I first made contact with Michael a couple of years ago now when he offered to send me some meindl boots from Germany , a kind offer that turned out to be typical of a very nice bloke . We kept in touch comparing hunting stories and michael invited me out to germany to experience a driven hunt . I have to say i was initially very hesitant to take michael up on his extremely generous offer as i felt i didn't have adequate ground to return the favour but he insisted i went and so i accepted . since then i have managed to take on a good amount more ground ,funny how these things work isn't it !
The date was set for the 7th of november with a 3 am start to get to gatwick and landing in germany for 8:40 ( that night at just gone midnight i had a pen of calves escape into a field of oil seed rape and didn't get in until about half 1 ! Typical ! )
I Landed in germany and met up with michael and christian , easy to find at the airport as michael said - his was the dirtiest car out there ! So after quick introductions it was into the truck and off on our way to the shooting cinema and my first experience of the autobahn !
We arrived at the shooting cinema and got the guns out , i have to say right now , for the entire trip i was using michaels blaser r93 .in .308 , I'm not a blaser fan , but this rifle handled and worked great for the weekend i used it . a quality piece of kit , but not yet on my shopping list
The best way i can sum up the shooting cinema is absolutely awesome fun ! far and away better than i thought it would be and a great laugh with a couple of friends to just waste some bullets ( Michael god knows how many rounds i used - i owe you thats for sure !) It was also really useful to improve my shooting , to start with i was shooting everything in the back legs but with some tuition from michael i started to have more and more on target shots and left feeling pretty confident i was up to the job .
We left and started the long drive east , to a farm boy like me it was so interesting to have a tour through germanys beautiful countryside and I'm sorry to michael and christian in hindsight i imagine i probably asked a few too many questions ! we arrived at our bedsit for the night quite early took the dogs for a quick walk and had a few beers and a bite to eat . Then one of the stranger experiences I've had- sharing a bed with a built in radio , red lights and mirrored walls with an odd german man ! something tells me this room was not designed for weary hunters !
the next morning we went off to the hot , my first driven hunt so lots to take in , i was genuinely taken aback by how kind everyone was . i felt very welcome and it was nice to see so many people united by a love of hunting . after an hour or so of talking and introductions i was delivered to my stand with boar and fallow deer on the to-shoot list . it all looked good and i was very excited , pretty soon after the hunt started there were shots ringing round the forest and before long i hear michael shoot ! Suddenly a group of fallow appeared on my area looking back i think if i was quicker i could have got a shot in , but it was so early in the trip and being new i wanted to keep everything totally safe and within my capabilities and so they lived for another day ! surprisingly that was the last animal i saw for the day , and as we packed up it was evident that there was a real lack of boar . probably caused by wolves i was told . I was still buzzing , id had a great time , learnt a lot and enjoyed getting to know michael and christian more . so we packed up, headed north ( i think ?) and met up with some more of michaels lovely friends prior to saturdays hunt .
Michaels friends were beyond welcoming , that evening i had a great time having dinner with the inner circle of hunters and the Host after that we went back to the hotel , had a couple of beers and got our heads down for the night .
Morning came and upon arrival to the hunting ground i was really amazed by the scale of this place . theres was 86 hunters loads and loads of beaters and the forest we were in was about 38,000 hectares ! ( i think !) again we were delivered to our hunting stands and the hunt began !
Those who have been on driven hunts before will know what i mean when i talk about how exciting it is when you hear the game coming close to you. this happened to me several times on saturday but i was becoming increasingly aware that the end of the hunt was looming and i had yet to shoot anything myself ! all of a sudden i could hear one of the dogs baying and a mature sow and yearling came crashing past , i raised the blaser took the shot and bagged my first boar ! i couldn't believe it ! i was so excited i almost forgot rule number 1 of driven shooting ! DONT LEAVE YOUR STAND ! i managed to gather my senses and sat tight for the remaining half an hour or so of the hunt ! as soon as the hunt was finished i let out of the stand to examine my first boar ! a Yearling female . i was so made up i think michael will vouch for me that i was just beaming from ear to ear ! i really enjoyed the rest of the day , the ceremony was great and a real one off for me and i also really enjoyed accompanying michael on a long track for a wounded deer . Really unforgettable experiences .
We headed home to michaels village where i was spending the night at christians , we got there dumped our kit and tucked into the most delicious dinner that Christians Mum had made us ( I've since tried to cook it twice but both attempts have been totally shameful in comparison !)Over dinner christian kindly offered to take me out night stalking for boar - too good an offer to turn down and so after dinner and a quick shower we headed back out with the rifles . Of course by now after a whole lot of driving michaels age had caught up with him and he went off to rest his weary head !
The night stalk was great fun , good to spend some time with christian chatting and good to try a completely new type of hunting ! Sadly nothing was seen except for tons of roe , a particularly ballsy badger and a wary fox ! after a couple of hours we called it a night and when back to christians beautiful home to crash !
That morning after a quick introduction and farewell to christians parents we headed off to Michaels house for a long breakfast , Michaels lovely ( and very understanding!!! ) wife Meike and his two kids were again so welcoming and they had made a delicious breakfast . We dined on cured wild boar , cured stag and various other delicious bits . My trip was over far too quickly and it was time to head home . If I'm honest i was pretty gutted to leave Germany and head back to work ! I feel like I've made some great new friends and had some unforgettable experiences . Everyone i met was so kind and we all shared a true passion for hunting . Michael is the perfect host and i feel lucky to know such a kind and generous guy . Id also like to thank Christian for Great company and wonderful hospitality . I learnt a lot from both of you and enjoyed every minute of my trip . I Really do hope both of you can come over to the uk and join me for Roe bucks next spring and summer . Your always welcome and i look forward to repaying the kindness and hospitality i was shown .
Thanks guys , i had a ball !