The idea of defending his homeland inspired Teruo Shimomoto to join the Self-Defense Forces as a young man. Now retired, the former officer has swapped military fatigues for a hunting vest in order to take on a different type of mission: protecting his community from the threat of invasive wildlife.

“I’ve been the head of a neighborhood organization in the district I live in, and whenever we have gatherings the conversation turns toward problems caused by wild animals,” says the sprightly septuagenarian from Fukuchiyama, a midsize city north of Kyoto known for its plentiful nature and landmark castle.

“So I acquired a hunting license and joined the local hunting association to do something about it.”