It all started back in May when I met Michael when he was over roe stalking with Wayne 'Ninja' Davies. After an evening stalking together and various PM's Michael kindly invited me over to Germany for a driven hunt in November.
It was the longest 6 months I think I can remember but eventually I was at Birmingham Airport waiting for my flight, which was delayed. AGHHHH. A text to Michael to let him know what was happening.
I eventually arrived at Dusseldorf airport and was met by Michael and his hunting friend Christian, bags packed into the truck ( not a lot of room left after 2 dogs 4 rifles and all our kit)
Michael had booked the shooting cinema for an hour in the afternoon but with the delay we had no time to pop into Franconia. i have not shot driven game before so I was really looking forward to it although a little nervous. After a few rounds down the range we were getting into the 'swing' of things.
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Now back in the truck after walking and watering the dogs for the 5hr drive north east. I didn't see much of Germany due to arriving at our digs well afetr dark. Where we were joined by Mateaus, Michaels other hunting friend and his tracking hound.
Christian had supplied supper for that night and of course some great beer. Dogs walked again and alarm set for breakfast. A cracking breakfast of rolls with some cured meats. Great stuff to set you up for a day in the stand.
A short 2km drive to the meeting area. I was made very welcome by everybody who spoke far better English than I can speak German( a bit embarassing). Our host Carl went through the days proceedings and what we could shoot and more importantly what we could not shoot. Michael translated what was being said. Now off to the truck got all the gear needed for the day and off we went.
I was placed in a great location with good backstops and a lot of clear ground to shoot if anything came my way. Good vision all round which I was really happy about. Here are a few pics of the first days stand.
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After getting my stuff sorted in the stand the waiting game started, then shots from behind, a little later shots from in front. Shots were coming from all around in between the occasional dog barking as it got the scent of something. Then movement in front caught my eye. A fallow was trotting out of the thick stuff and stopped nicely and looked back from where HE came from. A nice buck but not on the 'To shoot' list but I managed to shoot him with the camera instead.
We were not allowed to shoot fro 15mins in the middle of the drive to gralloch any game shoot. I had so far only seen the nice fallow buck.
As soon as the drive started again a parcel of fallow does came out of the thick stuff but too far up the bank and heading over the brow. % mins later 2 shots rang out from over the brow. Hopefully the rifle in the stand had connected.
Time to unlaod, the drive for the day was over. I was picked up by Michael and headed back to the meeting point where a cracking bowl of soup and sausages were waiting, Oh and beer of course. A great fire was already lit with seating all around.
Then the game started to come in and was layed out on christmas tree branches, with a fire ready to be lit in each corner. Michael and Mataeus now had the job of tracking any wounded deer or boar. Mataeus tracked a boar for 1.5km which had been hit a bit far back and managed to dispatch it. Michael had to track a fallow deer which had also ran but over into the state forestry. They then had to get permission to track.
Meanwhile myself and Christian were doing our bit for the German beer industry!!!!!!
A few pics from the gathering point
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After a few more beers we were joined by Michael and a few more beers were consumed. Back to the digs, shower and over the road to the local bar for an evening meal. Oh and a couple more beers.
Up the next morning for the next days hunting and suprisingly my head was not banging. GREAT Iv'e discovered a beer that doesn't give you a hangover.
Got all packed up and a 30min drive saw us in another forest still owned by Carl . Today was a slightly bigger area some 1000 hectares!!!
We dropped off our gear at Carl's house so we had an empty truck. We were then showed a dinning hall like no other Iv'e seen. Some of the biggest WILD fallow trophies that you will ever see. The mass of some of these fallow antlers is somthing to behold.Sorry no pics.
back to the meeting point and the safety brieving and what was to be shot and not to be shot.
I was driven to another good looking area. I was placed on a crossroads, with rides to my left, ahead and to my right. I also had a clearing behind me that was fenced off. Like a food plot for the deer. I was shown my stand by Carl and instructed on were the beaters and others rifles were placed. I was told if I saw something in the 'field' I was allowed to shoot it.
Pics from my stand.
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Then the shoots started to ring out all over the forest. I had a text from Michael saying he had two fallow down. Great start.
Then after a while I saw movement in the ride in front of me. A doe and follower cam walking into the ride. Rifle up and on the front of the stand. They were not in a hurry and had not seen me. The follower offered a quartering away shot so placed the dot behind her shoulder and the 198gr bullet found it's mark. She ran 5 meters and was down behind a tree. No movement and her mum had long gone.
!2 o'clock came ,so down off the stand to gralloch the doe kid. I found the strike pont. Lung and a massive blood trail to follow. No need for a dog on this one.
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the bullet had gone in behind the shoulder and out between the front legs. No need to bleed this one out.
Back to the stand for the second half. Towards the end of the drive another parcel of fallow crossed my right hand ride but too far up, then closely followed by a large boar.
Time to unload and wait to be picked up. Carl came with the G wagon and trailer. In the front and we were off to collect other shot game around the forest. It was great to drive around and see the tapography of the forest that had been alive with gun fire and to see what had been taken.
First a fallow, then a big Keiler around 75kg, more fallow and lastly another big keiler about the same weight. It was great to talk to Carl about the forest and what it was like when it was Eastern Germany with the Russians using the forest to move tanks through.
Back to the meeting point for soup and sausages oh and a couple of beers.
The game kept coming in much more than yesterday, Michael was asked to track a fallow for one gun. Alba made a great job and tracked it for a long way, finally holding onto the fallow until Michael could dispatch it. Needless to say Michael was reaaly pleased with Alba's performance.
Some pics of the final days game. A really big keiler was shot and would go a gold medal!!! very rare according to the guys on the ground.
I will have to put up more pics on another bit as Iv'e reached the limit.
We had to drive back to Michael's place that night so after we said our goodbye's and packed up. We were off on the 5hr drive back. Good job there is no speed limit on the auotbann.
We got back about 9.30 that evening and I was dropped off at my Band B. A good night sleep was had and I was to be picked up by Michael in the morning to head for his house for a lazy breakfast with his lovely wife and cracking young kids. Next was dog walking duties, a nice relaxing walk with the dog and kids after a very hectic few days.
Unfortunatley it was time to say goodbye and Michael drove me to the airport and back to the humdrum of working week to look forward too.
Michael. You are a gent mate for giving me an opportunity that very rarely comes around. Hopefully I can repay your kindness when you are over our way next year.
A trip that I will remember for a very long time. Great company, great hunting and new friendships forged.