Ok gents. Having been inspired by Sikamalc with his stories of recent, I thought I would post one of my own. Not sure if it will make the mark but I will give it a go.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Well it all started in the first week of february 2005.
One of the most fascinating animals (to me anyway) has always been the Wild Boar - the real macoy.
My friend Ken Aldridge was a professional stalker and guide on the Isle of Islay. He had travelled all over the world hunting big game from Dall Sheep in Alaska to the plains of S. Africa to Hog Deer in Pakistan and Blue Sheep in Afghanistan. He had been to most places and some would say he enjoyed big game hunting with a passion to the extreme.
Ken had been friends for a long time with a gentleman by the name of Manfred Moser - a German as you might guess from the name and Manfred was President of the Bavarian Blood Trailing Hound Assoc. in Germany.
He had a contact at what was meant to be one of the best hunting areas in Hungary for Wild Boar. After much due diligence on Manfreds part, the trip was organised. We all wanted to make sure we were going to a decent place and to increase our chances of success to the max.
It was planned that we would go on the wain of the moon as recommended by the head of the estate (by now a good friend of Manfred). I was to collect Ken from Manchester airport, pick Manfred up in Spessart and then onto southern Hungary to link with Jeno at the hunting area.
Ken had been hunting Grant's Gazelle on the plains of Ethiopia and had been living out of a Russian helicopter for the past week. I picked him up on friday evening and after a meal at my place and chatting about his trip we loaded the hardware and kit and set off at 1am sat morning to catch the ferry to France.
We drove through the night, rifles on board to arrive at Dover ready to board a Sea France ferry. I was green when it came to travelling with guns but ken had done it dozens of time. After asking him wehter or not to declare the rifles he replied "no lets not bother just keep rolling". We got on and off the boat without hitch and set off across France, Belgium, Luxembourg and into Germany. We arrived at Manfreds house at 2000hrs on the saturday to be welcomed with some kind of very tasty stew and a few glasses of Bavarian ale.
We were tired from travelling and we were ready for bed. We were having to hit the road again at 0600hrs to drive onto Hungary.
We set off in the dark only to see some Roe deer in manfred's local fields trying to find some food where they could as it was deep with snow and showing -15 celcius on the temp gauge. We were to truck on through Austria through the alps and into Hungary for the final leg of the journey.
We arrived at the hunting area at 1900hrs local time at Bogdssa, Hungary. This was to be our base for the next 5 days. Ken and Manfred had been to the area before but this was my first time. We video'd the whole trip and after having various tipples (apart from Ken who was tee total) but not going bananas, we hit the sack ready for the first morning outing. Before going to bed there was a quick equipement check and Jeno had asked what rifle I had brought. I replied it was a Remi 700 in .300 Win Mag. He was fine with this and I sensed quite relieved as the guys on the estate used 9.3's most of the time and I think he didn't want me to be under gunned. Manfred had a 8 x 68 Mannlicher with a 8 x 56 Schmidt on board and Ken his Remi 700 in 7mm Rem Mag loaded with Partitions which he used for everything.
I was up the first morning but had hardly slept with the excitement of the occasion. Quarters were very comfortable indeed and we had a room each with en suite. Some of Hungary's cabinet stayed and hunted here so it was meant to be of a fairly high standard. We got up and it was "cup of tea time". The only thing was there was only one English Breakfast tea bag in the tea tin (the rest were all sort of strange continental brews). This happened to be the one tea bag Ken and I shared for the next 3 days until we had really worn it out good style!! It is amazing how many cups one bag will brew.
I was paired with a guide called Baylar and all 3 of us went off to our respective areas. None of us saw any boar but we were all full of the amount of Roe and Red deer we had all seen. The days were spent watching hunting vids and talking to Jeno about the trophys which were available on the estate. That evening we went out to different areas to get into position well before last light. I had an illuminated Schmidt on my rifle and I was looking forward to trying it out properly.
Baylar and I were in the highseat and made ourselves comforatble for the hours ahead. He told me that he would give the instruction to shoot if the opportunity presented itself as he had been briefed that I was after a "nice one". He said the big males have a more pronounced snout and that was how he would identify it. He also said that normally the frecshling come out first followed by the females and it is only lastly that any good males will show.
We sat and sat and watched Roe deer pass in front of our seat - a really nice buck and 4 does. The buck being in velvet of course. After about 3 hours or so we heard some kind of commotion in a reed bed behind the seat. We still saw no boar but Baylar told me just to get tuned in as he sensed something might be about to occur. He was not wrong. About 45 mins later 2 yearling boar appeared in the clearing a head of us. Then another and soon after that a female then another big female then more yearlings and soon it was like a shark feeding frenzy in front of us. I could tell that Baylar was concentrating hard. Intensely assessing each animal in detail like the true pro he was to enable me to get a shot off at the right animal for me. It was dark now but between masses of black you could clearly make out the silhouette of each animal against the snow. He nudged me with his elbow gently and said "man boar nice one on left". Do you see?" I was slightly confused as I had been focusing on the main hoard of animals and had not seen this lone male coming in from the sidelines. Heart started to race but I was well prepared and mega focused as I wanted this animal so much. My illumination was brilliant glowing red on the black beast. I told Baylar I was on him. "Shoot now" was the reply. Just as I was about to send it, the Kieler turned quickly and suddenly I was zero'd on his hind quarters. The others started to mill around and there was also a bit of a scuffle - he moved again. I then lost sight of him in the mass of black. Tension was rising. I knew I could of had him and was getting frustrated with myself for not being quicker off the mark. He appeared again on the perifery of the group - perfectly silhouetted and snout so well defined against the background. I could tell he was the right animal instantly. Focus, aim, make the shot - booooom as my win mag rang out and echoed between the trees in the dense East Euro forest. I lost the sight picture at the shot and was eagerly wanting confirmation and approval from the pro sitting at my side that the shot was good. All hell was let loose on the sound of the shot and I could hear all the boar crashing through the undergrowth and then on into the distance.I looked at Baylar and it almost seemed in slo mo and he was looking at me with a wide smile and thumbs up and a hearty triple pat on the back. "Goodt goodt. He is down" I was elated. But also keen to find my boar asap to confirm all was well. He told me to wait 15 mins before getting out of the seat just in case. We walked to where he was and he had run on about 40-50 yards in the direction he was pointing when I took the shot. We found blood immediately and soon after we came upon him in the snow. What a feeling - amazing. I had fullfiled one of my lifes ambitions.
Baylar went to get the pickup for extraction and I stayed in the highseat. What happened next I can only describe as truely surreal. There I was sitting in sub zeros on a moonlit night in an East Euro forest with snow all around and I then suddenly heard a pack of Golden Jackals howling like wolves at the moon and in the distance I could hear the faint sound of church bells resonating over the snow coming from the local village.
Baylar came back about 30 mins later and then after loading the animal it was back to base for tea and medals and to see what Ken and Manfred had upearthed. Manfred had a freschling and Ken had chosen not to shoot as he was after a Russian boar which are few and far between - otherwise, he would have had a nice one too.
We celebrated and I was greeted with Weidmansheil and we broke open the wine - well Manfred, Jeno and me. Ken had a celebratory can of diet Coke. Without going on anymore as I think I have gone on too much already, Ken on the last night took a 26ck Russian boar - mine was 21cm on the tusk. All in all a fantastic trip and an experience I will never forget.
Sadly we lost Ken on the 28th December 2006 to cancer but memories of him will be with me forever.
I plan to go back in the next couple of years with Manfred for a return trip.
Hope that didn't go on too much and hope you enjoy the pics.
A Golden Jackal