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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    I did not plan to go out again this past weekend, but my wife already had an evening of quilting and sowing planned. She was of the opinion that my presence would ruin a perfectly good evening.

    I was not going to let that opportunity get away from me. I asked my youngest if she wanted to go with. I did after all promise her that she can come hunting with me. I chose to sit on a Kanzel which is nearly ground level, next to stream with a small artificial waterfall. The noise of which I hoped would drown any noise made by my daughter.

    After about an hour of sitting, we spotted this guy on the right side of the border.



    I assessed his antlers and determined that he is probably too good for the likes of me. So I let him go. I made double sure with the property owner via text message, and he confirmed a while later that this buck is destined to be hunted by him or the next door neighbour.

    It was really funny to be honest. I had a beautiful buck in my sights, which I could not shoot. We watched him for almost an hour, which I am pretty sure would not have happened if I was allowed to shoot older bucks. My 4 year old did an amazing job at staying quite, but at the end of the day she is still 4 years old. She dropped the binos, bumped the wall, stuck half her body out of the window to get a better look at the buck. At no point did the buck acknowledge our presence.

    I need to have patience and wait for yearling to stubble across my path, and hope he is just as oblivious. :)

    On a side note, I am hoping that the 243 Win barrel will be done with the thread cutting this week, as I want to sit with it on Friday.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    Summer hunting in Europe is tough on the work-life balance.

    We have a public holiday today and I took off tomorrow as well, but I decided not to go out today. I may go sit tomorrow night.

    For me to get to the high chair under the cover of darkness, I need to be sitting by 03:30. On the flipside, if I hunt at dusk, I need to get into the high chair by 20:00 and stay there till at least 22:35.

    It makes for very long days that still have the family, household, work and dog training commitments to take care off.

    It's still fun, but I will need to take care to not let t become work.

    I saw another buck that required me to keep the finger straight. He is a "Gabler". The German word for fork is Gable. He has points on every antler. The moment he has tree points on each antler he becomes a 6'er.



    I also saw my first fox from a high chair. Adults are currently out of season, but we can shoot young foxes. Please don't ask me how to tell the difference. I don't know. I'll figure that out after the season opens on 16 July.



    I found this American musk rat on my way back to the car during my last outing.

    They were instructed to Europe back in the day to help bolster the fur trade. They and Nutrias are considered vermin. We can kill them on sight. They do a considerable amount of damage to the banks of rivers, streams and waterways they inhabit.

    For scale - I wear a size 13 shoe.




  3. #23

    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    I knew you had introduced Nutria there, didn't know you also had musk rats. Do you see racoon dogs there? Friends hunted in western Poland and were told to shoot them on sight. Another fur trade introduction that went sideways.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    Quote Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
    I knew you had introduced Nutria there, didn't know you also had musk rats. Do you see racoon dogs there? Friends hunted in western Poland and were told to shoot them on sight. Another fur trade introduction that went sideways.
    We have them here as well. Young "Marderhunde" can hunted the whole year, but adults only between September and February. They are not as widespread here in my state. Only 170 were shot last year according to official records.

    For reference, close to 50k foxes were reported shot in the same period, as well as just over 7k badgers and 25k actual racoons.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    That muskrat is an interesting looking critter.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    The 2023 German hunting season came to a close this past Wednesday. It was not the season I hoped for, but it was definitely better than not hunting.

    I never did get my shot at a roe buck. Not for a lack of trying though. There were plenty of candidates that resided on the property, and I had all of them in the cross hairs. Sometimes multiple times a week. Unfortunately for me, the property owner asked me to let the older bucks be. I was however allowed to shoot a yearling or a mature buck whose antlers did not meet the standard. None of those crossed my path.

    Summer hunting does have its challenges. Most notably the longer days. The roe only really start moving out of cover in the twilight hours. As an example, for Friday, 14 June 2024, shooting light starts at 04:25 and ends at 22:41. So to give myself the best chance, I need to by set up by around 03:25 and 21:00 to get a decent chance at a roe buck. It does start taking its toll on the body and family (and the marriage) to be up that early and out that late in pursuit of a buck. Even more so when you see bucks every single time, but you can’t shoot any of them. On the flip side, I never felt that a moment outside was wasted. The girls came with a couple of times and was a great learning experience for them as to learn that we don’t shoot every deer that comes by.

    I was looking forward to 1. September when the general roe season opened. Around this time, I started noticing that I was more tired than usual and was feeling unwell. Long story short, I had to get a minor heart operation. I was out of action till December.

    Fortunately my luck changed. I was able to get a shot at this young doe coming out of the mustard field. I was thankful for not skimping on decent quality glass. I shot her at 125 meters within the legal hunting time, but I could not see her with the naked eye. For the European hunting context, quality rifle scopes pay for themselves.
    This was the first deer I shot with the 243 Winchester. It was my own load of an 80gr Barnes X TTSX traveling just over 3300fps. She fell after the shot, but got up and made a short dash for it, but did not make it far.








    I kept on hunting through Christmas to New Year without any luck.
    The year ended with me taking a severance package, which meant I had a bit more time to hunt this past month. (I’m staring the new job March).

    My plan was to keep on using the 243 Winchester, but pigs started showing up on the property, which meant that I had to switch over to the 30-06.
    It was the first time that I switched barrels without double checking zero at the range. I was however confident that I could change barrels and scopes without checking zero, because I made an effort to check it whenever I had the opportunity. The Blaser system did not disappoint – I saw a nutria appear next to a stump that I ranged the day before at 165 meters. The 150 gr Barnes TTSX at 2900fps did not disappoint.

    My eldest joined me for this session. Here she is next to the nutria.



    The highlight of this season was this past Saturday, when I finally managed to bag my first fox. I was outside at 04:00 already. At the most I was hoping to get a shot at a pig, at the least I was hoping to be in a good position to get another roe. As I approached the highchair, I picked her up in the thermal while I was still 300 meters out. From previous encounters, I knew that there was an above average chance that she will comeback that same way just before dawn.

    My patience was rewarded just after 06:30. I picked her up in the thermal and switched on the night vision attachment on the scope. I took the first shot that presented itself. This was later ranged at 80 meters. She was dead before she hit the ground. I shot her on the neighboring property, which meant I had to cross the narrow knee deep river separating the properties. Long story short, I slipped on the frost covered grass going over and coming back. My one boot was filled with water. It was a pretty damn cold walk back to the car.







    She ended up as dog training prop. If I understood correctly, she has been frozen, and will be thawed out towards the end of summer to help prepare for the field trials. (There are actually websites where we can order frozen hares, rabbits, foxes and ducks for dog training purposes)



    The landowner has invited me to continue hunting his property once the season opens again in May. I was hoping to make a UK trip for fallow deer and muntjac, but between the new job and our youngest starting school, there may not be an opportunity. I was however invited to join three driving hunts in France later this year. The hunting area is north of 2000 hectares, in the area close to Strasbourg. It would be great if that materializes.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    Great write-up. Thanks for shining a light on the way things are done in your part of the old continent. The differences in the way things are done in other places is fascinating.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    Waidmannsheil!

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    Quote Originally Posted by oafpatroll View Post
    Great write-up. Thanks for shining a light on the way things are done in your part of the old continent. The differences in the way things are done in other places is fascinating.
    Thanks. :)

    It’s very different here. I do like the fact that the hunting is done throughout most of the year, and the entire year if there are pigs.

    It’s also immensely satisfying to be singularly responsible for the entire process. If I make a bad shot, I must take the correct actions to find the deer. If it runs into a thicket; I must retrieve it. If I take a frontal shot, I also have to be okay with cleaning out the deer with stomach contents in the cavity. This means that every possible shot is weighed against these factors.

    The greatest challenge I face here in terms of achieving a decent "deer per outing" ratio, is that there is no correlation between the wind direction and safe backstops. Throw in distances of up to 300m with failing light, and it becomes a game of chance. I made some decent stalks this season, but not one of them amounted to a deer hanging in the chiller.

    The wind in my face was great, but the busy road behind the deer was not. The property does have some pedestrian traffic, so a decent set of binos is a must. As is the thermal monocular.

    This year has also marked a turning point for me in terms of hunting ppportunities. The hunting opportunities here is correlated to what the Germans refer to as Vitamin B – Vitamin Beziehungen / Bekanntschaften. It comes down to who you know and who knows you. I’ve already been invited to two other hunts through people I met on the property I am hunting now. So 2024 is looking up. :)

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Hunting in the German countryside 2023/24 season.

    Quote Originally Posted by TStone View Post
    Waidmannsheil!
    Waidmannsdank!

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