me to point out his great humaneness, his earnestness in everything he does, and his excellent professionalism. In my more than 50 years of hunting across all God’s lands, on all continents, I had made hardly any footage of my most important hunting trips, until the moment when Stiliyan came into my life, as it always happens in such cases. Ever since that day I have enjoyed the great luck and fortune of having him by my side on a couple of trips which he perpetuated with his cameras capturing the most important scenes of what happened. I must admit – with great pleasure – that since we met, my hunting trips have entered a new dimension. Now it is not only the photo that accompanies every shot, but also the video camera standing behind him on a tripod, which he operates like magic and which makes sure that each shot is retained forever. It would be my great honour to have Stiliyan accompany me more often so that I can make even greater use of this camera so magnificently handled by him, which registers and catches with exquisite precision every shot I make. His numerous responsibilities, however, and his constant travel sometimes make it impossible for him to join me. I hope I will be able to enjoy his friendship and his professionalism for many years to come.
Thank you, Stiliyan
In the summer of the now long gone 2001, a group of friends and I flew in the Sakha Republic, where the local organiser was supposed to transfer us to the Undelung River for a descent downstream to fish for the legendary Siberian taimen. Immediately upon our arrival in Yakutsk, while we were still getting acquainted with the organiser of our tour, he made a quite unexpected request: he asked us to let a Bulgarian cinematographer join our group, as he had flown in for the sole purpose of making a film about taimen fishing, and had been waiting for a few days now for a group of Italian fishermen who had paid for his services, but for some force majeure events had first postponed and then cancelled their trip altogether.
To be honest, as the eldest member of our small group which has stood the test of time and of many kilometres of hard and perilous routes, I have always objected to the inclusion of new and unfamiliar participants, so it came as a great surprise to my friends when, trusting my inner voice, I answered in the affirmative without any hesitation.
Shortly afterwards we got acquainted and found out that the new member of our team was called Stilyan Kadrev, that he came from Bulgaria but could speak excellent Russian as he had studied Cinematography at the University of Moscow, and on top of that, it turned out that he was a very nice and good-natured person, with an immense sense of humour and inexhaustible amounts of optimism.
From the very first days of our fishing trip it became clear that Stilyan and I shared a mutual all-consuming passion for extreme hunting and fishing trips and adventures. Each of us had a vast experience with such expeditions to the farthest and most inhospitable corners of the world. At that time I had just started my personal discovery of Africa and I was fascinated with it, whereas Stilyan already had many years of significantly broader African experience, which I found exceptionally interesting. He, on the other hand, was engrossed by my adventures through the taiga and my peregrinations during my period of work with the West Siberian Hunting Expedition. All in all, our nights by the fire slipped away imperceptibly and there was hardly any time for sleep. Towards the end of our trip we felt as if we had known each other for years and I realised I felt quite at ease and very comfortable around my new friend.
Before we said goodbye I invited him to join me as a companion and a cinematographer on my one-month hunting expedition, already planned for the next year, through the equatorial rain forests of North Cameroon. Without a moment’s hesitation, Stilyan accepted my invitation and this was the beginning of our long-lasting friendship and of numerous future trips and adventures.
Every year, there were a few new expeditions. Sometimes I took the initiative and proposed new ideas, other times it was Stilyan. I changed countries and continents, but what I didn’t change was the good friend by my side with his faithful camera, who was always right next to me, in good times, and in bad times.
After Cameroon came Sudan, then Ethiopia, Mozambique, Congo, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, the Sakha Republic, Khabarovsk Krai, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. We went on about 30 joint expeditions.
During our numerous travels to the remotest and wildest places on this planet, we have more than once been saved by the extraordinary talent of my friend to predispose others to open up to him and to find a common language and mutual understanding with all kinds of people, oftentimes quite different from us, sometimes real savages.
As early as our first joint expedition, I realised that Stilyan is not only a cheerful and positive person, but also a very brave one.
Over the years we have more than once been in great peril, overcoming wild rivers and steep rocks, freezing in harsh winter mountains or tortured by heat and thirst in arid deserts, often not knowing what will happen to us, but I never saw my good friend lose his self-control or faith in his own abilities.
My favourite thing to hunt is buffaloes and elephants. I have spent many a day with Stilyan chasing this dangerous game through the humid equatorial forests, reedy swamps and bushes. The animals we chased would sometimes attack us, often from a very short distance and with poor visibility of the surroundings, but never, not once did the camera twitch in my friend’s hands, and mark my words, it’s much easier to be brave with a rifle in your hands than with a camera.
I remember a very peculiar story, which now, years later, seems very funny, about one of our hunting trips in the Cameroon forests.
It was our second day chasing a forest tamaraw (dwarf buffalo) which I had wounded the day before. We were joined by a professional hunter, his 17-year-old trainee and 6 pygmy trackers. By noon we had already strayed far off the nearest forest trackway, where we had left our car. All of a sudden the sky grew darker and we found ourselves in the middle of a wild tropical hurricane. Bolts of lightning tore across the sky, the water came down like a wall. The roar of the thunders, the cracking and thump of falling trees, and the noisy downpour of the streams merged in a continuous rumble. The pygmies who are usually very well oriented in the tropical forests using their sense of smell and hearing, among all else, were suddenly almost as helpless as we were. It is worth noting that due to the incredible density of the equatorial forest moving through it was only possible in an Indian file, one following the other down a path opened up with a machete by the pygmies walking in front. And so, moving this way, in the constant roar and darkness, we ended up in the middle of a large herd of forest elephants made up of numerous smaller groups, mostly females, with their young.
When the herd of female elephants saw the pygmies walking in front, they instantly rushed towards them with a wild roar, and the pigmies, turning on their heels, dashed back down the path, their eyes open wide with horror. Of course, we did not take much time to follow suit, trying desperately to keep up, spurred by the growls of the raging elephants and the cracking of branches underneath their feet. During the first elephant attack, the armed pygmy, whom our PH had entrusted with his rifle, disappeared without a trace along with the weapon, and after being dropped a couple of times, my Stutzen was fully clogged with red clay, and practically unusable.
Wherever we went, we kept running into the elephants, and the same thing happened all over again. During the next attack, while we were running back down the path, we came up to a chest-high fallen tree obstructing our way. Stilyan, who quickly figured out that he would not be able to overcome the obstacle by jumping over it, darted beneath the trunk with the speed of light, but at that very moment, the 17-year-old trainee running behind him, jumped onto the trunk with all his might, getting on the other side but driving down the tree towards Stilyan, leaving him trapped.
My poor friend, you cannot begin to imagine what he went through in that moment …
It was getting dark when we came out on the forest road, all of us grazed and scratched by the thorny, lianas covered in mud beyond recognition, our clothes torn into rags. We were all in low spirits. But when Stilyan started telling and replaying the scene of his temporary captivity, when he thought he had been stepped on by an elephant and he had reached his final hour, we all, including the pygmies, started laughing hysterically until our stomachs hurt. There was no trace left of our dejection.
Victor E. Zeni
“A man called Stiliyan”
Stiliyan Kadrev Man With A Camera:
I as a hunter met Stiliyan many years ago in search of a competent cameraman and outfitter to explore many different parts of the world. What I’d did not know at that time was what to expect from this man. What I came to realize is that Stiliyan rose far above my expectations as a cameraman and outfitter. Stiliyan has completed his 35th year as a cameraman and outfitter. He has remarkably visited (hunted) during that time 75 countries! He speaks fluently more languages than I can count. He has made me feel comfortable in his competency wherever we went and we have traveled halfway around the world together. His personality shines! He has always tried to find the best places to hunt “Trophy Animals” and the accommodations were always perfect. Stiliyan’s camera work is utterly awesome. He has the insight only a professional would have. The right lighting, the right subject, all coupled with state of the art camera equipment makes for some of the most beautiful pictures and videos to be enjoyed by the hunter long after the hunter retires his gear. Above all he is a loving father and family man! I was very fortunate to be invited to his last birthday. I was made to feel not as another hunter or client I at at the family table and was made to feel as family. I feel that Stiliyan’s family is my family in Bulgaria! In conclusion that love for the mountains, forests, the Woodland streams, the wild animals, and the search for adventure have enriched the life of “A Man Called Stiliyan”! A Hunter Who Became a Lifelong Friend!
…I can not remember when I met Stiliyan Kadrev, years ago in a far off place.
Such a pleasant man, knowledgeable hunter, and greatest of photographers we immediately became friends and have enjoyed many hunts together. He is the best cameraman not only for distinct quality of pictures, but also the man who stood right next to me no matter how dangerous the animal was. Not only that, whenever I would look at him with danger so very, very close, he always had a smile and concentrated on his photos. I have hunted the world over many times, but have only met one Stiliyan. Best to him always.
I met Stiliyan Kadrev many years ago. He was living in Bulgaria, but the world of television brought us together, because in those times the professional hunting camera operators were quite few, and I was the director of the Seasons TV channel in Spain. In spite of the great distance which separated us, with time our friendship grew stronger and we worked together on a couple of professional projects. Stiliyan is one of the best camera operators and hunting film producers I know, and can easily be the one with the vastest experience gained from all over the world. He started his career in the countries of the former Soviet Union, but later made a huge leap and trotted the five continents, visiting more than 70 countries around the globe. In the last couple of years Stiliyan became a reputable professional organiser of hunting expeditions, but I know that his true calling is photography and filmmaking. I have had the privilege to join him on trips to some of the most beautiful parts of Bulgaria and I hope we will be able to make more visits of this kind in the future.