For our family holiday this year i gently steered my better half towards Mauritius, which to be honest wasn't that hard to do, knowing that there was the possibility of getting some stalking in (well it was my holiday as well).
I had been to the Jagd and Hund Hunting Exhibition in March and visited Lionel Berthault's stand Le Chausseur Mauricien, which had planted the seed.
Lionel is a French guy who has been living in Mauritius for last last eight years guiding stalkers for Rusa deer and PH'ing in Africa when the stalking season in Mauritius ends (bit of a dream job!!)
While the wife picked what hotel we were staying at, i got back in contact with Lionel to see if he had any availability when i was there, he did have, adding that as it was coming into the winter (first two weeks in July) the stags were just beginning to rut, so it was a perfect time.
We got to Mauritius and i had a couple of days to lie on the beach and dream about my stag.
Lionel picked me at 6am and introduced me to Cedric, an apparently famous French hunting film maker, who would be filming the hunt for the French Hunting Channel, he had been there for a week filming some driven hunts and wanted to film a stalking hunt, this did nothing to ease the nerves .
We were only fifteen minutes from the fantastic hunting lodge of the Bel Ombre Hunting Estate, sat on a hill facing up a beautiful valley one way and looking out onto the Indian Ocean the other, (i could see why Lionel had stayed for eight years now)
We set off and were trying to catch the deer, who had been out feeding during the night, as they were going back to the wooded valley's to lie up during the day.We got onto a small group straight away and i saw my first Rusa hinds and calves but no stags, we saw another couple of groups further on but again only hinds and calves and some young stags, Lionel suggested that we headed down into the wooded valleys as the stags must have already gone into cover, just at that we spotted quite a large group of hinds with some good stags at the back but on the next valley over . The stags were certainly in the cover as the next group of deer we saw was about fifteen stags, with an absolute monster, which i excitedly pointed out to Lionel to which he replied we can try for that but there is an extra trophy fee as he is well over 34 inches, thankfully the decision was made for me as the stags spooked and disappeared into thicker cover.We then spotted some Indonesion wild boar, but a pregnant sow with a yearling male and female, so decided against a shot as there wasn't a large number of boar on the estate.
We were now heading back to the lodge as the sun was getting up, when we bumped another group of deer with some good stags, but the one Lionel chose for me to shoot wouldn't present a shot as younger stags milled about infront and behind until they eventually took off, i was quite happy as i didn't have a great rest and wasn't a 100% about taking the shot anyway.
On the way back to the lodge we saw a Long Tailed Macaque (not sure of spelling) monkey not something i see often while out deer stalking.
We went back out late afternoon after a nice relaxing lunch with a couple of beers on the verandha of the lodge
Stalking through some tropical forest with 20ft bamboo and banana trees, we came out into a open valley with a good group of deer and a good few stags, while glassing them we saw a very dark stag with alot of grass in his antlers and being agressive toward the other stags around him, Lionel said although he wasn't as long as some of the other stags, his head looked very heavy indicating an old stag, which i said was the stag we should try for You can see him in the middle of the pic.
We got up above them and into 170m onto a banking and i got a nice comfortable rest and shot him as he went broadside with the borrowed Blaser R93 in 7mm with a Swarovski Z6i on top (home from home ).
A high lung shot put him down on the spot and looked good on camera (to be honest i had aimed for the heart but took him a little high, but wasn't going to admit this on camera)
He measured 31 inches and had 10 1/2 inch coronets qualifying him for a SCI Gold medal and Roland Ward, i'm having him shoulder mounted over there and shipped home, and, the whole day professionally filmed and being sent to me
A great added bonus to what turned out to be a great family holiday.