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Hunting in Hungary with Wonderhart October 2013
05 November 2013, 20:48gbax
Hunting in Hungary with Wonderhart October 2013Dates: 25th-29th October
Area: Near Kelebia, in the South of Hungary close to the Serbian border
Rifle: Sako 85 Synthetic Stainless in 30.06
Bullets: Federal 165grain Ballistic Tips
Game seen: Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, Wild Boar, Golden Jackal
Game Hunted: Fallow Deer, Wild Boar
A wild boar has been on my 'bucket list' for quite some time, I had tried for them once in the UK sitting in a high seat in Scotland but that was a blank; I had heard that Hungary held plenty of game so I resolved to get on and try for one. My wife is a teacher so term dates limit when we can go away, for once the dates worked well and October half term was selected.
We flew from London Heathrow to Budapest with British Airways, roughly a 2.5hr flight (Ryanair, Easyjet and Whizz all fly from London airports as well). Checking the gun was relatively easy but incurred a £50 gun handling fee and then a £40 fee as it counted as a second piece of hold luggage, seemed like a double charge to me which irked somewhat. There was the usual confusion over where exactly the ammo should be; on this occasion they decided they wanted it in the case with the gun. We arrived 15 mins late in Budapest at just after midnight, the gun came out on the baggage carousel and there were no police or security in sight so I walked straight out with no checks and was met by Zoltan, one of the Wonderhart team. Zoltan drove us to our hotel, stopping on the way to show us the spectacular views over the city from onto of the castle hill.
We stayed in the Intercontinental, centrally located with spectacular views over the Danube: 25th October
We had a very good lunch the next day on 'The Spoon' restaurant boat outside our hotel before Zoltan picked us up for the roughly 90 min drive South to the Bács-Kiskun County, part of the great southern plain in Hungary. Our hotel was a hot springs Spa called the Collesseum in a town called Morahalem about 20 mins from the area we hunted. Pretty comfortable, with reasonable food and my wife enjoyed the spa facilities.
After a quick change we went off to meet our local guide (they are government employees in Hungary) and check the zero on the rifle. With that done we went off for a bonus first evening stalk. We were seeing game almost immediately, a rather tired rutted out Red stag was the first animal we saw shortly followed by a white Fallow buck. As the light started to fade we moved from spot to spot looking for Boar, all the while serenaded by rutting Fallow bucks grunting away. We saw some roe does but the boar remained hidden, although we did hear some shortly before we lost the light.26th October
Our first full day started at 05-15 with us checking likely spots for boar pre dawn. We were in a slightly different area of the forest which held even more Fallow, the sound of rutting bucks followed us all morning; we saw no boar unfortunately but had a very enjoyable and lengthy stalk. We saw large amounts of Fallow deer everywhere we went including some nice bucks, one of which was absolutely monstrous. The local guide kept up a pretty brisk pace and glassed very little so we did bump quite a few animals but I was enjoying hunting in new country and was in no hurry to pull the trigger so the morning ended blank.
The afternoon proved rather more eventful and both my wife and myself took management Fallow deer.
Soon it was time to concentrate on the Boar as the light started to fade, again we moved from spot to spot checking before revisiting one of the areas we had tried that morning. The guide was a few steps ahead of me as he reached the edge of the wood, overlooking a field. His look told the story and soon I was looking at a group of around 15 pigs, three of them were noticeably bigger and the guide told me that these were 'Mama' with the rest being the piglets. The smallest of which was somewhat sidelined on the left clear of the central group, which were fairly tightly bunched. Despite the lack of light, the shot was a fairly simple with an illuminated reticle; about 60 yards off the shooting sticks and the pig went straight down to the shot. It was the runt of the litter and dressed out at only 15kg but it was my first boar and I was very pleased indeed.
The high seat that I was stood underneath when i shot the pig
05 November 2013, 21:00gbax
We started even earlier at 04-14 on the second day (The clocks changed for winter as well) to take advantage of what limited moonlight there was; sadly it did not pay off and despite visiting the known haunts of a couple of large boars we saw nothing. We had a good walk, slower that the first morning as Tamas, one of the Wonderhart team and myself were glassing although still a little fast for my liking! We again saw large amounts of deer and had a couple of stalks busted at the last second. After a while we came across a lone Fallow fawn with no sign of a doe in evidence, it was pretty weedy so was an ideal cull candidate and soon hit the deck.
Cull Fallow Fawn
The forest is mostly pine or silver poplar
I forgot the time change so we started rather late that afternoon and tried to get my wife a red hind as she hadn't got one before. We messed up a couple of stalks before boar time came around again. We spent a long time at one spot that we had visited before, not long before last knockings something moved very close to us but caught our wind and spooked. We moved to another spot that we had heard boar in the wood on the first evening and when we were still 200 yards away we head the squealing of squabbling piggies. Creeping in to about 60 yards I could see the blurred black shapes of quite a number of pigs, perhaps a dozen but maybe more. By now it was really dark and even with the illuminated reticle and excellent Swaroski scope I realised I needed to be closer to pick one out. We first moved into about 45 yards before creeping into about 25 yards. It was really tough.....the pigs kept changing position and when I singled one out as being clear of the others I had to then try and work out which end was the head in the binos which had better light gathering before looking down the scope (by which time they would have moved again). Finally a medium sized pig separated from the pack on the left on a lighter patch of sand that silhouetted it a bit better than the others, by now it was pretty much dark and I realised that this was last chance so I wasted no time it getting the red dot a third of the way up the body on the front leg. For the 5th time of the trip the 165grain bullet knocked the pig off its feet and I had my second pig in the bag, a yearling of 50kg or so. Very exciting stuff and a very challenging shot despite the short range.
We had supper with Tamas and Péter back at the Hunting lodge. On the menu was my piglet from the previous evening. I have to say I may have been slightly biased but it was absolutely delicious although it was washed down with far too much Pálinka, a lethal local spirit of about 50% alcohol made from fruit, we tried three different ones, apricot, sour cherry and plum. Tamas claimed it didn't give you a hangover, but I can attest that that is total rubbish !
BBQ Piglet 28th October
Another 04-14 start, made even more painful by the Palinka, to a different area. We had a brief glimpse of a real monster boar early on but he made us and disappeared into the under growth; next to follow was a couple of lovely Fallow bucks. Continuing on our way we rounded the corner which allowed is to see down a long ride; half way down behind a tree we could see a boar laid down, just beyond one of the ubiquitous high seats/stands. The great thing about the stalking here is the sandy soil typical of the whole area makes walking very quiet and we soon closed the distance and I was set up ready on the sticks. The boar was laid down in a muddy dip in the ground, arse end on to us, offering no shot. He seemed quite content and despite the guide cracking a stick he remained laid down. Our patience paid off and shortly after he stood up; typically he had a small tree covering his vitals but he soon moved off stopping behind some bush, I steadied myself and threaded the bullet between the twigs. I reloaded quickly but the pig only made it about 5 yards before keeling over. For safety's sake we gave him a couple of mins but he never moved after the first few seconds.
After a few pics I christened my new knife on the Boar; the fat on it was incredible and actually made the dressing quite difficult as it was hard see where to cut for all the layers of fat. The bullet had completely destroyed the top half of the heart and all the blood vessels above it. We found it lodged not too far under the skin of the far shoulder.
With all our targets achieved we decided to head back to Budapest at lunchtime and forego our last evenings hunting and allow ourselves time for a good supper before flying back to London the next day.
I was pretty impressed with the Federal Ballistic Tips performance on a 160+kg animal Hungarian Hunting traditions
Like many European countries all animals you shoot are treated with great respect; A small leafed twig is placed in the quarry’s mouth as a ‘last bite/ meal’, another branch covers the bullet wound and a small piece handed to the hunter with a drop of blood on. It is customary to remove you hat and shake hands before placing the leaves in you cap band. Not something we do in the UK but I have to say I liked it.
A more amusing tradition is when you shoot your first animal of a particular species; is a very strange spanking ritual with a stick ! I have no idea of the origins but the ‘spanker’ makes a short speech saluting various patron saints of hunting and wishes you, the ‘spankee’, luck as a future hunter of the species while you kneel over your fallen quarry…… Needless to say very funny indeed. Fallow Rutting stands/ rings
It is pretty common in the UK to a particular buck or bucks to have a place that they tend to rut every year. In Hungary this is on a whole new scale; in the forest we were hunting 25,000 acres+ there were three main rutting rings where at the peak of the rut 30-50 bucks with congregate to show off to the ladies. Remember these are wild deer not fenced in a park so an incredible sight. As I was not hunting Fallow I sadly didn’t get to visit these rings early or late but I did get to sneak in late morning a couple of times and get to see a few bucks strutting their stuff. It must be an incredible sight at its peak and underlines how good the management of these animals is in Hungary. If you want a big Fallow, this is truly the place to go.
Two bucks shot by Ukrainian hunters - nice bucks but not massive by local standards Wonderhart
Tamas and Zoltan get a massive thumbs up for me. The outfit was very professional and we were very well looked after indeed. The hunting was out of this world and I very much hope to go back for a Mouflon or perhaps a big Fallow buck if I can afford it.
06 November 2013, 12:04JCHB
Great report. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
07 November 2013, 17:49Fallow Buck
Looks like a great hunt indeed. Cool pics too.
Those big fallow really are a sight to behold huh?
08 November 2013, 00:38sws
Fantastic looking pig - are you going for a shoulder mount?
08 November 2013, 06:35mbogobutch
Great report, pictures, and game. Congratulations to you,and your wife!
08 November 2013, 17:18gbax
Kiri - I saw two much that were substantially bigger than these two pictured. The one on the right here is about 4.5 to 4.7kg and a nice Gold medal........to give you an idea they shoot 6.5kg bucks here every year !
SWS - Sadly no shoulder mount - I just don't have the room. His tusks will go on a shield beside my Warthog though !
08 November 2013, 22:15juanpozzi
Very intersting and very similar to my poland hunt ,i believe all the traditions came from the austrohungary empire .I love german hunting traditions .Congratulations .
Juan Pablo Pozzi von Zurbriggen md.
FULL PROFESSIONAL MEMBER OF IPHA INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS ASOCIATION .
DSC PROFESSIONAL MEMBER
IPSC-FAT -argentine shooting federation cred number2-
08 November 2013, 23:30Fallow Buck
That makes for some serious trophy Fallow!!
I managed to miss the entire rut this year here with a bad foot and so much other stuff going on. Every time I had an afternoon off it started chucking it down... typical huh?
13 November 2013, 03:51Cazador humilde
Great report. Congratulations to you both. 'Biggest fallow I've ever seen.
13 November 2013, 15:00gbax
Missed the rut in the UK this year as well - from what I heard it didn't really kick off? Certainly not much sign on the couple of outings i had but perhaps i was a little late.
Very tempted by a Hungary trip next year for a big buck
18 November 2013, 06:49Use Enough Gun
Great hunt report and pics! Having been to Hungary and to Budapest, I also loved your pics across the Danube. I have walked that bridge many times and up the hill to the sights!
26 November 2013, 04:19Orvar
Awesome report and pics - thanks for sharing!
27 November 2013, 22:42gbax
Thanks I'm glad you enjoyed it. My Boar got the official assessment yesterday and came in at 21,15 cm average tusk length. Hopefully i should have them on a shield in the next couple of weeks.