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- Last updated: 14/10/2019
For two years now, I am proud to be able to hunt together with my eldest son Tom. At the age of 16, he signed up for the mandatory German hunting course, which he passed, which as a proud father was also a big highlight for me! Unfortunately, due to his school education and my travels, time does not always allow us to experience this passion together, but when it suits and all comes together, it is always the most beautiful moment of the hunt.
It fills me with pride to have awakened this passion in him and to accompany him on the hunt, with help and advice. I also know that one day he will mature into an experienced, safe and ethical hunter and I hope that if he has children he will ignite the same passion in them, as I have in him. For without doubt young people of either gender are the future of the shooting sports, be it target or hunting. Unless we encourage and bring them on to take over, the sport we love will fade away, which would be a tragedy!
So, it was time again for us to share an adventure and I wanted to surprise him a bit. In our native small game preserve, there are indeed a very high population of Roe deer. But since we manage it together with other hunters from the village, the opportunities are limited, as you might expect with a shared property. So much so, that a hunter can only shoot a single animal, which makes it fair for all. Tom, having passed the course, has all the hunting documentation and can use a rifle, so we are all legal as we have to be. So, I take him with me as a hunting companion and not as shooter on the day, or so he thought. But before we can set off for the game, it’s time for the shooting range. The new Sauer 404 I have been sent to test, should prove itself and it’s a great way for us both to stay in practice.
With the scope fitted and adjusted, I zero the 404, which only takes a few clicks, as I tend to centre the reticle first, which seems to save time and ammo, so now it’s Tom’s turn! Of course, I’m curious in his first shots, whether he has inherited not only the passion but also the skill in dealing with firearms. A little self-praise does not hurt and we both have big grins on our faces when we pick up the targets. All the shots being in the middle of the black. Tom said: “It’s a pity that we only have one Roebuck free” and I laugh softly into myself, as I know what he does not! My plan had been established for a long time. We will start the stalk together and if the right animal shows, well I do not want to tell him everything even though he has probably already suspected, maybe not!
The next evening is finally here. We drive together with our cameraman, who accompanies us for a hunting video, into the area and get us a first overview. The conditions for a stalking are excellent, it had rained slightly in the afternoon and now the evening sun is luring the game to the open areas. After a short time, we observe a lot of Roe deer and enjoy seeing the fawns with their mothers. Significantly many young hares than in the last year cross our path, the rabbits are getting more numerous too and also the occasional pheasant can be seen.
It is a real pleasure to see that welfare measures we use to protect the game and local animal species are worthwhile, be it the search for a fawn, biotope improvement or predator hunting. A light breeze rustles leaves, and we start with the first stalk. Carefully squinting around a corner, we see the most eligible Roebuck and observe it for some time. Gosh, what a beauty and excitedly I try to beckon the cameraman to get some quick shots, but the wind blows behind the corner probably in another direction and with a loud grunt the buck springs away on full alert. Pity, but the omens are good. After this impressive encounter, we decide to go to another part of the district and start over. Unfortunately, the weather is no longer kind, and as the evening sun disappears, so do our chances for this day.
A few days pass before the next opportunity arises. It is still not known to Tom, that we stalk on his animal and I’m looking forward to seeing his face when realises. The first order of duty is to see if we can pick up on that fine buck from our first encounter, we do, but once again it senses us and is running away, so we don’t get a shot at him. No matter and as I already mentioned, we have a very high population of Roe deer on our land, so are confident that we will get into another good animal. Examining the wind, we stalk past a large meadow, which lies on a small grove. Hip high and higher here is the grass that provides a good cover for the game.
At first glance, we discover nothing, but on closer inspection, we encounter more Roe in the form of a doe. Off limits, but where there’s a female there’s the chance of a male. We decide to wait a little while and keep glancing over the high-growing area. The wait is worth it, because suddenly we see two more deer in the high grass with just two antlers between them, so one is a buck. Whether it will be a fitting animal remains to be seen?
We still cannot estimate it yet, but we hope for a little luck and wait for it to leave the protective cover. In fact, with slow steps the buck pulls towards the edge of the meadow. Luckily, he’s in front of a good back stop for the bullet, so a safe shot is guaranteed, should we get a pass through. Even in the heat of the moment you must think about these sorts of thing. It is now time to let Tom in on my secret and his surprise, and it is my greatest pleasure to see his face. “You can look forward to it later, now is the time to concentrate on the job”, I say, as I smack him and, grinning, hand him the Sauer. As he sets it on my sticks, I feel my heart beating faster. Hopefully, the buck stands for the shot, as Roe often do and also that Tom hits it cleanly and it goes down quickly.
Obviously, my hunting fever is probably as intense as his and I keep my binoculars on the buck as it leaves the cover. This is always a tense moment, as if he thinks something is wrong he will not hesitate to run, and we will have to start again. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Tom slide the cocker into its forward, FIRE position and I note his face looks quite calm and hope he is inside too.
It is, as you British say, the moment of truth and, as always, the shot seems to take for ever to come from the observer’s point of view, but I keep the binos on the deer. The rifle’s report, as always, surprises me, but I see the buck react to the shot and start to turn, as it does I see a perfect pass through, witnessed by a rose-sized exit hole a little low but right online, which I reckon has hit the heart. The deer staggers and tries to run but collapses after just a few meters into the long grass.
All tension falls away and gives way to the joy of successful hunt. After the obligatory five minutes, Tom makes his way to the animal and I stay, as he should be alone and in peace and quiet to let the experience sink in. I know how important these moments are to me too, and you should only have them for yourself. I use the time to break a few oak branches and go slowly to him and his quarry for the final rights on the deer and successful hunter.
Just arrived, Tom tells me excitedly again the whole process, as if I had not been there, we have all done and still do this. The bullet hit the heart and we find remnants that were pushed out by it passing through. With pride, I listen to him attentively and hand him his oak branch with a Waidmannsheil from the bottom of my heart. What a great day and amazing experience and one I will never forget. If you want to see the film of the hunt go to; https://youtu.be/ vpY4ymeKGIQ