Now fully refreshed after returning from another superb time away , I can sit and reflect on my latest trip to Germany.
Earlier in the the year I was invited to join a large driven hunt down near Stuttgart, with the possibility of Hauptprüfung (Main tracking test) for Heidi my BGS.
We duly accepted our invitation and last Thursday we were on our way to euro tunnel at Folkestone for our crossing to the continent.
By Thursday night we were at our hosts in Owen, Friday was spent assisting in the hunt preparations.
Friday night my good friend George Ritchie (UKSHA chairman)arrived late and a good drink and a well over due catch up was had.
Saturday morning we arrived at the hunt area and were assigned to our section leader who would guide us to our seats for the hunt.
Now the whole area was hunting and there were in the region of 250 Hunters in seats, so the chance of a hauptprüfung track was fair and as I knew there was at least 3 other tracking teams that I knew of that were looking for hauptprüfung with their dogs so the standard of dogs where high which is so important for finding wounded animals and reaching the main aim and not have a wounded animal left.
After the hunt we were guided out of the forest and headed to the meeting area, I didn’t even have 5 minutes to grab a coffee, when my host came over and I informed me that I had a track on a wild boar.
So with George riding shotgun with me and a Swiss ISHV Judge in tow we headed 3 hunting areas over to where our anschuss was.
Once there we met the hunter who had shot the boar and he guided us to the seat where he fired the shot.
After talking with the hunter, 2 shots were fired and the boar was hit but further back.
I got kitted up and headed to the shot area, I had a look at the second shot area as that was where blood was first found, the blood was a good colour so Heidi and I began the track.
It wasn’t long before Heidi was as full lead length pulling me along the track like a freight train indicating blood and sign as she went along the track, I was smiling and feeling confident as Heidi was tracking, thinking we’re going to get this pig!
After 600m we came to a forestry road and Heidi circled and then crossed, still circling and here I’m reading my dog and thinking we’re wrong, so we made our way back to the last marked blood on the track, Heidi soon corrected herself and we were away again.
Back across the road around 10m further up than last time and down into a plot of young trees, the track took us diagonal across the plot to an open area with another seat.
We tracked past the seat, by this time were 1200m into the track and Heidi lifts her head and circles and circles going know where, I sit Heidi down and the judge comes forward and says he thinks the boar had been shot from the seat during the hunt.
We went back to the last sign of blood and after close inspection thick clots are found, we took a step back a little higher up and drag marks leading to the seat, after a look under the seat 1x 30-06 case was found.
The hunter then makes calls to the head forester to see if any game has been shot from this seat, after a few minutes a call come through that 1 boar had been shot and with a shot to the rear leg.
At this point I am gutted, the hunter comes up to me with and shakes my hand and gives me the 30-06 case as a keepsake with a waidmannsheil, a truly special moment for me, the most important thing though is the wild boar had been dispatched and recovered .
So at this point I am happy with our achievement and was then thinking a weiss bier would be nice when the phone rang and another track was available.
Back to the vehicles and off to another hunting area where another leg shot boar was being tracked, a short while later we arrived in the area and met up with the Swiss tracking team who had started the track and had marked the last known position of the boar.
After a short briefing and being shown a big lump of leg bone, we kitted up and started to track, Heidi circled and picked up the the track and we were off. Following the contours of the Hill, up we went and after maybe 400-500m there was a steep drop with running water below I am sure this is where we went wrong.
We slid down and crossed the water and I am sure we connected with the track again as Heidi followed the contour of the hill and after another 500-600m Heidi started to pull really really hard, I reported this to George and the judge and I was asked if I was going to release Heidi for the chase? Now I could hear cars further down maybe 500m away and I was not completely comfortable with releasing her so we followed down to the forestry track and looked at my watch, time it was nearly 4pm and light was fading, so i made the decision to stop and let the control tracking team take over the track the next day.
By lunch time the next day the boar was tracked and dispatched 1.5 km from where we started, the handler Confirmed Heidi was on the track, lost it and then re-connected with the track.
Over all I am pleased with Heidi’s performance, we were unlucky with the first track but that is hunting and that is the nature of the beast when drive hunting is involved.
Fingers crossed we will have another attempt at hauptprüfung next year either at home in the UK or on European soil!
I would like to thank German Kälberer and his lovely family for their hospitality, ISHV Judge Frank Hofer for his services and finally the new friends I have made, too many to mention and to the friends I did not get time to see I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas!
Lee & Heidi