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Hunting at home - a German sheep hunt for a big old mouflon ram in the Rheinland!
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When first starting to think about this hunt, I was torn. I was torn between the ragged and rocky slopes and gorges of Croatia, the fields and woodlands of Blumberg in Brandenburg, Germany, and the Matra Mountains north of Budapest in Hungary. All three great mouflon sheep areas and all three would involve some travel - Croatia a flight and a drive, Hungary a day's driving and Blumberg half a day in the Landrover. Yeah, I know the jokes "if the Landrover ever gets there"! All three areas are great for free range, trophy mouflon, an animal that I have not hunted before.

All outfitters offering mouflon at these destinations have good reputations and success rates and prices were similar. I spoke to them in Dortmund and again Salzburg at the shows this and last year. Similar packages yet the hunts would be almost polar opposites. Croatia with lots of climbing, stalking and glassing from rocky, boulder strewn screes and cliffs with amazing views out over the Mediterranean seas and an almost Dalmatian warm coastal holiday atmosphere. Blumberg, being fresh, maybe cold in October, with early morning and late afternoon glassing from high seats and slow walking / stalking into known grazing and feeding areas to try and take an unsuspecting trophy ram in the thick and lush countryside of Brandenburg, Germany. And Hungary, well, walking and stalking in the early morning hours and late afternoon / early evening hours through the Matra forests and woodlands and hills in search of a trophy mouflon ram with very little sitting in high seats and stands.

Which of the three would it be?

In the end Covid19 pretty much made the decision for me. Croatia remained closed for travel at the time of planning and deciding. Blumberg, booking through a German agent where I was on the waiting list for 2 years, reduced their quota due to C19 and was sold out and the agent did not get back to me to let me know (scratch them off my list) and so only Hungary remained from the three. But then Hungary closed all borders to hunters on September 14th, after opening them for a short window earlier in the month, so in effect Hungary too was out of the draw at the time of my deciding which hunt to go on. Zero for three! Things were not looking particularly sheepish for me in 2020! Maybe I would have to think about postponing to 2021.

And then one afternoon my dearest wife told me she had spoken to a builder friend of ours (roofing and tiles) who also hunts and he asked whether she or I would be interested in hunting mouflon in his private concession south of Koblenz in Germany, in the hills of Hunsruck, in Rhineland Palatinate. Big mouflon he said! I called him and he gave me the details on the phone - two hours drive, hilly ground, with the mouflon - plenty of mouflon - rutting late September through October usually over a 10-14 day window. Good rams - six and seven year olds with heads of 80 cm plus. Old trophy rams! It would be a question of patience, time, quiet stalks and putting in the hours, lots from high seats and some walk and stalk. Was I interested? Yes Sir, I was!

He could only get away at the weekends due to his work, so we would try and be flexible and look at 1 or 2 weekends between late September into October, and "oh by the way, a ewe or lamb for the freezer would not be a problem either"! No day fees, no this was an invitation, but I would pay a trophy fee for the ram including the meat and EUR 4/- per kg for the meat off the ewes and lambs. A multiple weekend German sheep hunt it would be! And furthermore not a fence to be seen - totally free range, wild mouflon.

Zoologists are divided whether the European mouflon became extinct due to habitat encroachment and over hunting 3.000 to 4.000 years ago and whether they were reestablished from Mediterranean island herds from Corsica and Sardinia or whether European mouflon are actually now decedents of Europe's domestic sheep herds.

Either way, western European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon), are the westernmost and smallest of the species weighing in at 40 - 55 kgs for rams and 20 - 40 kgs for ewes. They have a smooth yet thick, dark brown coat, typically with a white saddle on their backs and they stand at between 80 and 90 cms at the shoulder. Both sexes have horns with the males having large curled horns that can grow to 80 - 90 cms in length. These would be the rams that I was hoping to see! Like most sheep and goats, mouflon, with their yellow / amber eyes and large black pupils, have excellent eyesight and an acute sense of smell. With small ears their hearing is not acute like roe or other deer - it's eyes and nose for mouflon! They are a herd animal with rams often forming bachelor groups outside of the rut and then competing amongst the herds for ewes and breeding rights during the rut which is typically from late September / early October into November. Ewes carry their offspring for up to 6 months, lambing in April / May, and occasionally they will drop twins.

In the last century, mouflon herds throughout Czech, Hungary, Poland and Germany were carefully managed and nurtured as mouflon became a more and more interesting and valued hunting quarry. The two World Wars saw a significant drop in the populations (poached / hunted for food) however with management and conservation efforts numbers grew and healthy mouflon populations were again recorded in the 1950s and 1960s.

Whilst they are officially classed as VU (Vulnerable) in the IUCN listings, European mouflon populations are rising and require management to keep the count in balance. It will be interesting to see over time whether the increasing numbers of wolves throughout Europe and specifically Germany (where wolves are heavily protected) has an impact on mouflon numbers.

In all of Germany, some 7.000 to 8.000 mouflon are hunted / taken annually with some 3.000 plus/minus in Austria (stats 2018/19). Trophy mouflon rams rank high on the trophy lists along with chamois in status as a hunting target in Europe, and large mouflon heads are prized and priced accordingly. Not a cheap hunt but then again not a hunt I will repeat every year. At least I don't think so, but then again ...

So, I would plan two weekends, maybe getting away early Friday and staying at one or two different hotels in the area of the hunt Friday and Saturday evenings. A nice relaxed dinner and a couple of German beers followed by a Schnapps and in the morning a simple continental / German breakfasts, cold cuts and cheeses and fresh rolls and then out at first light to search of a trophy ram. All very civilized, relaxed and stress free!

Looking at gear and rifles, with the hunt maybe spread over various weekends, I would be able to enjoy hunting with different rifles each weekend if I chose to. To start off however, I opted to take my Ruger No. 1 in 8x75R topped with a Schmidt & Bender Zenith 2,5-10x56 scope and shooting Sax 8,2g handloads. A great rifle that I enjoying shooting with a quality scope and quality ammunition. (A big thanks to Jaeger Frank on here for helping me source the ammo and getting the rifle sighted in when he came to visit in August!) I would be using Swarovski O-Range binos and I would also take along a Sauer rams horn handled knife that I recently purchased, for hopefully gralloching the ram that I would hopefully shoot. A great rifle, wonderful optics and a quality knife! All the ingredients for a good hunt!




With mild end of September weather it was not til the second October week that I got the thumbs up - the weekend 16 - 18 October. It had turned cold with 4-5 degrees C daytime temperatures. The mouflon were out and some bigger rams had been spotted! I booked a local hotel (with a history dating back to the 1760s as a coaching inn and grain mill) for the first weekend at EUR 42/- night inc breakfast and was all set.




     





An interesting addition to the hotel was its own chapel outside by the stream. Open all year and maintained by the hotel owners, I was told hikers and hotel guests frequently visit the chapel throughout year.




I loaded the vehicle on Thursday evening bar rifle, ammo and my rucksack and after an early coffee on Friday 16th October, I set off in high spirits and full of anticipation on the German Autobahn, south towards Koblenz and the Hunsruck! An easy 200 km trip, with a stop for a coffee and leg stretch half way.









My 2020 sheep hunt had begun!

It was a super easy drive with no traffic jams or delays and I pulled into the "Jagdhaus" as planned at 11.00 am. The guys were there to meet me and over coffee and pleasantries they told me about the concession and the game numbers. I would sit in one of the high seats - Oscar - through the afternoon til last light - the game cameras were showing good numbers of mouflon coming on to the maize bait.

Peter drove ahead of me in his rugged Lada jeep through a thick wood to the bait site and with a 'Waidmannheil' I was on my own in the Kanzel overlooking a clearing and maize bait site surrounded by beech and oak trees. Their high seats were excellent, sturdy, well built 'huts on stilts' with surround windows, a comfortable bench to sit on with ample cushions and a rifle / gear bench rest at the front. All Kanzels were kitted out with sandbag rifle rests and on the outside 'wind flags' - orange wind tags suspended off of long poles so that you could see the wind at all times whilst sitting in the Kanzel.










"Sitzfleisch" is the German expression, which would roughly translates word for word as 'sitting meat' meaning 'stamina' and the ability to sit it out! And that's what this was. I sat through to 6.00 pm with one older ewe coming to feed around 3.00 pm. I considered shooting her but she kept looking over to the left and I wondered if there were more mouflon there and didn't want to risk spooking them. There were not and after twenty minutes or so the single ewe went on her way. I consoled myself in the fact that she did not appear to 'meaty' in the sense of plump juicy chops so I was happy that I had passed.

I returned to the hunting lodge where the others were having coffee and a snack - blood sausage and salami on brown bread! And then it was back to the inn and dinner and a beer and a schnapps and early to bed.

Saturday was cold and overcast but no rain and after a light breakfast, I made the short drive to the hunt lodge where Peter was already waiting for me. After a brief 'good morning', I pulled on my boots and followed his Lada through the woods to a different Kanzel. Pulling up behind the high seat, Peter explained to me that there were two bait sites left and right and I should sit til 1.00 pm when we would all go into the village for lunch and then I would sit at another stand in the afternoon. All good, with rucksack and rifle, I climbed the ladder and took up in the Kanzel, with the wool rug wrapped over my legs against the cold. The bait sites were cleared and half logs were spaced a couple of meters apart where they baited with corn under each log. The idea being that the pigs and mouflon come in and shove the logs aside to feed.









Fog was rolling down the valley and covered everything in moisture so that the trees dripped heavily throughout the morning. Around 10h00 a single roe doe came to the right side bait and fed and browsed for 15 minutes. A short while later, I saw a single mouflon ram cross from right to left in the woodline and he proceeded to go up the far bank calling and bleeting for about half an hour. A roe buck came in on the right and fed for a short while. A decent sized buck in body and antler.






And then at noon on the hour exactly, a mouflon ram stepped out of the tree line and cautiously approached the nearest bait spot. Dark chocolate in colour with the distinctive white saddle. He started to feed. The ram from earlier? I had and took my time. I glassed the ram and liked what I saw - close to a full curl, thick horned, decent body size. I guessed him at 5 year plus and decided he would be a good first mouflon ram to take. As he turned broadside, I put the Schmidt & Bender red dot onto his shoulder, slipped the safety forward and squeezed the round off. The ram bucked hard at the shot and took flight into the tree line the way he came! I was sure of a good solid hit.

I waited 10 minutes and then called Peter on my cell and with the Ruger, I climbed down from the Kanzel and walked the 75 plus meters to the bait site. Where the ram had stood there was no blood or hair to be seen. Deep hoof prints however marked the spot and the flight path was clear to see. Peter arrived and together we followed the tracks and some 50-60 meters into the wood lay the ram, shot shoulder to shoulder with the 8x75R exiting with minimal damage but a good blood trail. The SAX 8,2g copper round did an impressive job.





I was thrilled, a good solid 5-6 year old ram (Peter put him at 6), with a well shaped set of horns and a clean shot and short flight! Waidmannsheil!

We took our time admiring the ram and taking photographs and then Peter dropped the bull bar on his Lada jeep and drove the ram back to the lodge with me packing up the Kanzel and following. I had my Covid 19 mouflon ram!




















After gutting and hosing down the ram - he dressed out at 35 kgs - we all enjoyed a cold beer (actually a bottled shandy) and then drove for lunch at the inn where I was staying.






I spent the afternoon through to last light at another Kanzel overlooking an open meadow. A mouflon ram came out and hoovered up most of the maize bait. He had a big wide set of horns with the left circle growing in at his neck to the point that his left side neck was rubbed red and raw. Were it my concession, I would have shot the ram, instead I told Peter about the beast when I was back at the lodge and he said they would go out after him in the next couple of weeks. A roe doe and her yearling buck came in and fed for half an hour to round off the day for me.








And then it was back to the lodge for a beer with the 'team' and then to the hotel for a bite to eat, a beer and schnapps and bed.

Sunday I was up early and after breakfast and settling my bill, I helped on the bait site drive and then loaded the mouflon into the Landrover for the short drive home, stopping to drop off the ram at a nearby butcher / taxidermist, who will have the meat ready in a week and a shoulder mount of the ram on a shield in 6 months!

It was not Croatia nor Hungary or the promise of super trophy size rams in Bamburg, but rather a weekend with likeminded hunters in their private concession, enjoying their company and their trust and seeing a new part of Germany. I was super pleased with the mouflon ram that I shot and the guys threw out an open invitation to come back in May next year and hunt a couple of ewes and yearling lambs for the freezer if I want to. Yes I do and I will take them up on that for sure!

Covid19 may have screwed up our international travel plans and our Africa plans this year, but thanks to hunter friends and acquaintances, I was successful in getting out for a weekend and taking a mouflon ram - my first! In honesty, I prefer walk and stalk to high seats and bait sites, but high seats are the way of many hunts in Germany and they have their place in the German hunting scene. Different strokes. The three Kanzel that I sat in were all superbly built, comfortable, well fitted out and overlooked well laid out bait sites. Hats off to the guys on maintaining them and the bait sites. Hopefully I will hunt there again in 2021!




A big thanks to Peter and Achim for the invitation, their trust and their hospitality and thanks to all AR readers for coming along on this German sheep report!





Cheers!

.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Hi Charlie
Good to see you adapting to these Covid times and finding some interesting new hunting.
Congrats on your success. That ram looks quite mature to me. Mouflon are on my one day list.
I am surprised at how green the forest of your hunt area looks. Maybe not cold enough yet for much leaf fall, or are there many evergreen species there. .?
Cheers


Hunting.... it's not everything, it's the only thing.
 
Posts: 1041 | Location: New Zealand's North Island | Registered: 13 November 2014Reply With Quote
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Hello Grant and trust you are doing well.

Weather was pretty mild til the end of September and has only now started turning cold. Still plenty of greenery around! Was a good 'different' style hunt and I am also looking forward to the meat and to see how that tastes.

The weather people are starting to talk about a harsh winter in the coming months! Will be good to get the pigs on the baits!

Cheers and go well !

.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Charlie - Congratulations! Thanks for the great report and photos. I enjoyed reading it and it looks to me like you've made the best of the situation. (And at least there are no worries about German customs inspection!)
 
Posts: 463 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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I loved this. Thank you for sharing.
 
Posts: 3584 | Location: Somewhere above Tennessee and below Kentucky  | Registered: 31 July 2016Reply With Quote
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Very cool!
 
Posts: 1185 | Location: North Island NZ | Registered: 21 July 2008Reply With Quote
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Nice report and photos. I always enjoy seeing how others do their hunting.


_____________________________
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
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*we band of 45-70ers*
 
Posts: 2258 | Location: Washington (wetside) | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Lovely Report
Kräftiges Waidmannsheil

Wonder how long it will take and BIGDOG WOLF will clean up with the Mouflon Populations in Central Europe.
Many Good Mouflon Areas in Eastern Germany (Göhrde, Thüringen, Sachsen etc.) are cleaned up already. What a pity


Nec Timor Nec Temeritas
 
Posts: 2061 | Registered: 29 May 2005Reply With Quote
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MBB, Big Waidmanns Dank!

The big bad wolf is exactly that and a big bad problem! Friends in Schleswig have had wolves pass 5 meters from their high seats and stare at them! They know no fear in German, where they are overly protected. Mouflon, roe, red and other species are all on the menu along with domestic stock.

Heaven forbid, but when the first infant or person is attacked then the authorities and politicians may, just may wake up!

But where I was hunting there have not been any attacks (so far) and just one sighting. The sheep seem to be ok for the time being!


.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Great report, as always, and lovely photos.
Gotta love those old Lada’s
Thanks
 
Posts: 447 | Location: New Zealand, Australia, Zambia | Registered: 25 May 2009Reply With Quote
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Thank you for the report and great photos. Your Ruger is a most handsome rifle, my I ask who built it?
 
Posts: 43 | Location: west MN | Registered: 22 September 2010Reply With Quote
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Howdy Charlie:

Great hunt report fine pictures too. Enjoyed it much. Fine looking areas and huts to keep the
weather off you. Dandy ram, looked closer to half curl to me than full. Nothing wrong there, will make a lovely mount.

The 18 months I was in Germany I only saw two seasons: Fog and wheat lice! Colder than hell in the fog. Now and then we'd hear what sounded like a jet fling by on the highway. Seldom ever saw what was making the racket though.
Every now and then we'd see a pile of scrap metal somewhere.

Cheers, and don't quit, this is hunting season over there mate. Find something else now. Hogs, raebuc etc.

Thanks for sharing with us your fortunate doings.

George


"Gun Control is NOT about Guns'
"It's about Control!!"
Join the NRA today!"

LM: NRA, DAV, RMEF

George L. Dwight
 
Posts: 4849 | Location: Pueblo, CO | Registered: 31 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Great report as always! Nice to see the 8x75 being used!
 
Posts: 698 | Location: Germany | Registered: 24 February 2006Reply With Quote
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Rglenz, Thanks. Not sure who built it. I got it from a dealer in Frankfurt. Here's the link to the post on AR when I got the rifle. Its a dandy and I hope to do a lot more hunting with it in the years ahead!


http://forums.accuratereloadin...9421043/m/8861097152


.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Charlie64, thanks for the link to your post from last year. A very nifty rifle chambered for an interesting round.
 
Posts: 43 | Location: west MN | Registered: 22 September 2010Reply With Quote
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Thank you for posting this report,always enjoy your adventures.


DRSS
 
Posts: 2007 | Location: MI | Registered: 20 March 2007Reply With Quote
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Amigo Waidmannsheil!

Koblenz is a cool part of the country, in America they have a lot of advertisements (pre-Covid) on Rhein castle cruises.

I did a drive about 80 km from there and a guy shot a 60cm mouflon that was almost black from nose to tail.

We enjoyed that area, a lot as it was only about 180 KM from the house in Katzenbach Rheinland Pfalz.

Enjoy your little German adventures, nothing wrong with that.
 
Posts: 6540 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 10 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Waidmannsheil. Nice ram. Thanks for the report.

I had one of those Ladas 25 years ago as my first four wheel drive. They are a pig on bitumen, but very good off road.
 
Posts: 359 | Location: Australia | Registered: 03 September 2006Reply With Quote
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Charlie,

As always, thanks for your hunt report. Every one is magazine worthy. Perhaps a book is in your future.

I enjoyed being stationed at Sembach AB for a couple years in the mid-90's but let work get in the way. I used to glass deer from my office window though.

Matt
 
Posts: 1198 | Location: Simpsonville, SC | Registered: 25 June 2006Reply With Quote
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The end result !





.


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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That's about the nicest Ruger #1 I've seen!
 
Posts: 18180 | Location: Very NW NJ up in the Mountains | Registered: 14 June 2009Reply With Quote
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Biebs, Thank you Sir. I'll take that as a big compliment !! Great gun to shoot and an awesome caliber.

Hoping to get to Spain and chase sheep and goats with it one day (soon).

Cheers, Charlie


"Up the ladders and down the snakes!"
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: South Africa & Europe | Registered: 10 February 2014Reply With Quote
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Great report, Thank you for posting it up, would love to hunt one of these one day myself.

Great pity on the Wolf, folks need to start shooting them now & keep it quiet, took two hundred years to get then under control & now we let them spread ever where !!
 
Posts: 344 | Location: New Zealand - Australia - South Africa | Registered: 14 October 2007Reply With Quote
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