Following on from from my good friend Ruud's write up when he visited me in Northamptonshire back in August.
Holiday in Northamptonshire
Both myself and another good friend whom I met on the SD, 222CWD drove the 500+ miles to Germany on Wednesday last week.
We arrived at 10pm on the Wednesday and were both walked to our respective highseats at about midnight, the moon was very good so visibility was excellent. Duncan saw 3 boar in the first field and fifteen across the valley so the prospects looked very good. We both heard lots of boar on the first night, I didn’t see any boar, a fox passed directly under my highseat and I watched some roe at about 100 yards. Duncan had seen at least twenty plus boar, unfortunately all too far for a shot, he also saw wild cats which are supposed to be rare in this part of Germany, roe deer, foxes, and what we believe to be marderhund http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marderhund
On that night no shots were fired, but still had a thrilling experience nonetheless. We both managed to get back to our accommodation at about 5am. Quick sleep and up for breakfast at 9am and straight out for feeding. The boar are fed maize at feeding stations where highseats are accordingly positioned. We are not talking your standard leanto’s these are the Rolls Royce of highseats.
I sourced some Bushnell Trail Cameras for Ruud when he was in the UK in August. The weeks before we arrived the boar were using some of the feeding stations on a regular basis.
Thursday evening, Duncan chose to sit in the highseat from the previous night overlooking a large meadow, as he had seen so many boar. Unfortunately none showed for Duncan.
I was placed in a different highseat on the other side of the ground from the previous night.
I had a view of the below feeding station, the trail cameras had shown this feeding station had been used frequently. The maize is scattered below rocks and logs so the boar have to move the obstacles to feed, this is for 2 reasons. The first reason is, it is illegal to feed deer in Germany so the food needs to be covered as deer will not normally be able to get at the maize if it is under rocks. The second reason is as we sit out all night sometimes tiredness gets the better of you and you may nod off to sleep. When the boar move the rocks and logs to get at the food, it will obviously make noise which will hopefully alert the hunter that something is feeding.
The below photos are the views of the meadow from the other two windows in the highseat. We used a secret weapon for use on the meadow. One of the other members of the syndicate managed to source some urine from a domestic sow that was in season, we sprayed some of this in the meadow in hope this may draw out a big keiler!!!
The highseat was comfortable, maybe too comfortable, you could easily fall asleep until the morning and miss all the action!!!!!
Fortunately I managed to stay awake. The night was clear and there was a very good moonlight, there were shadows cast into the meadow by two large trees. I had looked through my binoculars on many occasions at the meadow and had seen nothing. Suddenly there was a black shape in between the two shadows in the meadow, near to where the urine had been sprayed. Upon looking through my binoculars this black shape turned out to be a very large boar which was on their own.
We were given instructions to shoot either piglets with a sow. Easy to identify due to the size difference.
If there are a group of pigs all being the same size these would also be OK to shoot, as they are likely to be one to two year old boar in the gang, a bit like and gang of teenagers. These would also be good to shoot and are know as overlopers in German, pronounced oober-laufer.
If there is a very large boar with one smaller animal this normally is a big keiler with his apprentice, the apprentice normally takes all the risks and is forced by the keiler to enter the feeding stations first to check the coast is clear then the big keiler will start feeding, I was told to shoot the bigger animal in this situation.
When the keilers get to a very mature age and during the rut they will not tolerate any company and will travel on the own, again boar on their own would also be OK to shoot.
Given this boar was on his own it was very likely to be a mature keiler, off with the safety catch on my Tikka T3 lite in .270 calibre, I lined up the crosshairs on my Schmidt and Bender 8x56 illuminated reticule, aimed at the chest of the boar and squeezed off a 150 grain Federal Power shock. The boar was less than 100 yards away, he made his way off back towards cover. I heard some grunting and squealing for about 15 seconds, then silence again!! I was sure I had hit him well, so I called Ruud to tell him what had happened. Both Ruud and Johan came up armed with a shotgun with slugs loaded in case the boar was still alive.
I stayed in my highseat and saw Ruud’s headlights on their 4x4, I waited for Ruud and Johan to cross the field and I turned on my LED lamp and directed them to the strike mark. Before they had got to the strike mark they took a left had turn and out of sight for me. I then heard a whistle and shout and was asked to come down to where they both were. When I got 100 yards from where Ruud and Johan were I could see Ruud making his way to the woods and Johan stood close to a fence line. Johan shouted “You lucky *******” I knew there must have been something that made this quite reserved chap shout out to me. When I got closer I could see the body size of the pig. It was a monster!!!!!! When I had a good look at him it turned out to be a very large keiler.
He is a very big boy!! I was so pleased, Ruud and Johan congratulated me as this was my first ever keiler and first boar shot in Germany. I was given a little branch from a nearby beech tree which is a traditional continental practise to show respect for your quarry and also a time of reflection on the hunt. We then also did the tradition of taking off my hat and placing the leaf in the back of my hat. Ruud said “Weidmannheil” to which I replied “Weidmanndank” The boar was also given his last bite and also had a small beech branch put in his mouth. Johan and Ruud then took great pleasure in blooding my face which I have also been told is a tradition.
Ruud and I dragged boar back to the highseat which was the best part of 200 metres up hill back to where the foot of the highseat was, it took a good few minutes to drag and get it into the 4x4. We then went back to the larder and dealt with the beast and weighed him, the weight was initially 115kg. His tusks protruded from the gum just over 8cm on one side and just under 8cm on the other side, this would normally equate to 3 times that equalling 24cm!!! This is looking like it will be a good silver or fingers crossed gold!!! We took a few photos, as I had forgotten the camera.
Then off back to Ruud and co’s house to have a well deserved few beers a good few Jagermeister’s!!!!
The below photo’s were taken the day before our departure in the field, this really gives you an appreciation how big the boar are and the size of his tusks!! In the photos are Ruud and Jan who again were both very pleased with the success that I had had.
After waking up at 9am the following morning we all went to Frankonia’s hunting shop. They sold everything imaginable from clothing, deer dog equipment, rifles, shotguns, pistols. It was a great shop, maybe a little over priced but nonetheless a excellent shop to have a browse.
We then went to a shooting cinema. For those of you that don’t know what a shooting cinema is, it is an indoor rifle and pistol range with a paper screen about 25 metres in front of line where you shoot from. A video is then projected onto the paper, these are videos of boar running, simulating a driven hunt. You load four rounds into the magazine and take four shots at the running boar. It is very challenging but is surprisingly not as difficult as you would imagine. I will try and get some video’s posted at a later date as Duncan took some on his video camera.
We then moved closer to the paper and had a shot with some pistols. This was great fun but as you can load 13 rounds into the magazine you can get through a lot of ammo in a short amount of time. Even my girlfriend and Duncan’s girlfriend also had a go. It was great fun.
We then went back to the guest house and had a bit of shut eye. On that Friday evening we sat out again in highseats but neither Duncan or I saw any boar although I believe we both saw roe deer and Duncan’s favourite wild cats!!
On Saturday we went out in some different highseats to change the scenery a bit, I even persuaded my girlfriend to come along despite her still suffering from a cough and a cold. We sat in this highseat. Over looking 2 feeding areas.
At about 11.10pm I heard a commotion in the bushes and out came a sow and 8 piglets enter the feeding area, the piglets were still a good size and would have been great eating. As we were deep in the woods the moonlight was not quite enough to be able to accurately judge what animal you were shooting at, I was using a night vision monocular using my right eye to look at the boar, what a mistake!!! When I had assessed the situation and decided I would shoot one of the piglets, I then lifted the rifle and looked through the scope. I could see absolutely nothing through my right eye as the NV had made my pupils dilate and therefore my natural night vision was lost!!! I decided to shoot off my left shoulder, as I changed hands I caught the barrel on the window frame and made a small knocking noise which was enough to send all the boar into cover!!!!!!! My chance was lost and as my girlfriend was not really feeling 100% we decided to call it a night at about 1am and went back to Ruud’s house to have a few beers with the rest of syndicate.
On Sunday morning Ruud, Duncan and I went round and did the feeding, we collected the memory cards from the trail cameras to see the images from the few days before. Johan and old Jan left that morning so we wished them well and discussed us meeting again soon.
The rest of us all decided that a good old McDonalds was just what we needed so we went to Wittlich. When we were sat outside talking about the previous nights encounters and some teenage lads overheard our conversation. As we were getting up to leave one of them said “Weidmannheil” which basically translates to well done hunter. To which I replied “Weidmanndanks” I thought to myself this would very rarely happen in the UK, more often the total opposite would be said!!
We then went back for a little sleep before our final night on Sunday.
I left my girlfriend at home on the Sunday as she was still coughing and spluttering on. I sat in a highseat which overlooked a huge meadow. At about 10.30pm in about the 11oclock position eight boar broke from cover. The cloud cover was substantial and all I could see was black shapes. All the boar were of equal size. I had noted in the light that there was a cow drinker that was 80 yards to my left. I had said to myself if any got nearer than that I would take the shot. They got nearer and nearer to the cow drinker and then changed direction and started walking in the shadows directly in front of my highseat. I turned on the illuminated reticule as I would need it as it was very dark. I picked out the smallest boar in the group and squeezed off a shot. With the muzzle flash and boar running in all directions it was difficult to pinpoint where the boar I shot had run to. I called Ruud and he drove to the foot of my seat.
I shone my torch in the direction of the strike mark. We found a lot of blood which had bits of lung in which indicated it was hit well. The rain started to get heavy and spotting the blood trail was getting difficult, we eventually followed the trail into the woods. Given it was pitch black and there was potentially an alive very aggressive boar in the cover we decided to call off the search and wait until morning.
At 6.30am I picked up Duncan from his highseat, he has seen no boar but a very large badger. We then met Ruud and made our way to the last point where we had seen blood.
I had my semi auto shotgun with slugs loaded just in case it was still alive. After a lot of searching and almost giving up twice, we were going to call the local dog man to come and search with his hound. Fortunately I spotted a leg of a boar sticking up from underneath a Christmas tree. We had found it!!!! I dragged it out and back into the meadow and did the usual traditions with the fir branch in my hat. We then took it back to the larder and weighed it. It weighed 38kg. So a good sized eating boar. Unfortunately we did not have any room in the car for the meat!!!
Ruud and I then loaded the big keiler and also the smaller boar to the local game dealer. I am sure we got some funny looks with this big beast on the back of his car.
The game dealer was a very professional set up. It was actually a meat processing plant, that processed domestic animals but also had a “Wild” section where people could drop off their boar or deer.
We then raced back to our guest house where Duncan and our respective girlfriends were waiting. Quick breakfast and loaded up the car and drove the 500 miles back to out native Northamptonshire.
Both Duncan and I had a very good experience, unfortunately luck was not on Duncan’s side but as he said that’s hunting!! I am sure next time he will connect with one.
Whilst I have been typing this mammoth write up Ruud has text me to say that the initial measuring confirms this is a silver medal beast. Maybe not quite gold, but nevertheless a very big keiler. I said to Ruud I would have been happy with a piglet let alone a big keiler. I am forever grateful to Ruud and the rest of lads in Germany for my most proud and memorable hunting experience ever!!!