Well the middle of last year I got it into my head that I wanted to have a go at driven boar. I bit the bullet, and bought a Chapuis side by side 9.3x74r, and started to look around for a trip to go on.
Well a long story, short, I was fortunate to be able to go to Portugal in November, where I blanked, followed by a very short notice trip to Croatia in December, where I blanked. I then get told about a trip to Hungary the beginning of Feb', where we would shoot copious numbers of boar, and we could shoot Red Hinds, and Roe does too.................... well I got a hind, & a Roe doe, but you guessed it, not a boar in sight !
Having spent far too much money on shooting trips, justified by not having had a holiday in the previous 7 years, I was getting somewhat despondent, with the trips becoming more "driven crazy", than "driven boar" !
Well, just before I went to Hungary, a Portuguese customer, and good friends, invited me to spend a weekend hunting with some of their friends. This was getting a little silly, but it would double as a business trip, and the shooting was so cheap, it would have been rude not to !
The difference with this trip, is because the shooting costs were so low, my expectations were really low too, and whilst I hoped to shoot something (repeat after me) just spending some time with good friends, and the opportunity to meet some more, would be good enough.....................
So ignoring that it took 2 1/2 hours for the airport staff to arrive to take me to customs I arrived in Portugal to be met by my friends, & then a quick 3 hour drive to the hotel. Next morning we meet in the local village hall about 8.30am, where everyone on the hunt is having breakfast, chatting, picking an envelope with a peg position, and just having a very relaxed time, and checking out the 200 hunting dogs !!!
Then about 10.30, we're off, and get dropped at our peg positions.
Well I hear lots of shots, see lots of dogs, have a little piglet cross 5 yards by the side of me, but you guessed it................... no boar
So the trucks come around to pick us up, & take us back to the village hall, where everyone is back, and chatting about their day, and before we go in for the communal lunch, get ushered to the courtyard behind the hall, where "29" boar are laid out from the days one drive.................. so can't complain about the lack of boar, just unlucky with the peg.
The people in the white suits are vets, who examined each animal, took samples for inspection, and claimed 5 of the animals had TB, something most of the locals considered a "perk" of the job
Once sorted, the boar are auctioned off to the hunters, going for a very low price of circa €50-€80 !!!
So skipping through to the following day, we drive to the next village, where yep, everyone has gathered in the village hall for breakfast, gossip, and picking the envelope for the peg. My friend George comes over to me with an envelope he's picked out for me, which has a map showing the hunting area, and the position of the peg. It didn't look ideal, but who knows !
So after breakfast we're off to the hunting area, loaded into 4x4's, with most having to sit in the back, where they have fitted benches, or just bails of hay. So we get to the hunting area, which was really hilly, and a real experience hanging on to something as we ascended, and then descended some very very steep sections. I can't say I wasn't happy when we finally stopped, and had to walk the rest of the way................... Until we started to walk the rest of the way................... and I started wishing I was back in the truck
So we finally get to the peg, set on a steep slope, with lot's of over grown bushes, tall grass, and trees. It looked great, and my friend Pedro, and I got settled, and quiet, waiting for the action.
Well, there were shots to the left of us, shots to the right, and shots in front, the dogs were going crazy, and I could hear them pushing boar across behind us, to the next peg, where another friend Daniel, shot one. I could see the dogs chasing boar across a field 1/2 a mile away, until they all disappeared into the long grass, where the dogs must have run into a deer, and brought it down, as we saw the beaters drag it out.
It was all happening, but yes, just not for us................ So back to the village, and whilst not as many as the day before, there were about 14, including a couple of reasonable sized ones.
All in all, I had a fantastic weekend. I've still got to christen the double, but I'm hoping to do that later this year, when the new season starts, and I'll definitely be going back to shoot with my Portuguese friends, old, and new. In fact, on the journey back to the airport, they had a call, where one of their friends has already booked me in for a hunt in December !!!! Can't wait.