Not everything what nature creates is perfect or without imperfections. Many hunters highly value their anomalous trophies and various irregularities appearing on the antlers. Looking for the black roebuck which is the result of the aforementioned imperfections in nature became my long-term goal.
Albinism belongs to the most widely known disorder of animal pigmentation. Whereas I am superstitious, I would never hunt an albino. This oddity becomes evident with white colour of hair and red eyes due to the changed gene which is responsible for colour pigments creation. Another disorder is leucism marked by overall white or pale colour, however, compared to albino, do not have pinky skin. They may have partly preserved body pattern like white tigers. The last oddity concerning colour is melanism. It causes dark even black colouring of a coat and in exceptional cases, a body pattern is obvious ( black jaguar or black panther). Unlike albinos, they have a higher chance of survival and resistance to UV radiation. Just the only disadvantage is lower ability to acquire D vitamin. And also, they are not so notable as albinos.
A few years ago, I learnt about the black roebuck existence in the area of Germany. During more than three years, I was trying to look for some information about the deer or some contact which would have led me to the facility to hunt those unique animals. In vain effort, I tried to contact preparators who had already prepared a specimen of that deer for their clients, also collegues, acquaintances, and also searched on the Internet. However, I gained a direct contact later, when to a recommendation of my colleague, I registered myself on a website called exchangehunt.com. It is an interesting Czech project which connects people having similar interests and hunters from all over the world and also allows them to exchange possibilities of hunting, fishing, taking photos and trips to the countryside. I filled in basic data in a short form to register, my offer and for a better credit, I added a few photos of myself. In no time, I started to go through the offers of other members when I ran into an offer to hunt black roebuck. I did not hesitate and wrote that man. For about a week later, a message reached me saying that there was one roe available that year and if I was still interested in the offer. On the other hand, the man was interested to swap representative moufflon. I did not wait a minute and already in the third mail, I was informed by my future colleague on the date of my possible arrival. There was nothing to think about and my reply informing him about the exact date of my arrival followed as I had meanwhile booked the flight tickets. Advantages of such exchange hunting are both a direct contact with local people and significant saving expenses for hunting because, very often, travel costs are the highest costs.
In July, our D – Day finally came and we together with my wife now, at that time my girlfriend, set out on the journey. Feeling euphoric, we started to think thoroughly about the trip not earlier than on the board of the plane. Ideas such as whether we knew where we were going and what it was going to be there like sprang to mind as we were on the way to visit a complete stranger to us. I tried to calm down my girlfriend insomuch that I had already gone through the hunting ground on the Google Earth, I saw the house where we were going to stay via the Street view. Yes, those are technological gadgets which modern world offers. Being on the spot, you are experiencing nostalgy as if you have already been there before. Our destination was a village called Mittelstendorf, not far from Soltau. The town of Soltau is situated between Hannover and Hamburg, just right in the heart of an area where there is the most numerous population of black roebuck. After we landed, we were welcomed by our host Dieter. He has two hundred hectares of land around his residence where he executes the right to hunt. After our arrival, we arranged a German hunting license and particular insurances. The first day, after accommodation and a short break we went to the hunting ground to deliver feedstuff as we had arrived quite early. When we arrived, we were served rich lunch with homemade bread. After the lunch, we set out for a test shooting. I was given a museum piece Steyr Manlicher 6,5x57 from the period between wars, originally used for mountain hunting to hunt chamoises thanks to its low weight. It fitted me perfectly and one shot was enough. It felt like just right from the production. In the evening we set out for a high seat but unfortunately, a heavy storm forced us to leave shortly after.
The next day, we went to the original place and we only saw a few pieces of fallow deer and a lot of roe-deer. During the day, we killed time in the hunting ground where we also discovered footprints of raccoons. On the spot, we installed a photo trap and left a little feedstuff. I had not even expected that I would have been given a chance to hunt that desired animal. In the evening, we settled down on the nearby meadow which I had spotted earlier that day and according to Dieter‘s story, a black deer in hunting age appears there from time to time. After some time waiting, it was getting dark quickly, and to my good luck, I discovered a black spot at the end of the meadow. The measured distance where it was standing was 250 m away but in the view of the six-time magnification of optics and worse light conditions I did not dare to shoot and I decided to wait. After a while, the roebuck ran around the meadow and stopped to graze on my right side on the edge of meadow about 60 m far from me. Unfortunately, there were branches overhanging the high seat, blocking my view. While I climbed down the ladder, it disappeared in the bush. It was late dusk and suddenly I spotted to all my good luck, a black ´knight´, 35 m in front of the high seat. I could target it with optics and responsibly deliver a shot. After the bang, there was silence and my desired deer was lying in front of me. It was difficult to believe but I succeeded. Exactly as I was told by Dieter to wait since a roe walked along the high seat just right before leaving the meadow and it really was like that. Just like it had been planned.
Recording and taking photos followed and careful pre-preparation of entire skin for fullmount preparation was waiting for me. The following day we took meat to a local buyback shop which was placed in a small estate from 19th century with stylishly arranged courtyard. At the entrance to the box, there were a digital scale, a lifting device for venison, two stainless steel sinks, room for cutting venison, and cooling box itself with a capacity of about 20 pieces of venison. Immediately after weighing and physical checking of the wound status came to a financial settlement and we could go on our way to the hunting ground to check the place where we discovered footprints of raccoons. During the noon, we visited a pool with thermal and salt waters in the town Soltau. After a great deal of relax, we headed for the place where we were expecting raccoons to appear. An hour and half later, seven ´bandits´ came for bait. With quickly shots, I managed to hunt down two pieces. I was excited because I do like hunting small predators and various small game. In the evening, I was on cloud nine and only reviewed the last days. I always repeated to myself whether it was possible, everything had been going smoothly as planned without any mistakes. For the rest of our stay, Dieter lent us his wife‘s car with a map and we were given total freedom. During the last three days, we visited the Safari park and one of the largest amusement parks in Europe.
The last night we booked the air tickets and agreed the second part of our exchange, what was Dieter‘s arrival to Slovakia. In October, it finally became real and Dieter successfully hunted moufflon for seven days in the hug of the Zemplín Mountains. He tasted local kitchen, delicious Tokay wines and visited our hunting exhibition of which I am one of its founders placed in the Count Andrassy‘s riding hall in Trebišov, and which will become a home of this interesting trophy. At the moment, I have already started to look for another exchange and I do believe that I will be able to write about it.
Tomas Duc, www.svetobeznici.eu/en