Well, what a great experience, Again I drove over to East Germany to track on a driven hunt for three days.
All the guns arrived to the forest on horse drawn carriages which was a very nice to see indeed.
Stunning scenery and superb company, with a few drinks, lots of food and great conversation, although as one chap jokingly said I am the 5th wheel on the cart as I had to catch up on the conversations.
Only grasping a few words I pieced together with hand gestures what people spoke about.
Everyone helped immensely and translated the missing pieces and all was great.
A very good group of hunters who all had the same thing in mind which is respect for the animals, respect and safety for each other and good times ahead.
So the hunters gathered together to hear the safety briefing, which animals were to be shot and this was to be very selective between red, roe and wild boar, each person received a seat area and also instruction to write down which species seen, which was shot where and also distance, to give reference for the teams to start the control searches after the hunt, every shot fired is controlled if an animal is not at the shot site by a trained team to follow up.
After the hunt the control papers are handed in to the Schweißhundführer and assign each team to the controlled searches.
This first day only three searches to control with unaccounted animals,
Firstly a red stag shot 60m from the seat out of a group of 15 stags it was the smaller animal shot, no blood or hair at the shot site and the guy lost sight of the stag as they all ran in different directions.
A dog was tried first but didn't show interest in the area although followed to the right where some stags ran.
The search was called off, I got asked to control the area with Thekla as a second opinion.
after the hunter explained what happened we kitted up to start the search, there was so much scent in the air, Thekla had her head up but then I set her on the direction of the stag with vorsuche/verweisen to find any sign.
She worked to a different area to the first dog but was very careful no sign of blood or hair but she took a steady line for the first 50m where she went to where the stags had originally come from a few circles round till she took a line again moving into an area of thick bracken.
Here her body really changed and we knew she was on the correct path, she got quicker to the end and finally the stag laid against a tree near cover, no more than 200m but lots of sign from many animals.
We called to the hunter and when he saw we were successful the picture on his face said it all.
Overwhelming relief, joy and cheers and this is exactly why we do this I was very happy, a good recovery and a beast into the larder and not wasted, the hunter can relax knowing he took a good shot even though no reaction and no blood or sign on this track, a superb outcome.
The second and third searches where found to be missed so everything was good, back to the area for the celebration and to show respect to the deer and wild boar.
Day two came and I sat out in the line of guns on a low stand very early on, shots rang out with the sound of the dogs getting ever closer, a red hind came to view, she ran to my right presenting a safe shot and I took the opportunity, she ran on only 20m and dropped onto the track so no need to mark the anschuss, during the break I gralloched the hind ready for the finish.
I returned to my stand and two roe does ran one to my left and one to the right but couldn't get a clean shot between the trees and they quietly slipped away.
Nearing the end a huge keiler trundled by but was on the furthest of my area and a long shot so I let him go on his way to be seen later by another gun but again no shot presented itself.
The day ended and I didn't get chance for a photo as I set off for another control on a young red calf but the control area already had one other shot fired a roe doe and was hit but ran across the anschuss area and then gralloched only 5m from the start.
I walked Thekla to the start and she winded the gralloch but a few words of encouragement we left this and 10 m further on we found blood.
I called out to the gun to signal a strike and blood and we headed off, it was a lead free bullet and only small drops were found over the track but only went 100m and dropped again in cover.
Again the face said everything and another successful outcome, one more recovery from another team and one more miss signaled another end to a great day.
At dinner speeches were made, lots of toasts to the days events and more respect shown, a very good feeling from the host and guests and one driven hunt I really enjoyed being part of.
Day three came and was to be the highlight for me, everyone saw many animals I had the pleasure to shoot a wild boar but then something completely unexpected, a shadow from a place I had come from in the forest the movement was no deer or wild boar but only seeing the glimpse through the bracken emerged a lone male wolf heading straight towards me, my heart beating faster he came closer and closer till he stopped in the open only 10m from me, nervously he ran back to cover and circled round to come again for maybe a full English breakfast, I reached for my camera and managed to get some good footage so I was able to show I am not the crazy English man people thought.
Finally one last control for me which proved challenging one wild boar shot and ran to cover, only to be pushed on by a dog and away.
We started the control and I found the bullet at the base of a tree, some hair stuck to the tree and we had a strike.
I set Thekla onto the area and she took the line but only to get 15m before circling back round to the start and off in the other direction, were the wild boar came from she corrected and then went back nose down to find blood.
30m in we found a small portion of skin from the stomach wall with some more blood, then a steady amount with more skin particles she verweised perfectly, head down carefully she worked the track forward without a single correction for the next kilometer untill we came to a fence, somebody had marked the fence with a glove earlier when beating which they found spots of blood.
We crawled under the fence and she took a straight line up but I saw blood to the right and I stopped Thekla turned her to this blood and worked parallel along the fence to a part that had been broken the blood crossed a track and back to the forest but into open ground it didn't look right and after 50m we stopped.
Stefan called the beaters to ask about other wounded animals in the area and a roe kid had been shot and a dog chased it into the fenced area, we think this blood had come from the dog running away as the dogs vest was covered.
Back to the start of the fence and sent Thekla again, she took the straight line through to a wound bed we went further forward and another wound bed and another fence to go under.
Thekla indicating one spot of blood we moved forward to a fallen sitka which had sign of wild boar everywhere but no blood she headed to the left were we found more blood across a sapling with one more fence but no blood I started to question if we were correct but then one tiny spot i could see through the fence.
I pulled the fence and Thekla slipped through as I struggled to get under thekla really started pulling hard, I squeezed my way under she was now head up circling round and very excited a little further on we found the wild boar just over 2km from the start and I was so proud, she worked a very difficult track and one I won't forget in a hurry.
A quick gralloch and a drag out to the nearest area for collection and back for the final meal and word from the day, A perfect ending for my trip and again our success builds with each step we take, All the very best and Waidmannsheil.