Earlier this year I had decided I would like to shoot a British Wild Boar, and being a total Boar novice, never having seeing one in the flesh, searched Stalking Directory for providers. It became clear that there were not many professional full time stalkers able to offer ground that hold Boar, after all they are very much confined to small geographical areas in Britain.
My home location being Mid Wales, the Forest of Dean was of course favourite as it is the closest.
I had seen some SD members offering Boar in the FoD but some had been plagued by shooters not paying (appalling behaviour) and had withdrawn the opportunities as a result.
Anyway, I looked more closely at the SD Trade Members as I needed a professional guide and had a long telephone conversation with Adrian Curnock of British Shooting Services and a booking was made, money paid by bank transfer, receipt and full information provided and a suitable date agreed. I liked this approach as the fees are set, no hidden extras and you only pay the kill fee in cash if successful on the day.
He is also able to provide supporting letters once bookings are confirmed to licensing departments if this is required for variations for Boar suitable (.270 and above calibres)
Tuesday 12 th April 2016, it’s a fabulous sunny spring afternoon and I am on the M4 to South Wales to meet up with Adrian and we are going Boar Shooting in the Forest of Dean.
I had spoken with Adrian and arranged this date based on the local knowledge of the keeper on the ground and the 3 week cycle that these boar follow in and out of the Forest and onto the adjacent estate we were shooing on.
I arrived at Adrian’s house and after a cup of tea and a kit check we loaded up into his vehicle and are off to Gloucester.
We arrived at the keepers cottage at about 17.30, still a beautiful sunny spring day (although light rain and cloud was forecast around 19.00)
The keeper suggested that we use the high seat on a deer lawn in the forest, one of which he regularly baits and he had also had some recent success with a new scent lure (described by him as sort of barbequed urine smell !) which he had put in 3 locations in the forest and all 3 had Boar rubbing themselves on this stuff and on the scratch posts which we were to discover on the way to the high seat.
This area had not been shot for some time for Boar although a fellow stalker would be on the opposite side of the forest tonight, part of the local deer syndicate, looking for a Fallow buck.
Immediately on leaving the Keepers house we saw 3 Fallow deer who made light work of the Deer fencing and off into the woods they went at high speed.
Adrian drove the short distance onto the forest logging trails and we parked up.
Out of the vehicle and we assembled our kit, I loaded my rifle, chambered a round, safety on, and we headed towards the high seat.
The previous evening had seen torrential downpours and the orange clay soil was full of water, it quickly became evident that there was significant pig activity and even a novice like me could see clear pig trails, wallows and slots.
Slowly, Adrian paused and indicated to my right where we saw a 6 point Roe Buck moving away at about 50 yards. We continued on our way and he stood still, we stopped and he moved farther away, cautious but not spooked.
We watched him for several minutes as we continued to slowly move towards the high seat and then he was gone.
I had the feeling that this was going to be a special day.
Arriving at the high seat we got into position, sandbag mounted onto front rail and surveyed our surroundings.
There were 2 distinct feeding points, the first on my left at about 80 metres with plenty of orange mud and a well used wallow and one to the right at about 100m from the seat again clearly in use.
We sat and waited full of anticipation, by this time it was about 18.15, the weather was still lovely and it was a joy to be sitting in a wood watching the world go by, Adrian scanning the periphery for movement with his Zeiss binoculars.
After about an hour we heard a gun shot in the extreme distance, we wondered what the deer stalkers luck was like and hoped that this could perhaps push any marauding Boar our way from the opposite edge of the estate.
45 minutes passed without anything of note save for a couple of rather ferocious looking squirrels pinching the boar food (I was glad that we were well armed )
Then the alarm calls of blackbirds and thrushes started in the trees to our left about 120m away, these persisted gradually building intensity, we knew something was spooking them but still we could see nothing, I thought perhaps it was a fox looking for an evening meal but we saw nothing.
The chattering birds continued and this by now had lasted a good 30 minutes and heightened the expectation that something was about to happen.
Adrian then touched my left arm (I was looking to my left) and from the right edge of the clearing came this pig at high speed towards the left hand bait pile.
I could not believe how something so big could move so quickly yet quietly, I had expected a cautious approach from cover into a clearing but no, this thing was bold, he looked up at the high seat as I rested the rifle and off came the safety catch.
Adrian identified the beast as a male and indicated that were good to shoot.
At this point the breath from my facemask misted up the Swarovski scope and left me thumbing a glove over it to clear. My breathing was heavy and later Adrian told me he could clearly hear my heart beat.
I took an extra deep breath as the pig, with a mouthful of food turned 360 degrees and was broadside on with his head to my right.
I put the TDS reticle 2 inches to the left of his ear and BOOM the 30.06 kicked and he fell over on the spot, I reloaded and we watched the beast twitch but he was going nowhere.
Adrian congratulated me on the shot, my first wild boar - it really was a red letter day.
We left the high seat and went over to see him, by this time about 2030 and the light was fast receding and we took a couple of pictures with the phone and needed both flash and head torches to illuminate.
It was at this point that I realised the size of this thing – it was huge, the first boar I have seen in the wild and he was mine.
We loaded the beast onto the sled which was thoughtfully placed at the back of the high seat for this purpose, Adrian called the keeper and his lad’s came with the Gator, bled the pig, and loaded him up for the larder.
At the larder they washed and weighed him and the magic number was 109Kg – I could not believe the scales, I had been told that 50-60Kg was the usual size so we were suddenly in the premier league.
About this time the keeper arrived and congratulated me on the beast whilst his team expertly butchered the carcase and we kept the head for the tusks which Adrian will prepare and mount for me.
An unforgettable experience and one which I may never better – although I do intend to try. This was the last night for the boar until about August time but rest assured I will be back!
Adrian has since extracted the tusks and is bleaching and filling etc. and we are awaiting the mounting plaque before the trophy can be finished.
All I can say is that I cannot thank Adrian enough for a once in a lifetime moment, thoroughly professional, knowledgeable about the quarry, great support from the keeper and his team and we had a good laugh as well which is important. All fees are transparent and known up front - not the cheapest offered but a total quality service - you choose.
Do it you will not be disappointed .
Kit used: Mauser M12 Extreme 30.06, RWS 184 grain, Swarovski 6-24 x 50 Habicht, A-tec Moderator.