Shot this beast of a Croatian wild boar yesterday. The story goes, about 6 months ago my friend who is the owner of a large hunting ground in Croatia told me he had seen a huge boar in one of his fences about 1,500 acres of young and mature trees with thick bush. This is nothing surprising as he does have a lot of very big boar, but he explained that he didn't understand it because there wasn't supposed to be any boar of this size left in this fence (maybe 150 kgs but not around 180-200kgs which he believed this one was) as he had emptied it over the past couple of years as part of a re-stocking plan. When they looked around the fence, they found what had actually happened, this boar had broken into the fence because of the females during the mating season. Since then I have been sitting and waiting at feeding stations for him, never saw him and the gamekeeper has only ever seen him twice (once on trail camera) so he is certainly a wise old boar. Two nights ago when on the way to the seat at last light (I should have been there earlier but got distracted with a roe buck stalk) I saw what I believed was him on the forest track, still some 250m away and poor light I wasn't 100% sure, he soon vanished. I got to the stand which was about 50m from when he was last seen and waited, about an hour later, I saw him cross the track further down, I was sure it was him, sometimes you just get this instinct though, same as with a big roe buck, that your first impression is just wow and it is normally the one you should stick with. I waited and waited but he never showed himself again. The plan was to sit again the next evening except get into position much earlier, however with storms forecast for the evening, one of the gamekeepers suggested we tried with the dogs. There was some thick bush not far from where I had seen him and it was likely this is where he was living and with still some scent from the night before I said why not.
Now at first hunting wild boar with baying dogs in a large fenced area sounds rather easy and not that exciting, nothing could be further from the truth. I will explain why now...
We set off from where I had last seen the boar and let the dog get to work, the dog we used is actually the older brother to my dog that I now have in the UK so that added something interesting to the hunt too. After about an hour, and some false starts on small boar and roe deer, the type of barking we wanted to hear started, a slow bark and one that was not moving, as we arrived at an area of fallen trees and small bushes we could see the dog circling the area, probably not closer than 10 meters. You get some dogs that get very aggressive and go very close to the boar, however this doesn't make shooting easy.
It was amazing to see how this boar had buried itself in this bush and just sat tight whilst we approached and the dog circled barking. I asked the reason for this and my friend said, well during driven hunts the old boar will often sit very tight, either trying to be unnoticed or to wait for beaters to pass and try and break backwards. However having seen several big wild boar shot with dogs I knew that what seemed to be a big friendly beast hiding in a bush, in a moment could become a crazy angry monster.
The challenge for us now was to identify the boar, size was not in doubt he was massive, however they do have some sows that push up and over 150kgs so in the bush we had to be careful I had no interest in making a mistake. It was impossible in this thick bush to see if he had tusks, we became more and more sure it was a boar, he seemed to get bigger every time we looked and just had that look, but I wasn't going to make a mistake. Eventually bit by bit we got to sub 10m, still it was hard to tell, now we had a problem, we just couldn't tell and if he/she came then we would have to shoot. If there was ever going to be a shot you don't want to f**k up, it was going to be this.
Then it came, the gamekeeper was probably 2m to my side and it headed for him, I was going to shoot anyway but this gave me just enough angle, only then I saw the penis sheath and tusks and I shot. The boar came crashing to a halt, some 4/5m in front. The adrenaline was amazing, legs, arms everything was gone and shaking it was incredible, I have guided a few big boar shot with dogs, but never have I been so close and had one charge like this.
He was a monster between 180 - 200 kgs live weight and although you never know almost certainly a gold medal boar. It was a mission of mine ever since I heard about this boar and was great to have succeeded. I think its only justice that he will stand life-size back at home when he has been prepared.