Here is a short write-up on my experience of the hunt, hope you enjoy it!
I flew on Monday evening from Oslo to Amsterdam, then onto Dusseldorf where I was greeted by Michael and Christian. About 15-20 minutes later Derek arrived so we loaded up the car and headed off to Christian’s house where we were staying for the night, Christian had food waiting for us so after a quick feed, a few beers and some good conversation we all got our heads down for an early night.
Early the next morning we got ready and drove to Michael's house where we were having breakfast with him and his family. After a great breakfast we loaded up the car, checked we had everything and then began our journey to Thielenhaide in the former Eastern Germany, which was about 5 hours drive. The journey was quite long but the scenery and excitement of the upcoming hunt made the hours go by quite quickly, well at least for me as I wasn’t driving
When we finally arrived in Thielenhaide we were greeted by Josef the forester and Franz the estate owner who was our host for this hunt, shortly afterwards Holger arrived. After a short time to get to know each other and going through what was on the cull plan, we were soon getting ourselves ready for the first evenings hunt.
The cull plan consisted of red stags up to 10 points with no crown, red calves, yearlings and hinds, all roe bucks and wild boar with sows up to 50 kg.
The hunting was taking place from high seats and hunting was from 4.30am – 7:30am and 6:30pm – 21:30pm. Here’s a pic of one of the newer high seats.
Tuesday evening On the first hunt I had roe doe come right into about 15-20 meters where she stayed for about 20 minutes browsing on the vegetation, I took a couple of pics with my iPhone through the binoculars.
After about 30 minutes of the roe doe moving off, a stag started to creep into my post, he was a really nice 10 pointer and came into about 30 meters, he had the crown on the top so was not on the cull plan. As this was my first red deer hunt it was just great to see a nice stag up close, when he left I could see three more red deer up on of the rides straight ahead of me but they were too far away.
Here’s a couple of pics from my high seat on the first evening.
During the evening of the first hunt both Holger and Franz took a roe buck, here is a picture of Holger's.
Wednesday morningDuring this morning I had a nice big 12 point stag also with a crown walk across my post at about 40-50 meters, he was not on the cull plan and this was followed shortly after by two groups of wild boar, great to see but no chance of a shot at the boar, they were flying through and the vegetation was too thick.
Franz took another roe buck on this outing
Nobody took anything.
I was positioned in an older high seat next to the boundary of the neighbours land, shortly after first light a had a roe kid come bounding over towards my high seat so I took a few photo’s through the binoculars.
Shortly after the roe kid left I heard movement to my right and about 150 meters away in the neighbours terrain I could see about 10-15 red deer moving, great to see but unfortunately on the wrong side of the border. During this outing both Michael and Holger had a 16 point stag feeding in front of them and Christian had about 15 animals pass his post, with one huge 20 pointer stag in the group. Derek had an antlerless roe buck at his post but during the stalk to take it his transportation to pick him up arrived
Michael took the first red of the trip, a yearling followed shortly after with a hind. Michael also shot a calf but it ran, we gave it till the morning then Michael went out with his dog Alba to search for it, he found a bedding area with blood but bumped the large group of red deer and they ran off, in the group he could see an injured calf but it was running along with the rest of the group and it was not possible to track further. The decision, albeit a hard one for Michael was made that we would not track the calf further as it seemed to be coping well and keeping up with the herd.
Here are a couple of pics from my high seat, this was quite luxury high seat, all enclosed with a padded seat and carpets on the walls
I was positioned in one of the newer high seats with a great view across some open forestry, after about one hour of sitting as quiet as a mouse I heard movement to my left, up with the bino’s and I could see two stags heading my way, the stag at the rear was a 12 pointer with crowns so I focused my attention on the smaller stag, he had what looked like 8 points but I must have counted them about ten times to make sure, finally after what seemed like a life time of counting and double checking I was sure he was an 8 pointer with no crown, this meant that he was on the cull plan The adrenaline really kicked in at this point, I calmed myself and slowly readied the rifle and followed the stag in my cross-hairs, when he crossed a ride to the right of my stand I made a squeak, he stopped for a second broadside and I took the shot through the shoulders at about 40-50 meters, I heard the bullet strike and saw the stag shudder to the shot, yet still he ran over a small rise to my right and out of sight though I could clearly see he was hit hard. I messaged Franz and was told to stay at my post and he will pick me up with the dog later.
About 20 minutes later, having now composed myself after the shot I looked up and saw a roe deer at 100 meters in the ride straight ahead of me – here we go again….. up with the bino’s and it looked like a doe at first but as it got closer I was sure I could see a pizzle, when it got to about 60 meters I looked through my scope and could see that it was a buck and had tiny button antlers poking through, I readied the rifle again and made the shot at about 50 meters broadside, the buck jumped in the air to the shot staggered a few meters then dropped. Shortly afterwards Franz came to collect me with his dog Drops, I took him up to the shot sight of the stag and we put Drops to work, the dog looked keen but I wasn’t seeing any blood so doubt was starting to kick-in. After about 20-30 meters I finally spotted blood and lots of it and this continued, I could see from the colour and bubbles in the blood that this looked to be a lung shot, another fifty meters of tracking with Drops now with more and more blood and there lay my stag Franz congratulated me and presented me with a branch dipped in the blood of the stag for my hat.
The roe buck
Michael also took another red calf on this morning.
Franz shot a roe buck and sent me a message saying the reds might move over into my direction and he wasn't wrong, I had red hinds with calves about 150 meters in front of me but the grass was very long and the calves were constantly moving amongst the hinds so there was no chance of a shot.
A pic from my post.
I was sat in a older triangle shaped high seat with a ride in front of me and to my left and right. Shortly after getting comfortable in the seat I had wild boar come through but it was still too dark to shoot, about thirty minutes later not long after first light I saw movement to my left, there was a roe doe and a kid, I sat patiently watching them as quietly as possible and slowly they came in closer and closer till they were right at the bottom of the steps to my high seat. It was at this point I looked to my left and saw another roe in the clearing to the left, I slowly and quietly raised the rifle as I could see this was a buck, being careful not to spook the doe and kid right behind me I gently placed the rifle on the edge of the high seat. When the buck stood still at 70 meters broadside I took the shot, he jumped and then stumbled forward 5 meters before dropping.
I waited at my high seat quietly and about 30 minutes later I had two red hinds both with calves coming in on the same game trail as the roe, just as they were about to enter the clearing and present a shot they spooked, I’m not sure if it they caught my scent or whether it was from the dead roe buck 10 meters away from them but they turned around and left the area. A shot rang out close-by followed by a message from Christian that he had also shot an 8 point stag Franz collected me at my post and we went back to get the trailer and help with the extraction.
Here’s Christian with his stag
In the background is Franz’s dog Drops
Derek had six stags at his post on this morning, three 10 pointers, two 12 pointers and one 16 pointer
I was sat at another nice open post, with rides to the centre, right and left of me, I hadn’t been sitting there long when I spotted a roe doe browsing about 70 meters ahead of me, unfortunately no buck showed up with her. About an hour later I caught sight of another roe down to my right, up with the bino’s and I could see it was a doe, I got my rifle ready in case a buck showed up and then seconds later he popped out from the bushes standing perfectly broadside, off with the safety I put the cross-hairs tight behind his shoulder and released the shot, he dropped on the spot. I reloaded and then suddenly a hind with a yearling ran across the ride close to where the roe buck was lying, they didn’t hang around and disappeared into the trees.
Michael managed to take another calf on this outing as well.
I was placed on a little rise overlooking a small clearing in the forest, the forest was still this morning though I did manage to get a glimpse of a red deer in the distance but it wasn’t hanging around and slipped off quietly into the forest. Waiting till the last minutes of the last day Derek got himself a nice little 6 pointer, he was sat at the same post I had on Saturday morning.
Another guest of Franz also took a yearling hind on the Sunday morning.
Here’s a little glimpse of Eastern Germany’s past, an old spy mast for listening into West German communications.
To sum up the whole trip we took the following:
Michael: 1 hind, 1 yearling, 2 calves
Jonathan: 1 stag (8 pointer), 3 roe bucks
Franz: 3 roe buck
Christian: 1 stag (8 pointer)
Holger: 1 roe buck
Derek: 1 roe buck
Guest (can't remember name): 1 yearling hind
I really enjoyed the trip and would do it again in a heartbeat, having never seen a red deer up close this trip was a real eye opener and a real learning experience getting familiar with them.
I look forward to visiting Germany again in the near future.