First Polish roebuck 2012. Roe deer hunting in Poland.

After having a go at wild boar and taking a nice yearling male, me and my father-in-law decided to have a look and find a decent roebuck. We went to another area, which was mainly mature forestry. Not the best environment for roe deer and we wanted to hunt wild boar later on at moonlight, but it was still early and worth having a walk. This was mainly mature pine forest, but unlike Scottish forestry it was a pleasure to stalk. Well maintained tracks, no wind damage, trees spaced out to let a lot of light that there was nice undergrowth giving food and shelter to deer and other animals. Also there were hardly anywhere large mono-cultures in the area. It was all mixed forest, pine trees mostly but also beech, oak and many more. This forestry was populated be red deer mostly, with some roe and small group of fallow. Wild boar were present as well as wolves…

Roe deer hunting in Poland

I often get questions or annoying comments (especially on YouTube…) why I shot this and not other buck, so here goes. Poland and many other continental European countries follow idea of selective shooting (may agree with it or not…). Deer are owned by the state, but hunting rights and venison generally are the property of the lease holder – a hunting club.

All hunting in Poland is done under one organization and all hunters are grouped and hunt as a part of their local hunting clubs. A club can be anything between 15-200 members, but usually 40-90 is the norm. It does not mean all the people are active members or go out shooting at the same time. Clubs also hold large pieces of forestry/farmland (if compared to the UK). One area could be anything between 3,000-10,000 ha (7,500-30,000 acres) and a club can have more than one. So we are talking about 50-100 people (probably not all actively hunting) managing on average 50,000 acres. Each member receives individual permit stating what can they shoot eg. 5 wild boar, 2 roebuck, etc. The venison is sold to game dealer and money goes to the club and are used to pay for any damage deer/wild boar do to the farmland, as a club is responsible for the damage… The cull plan for the area is set by state owned forestry company and will be adjusted annually according to spring census, deer damage, etc.

Because the whole country is following selective shooting paradigm, a set of rules and guidelines for all male deer species exist and all boiled out heads had to be presented and scored after the season. It also means that a permit states what kind of roebuck can be shot (I (yearlings – only spikers and 4-pointers up to 10cm allowed, 2yo – up to 5-pointer(1cm point))), II (3yo+ all bucks below regular 6-pointer (3cm point) up to certain weight of 300-350gr depending on area), medal class (only strong 6-pointers 6yo+ over certain weight) for roe) and this would be verified later. A hunter can be penalised for shooting wrong animal, so it is vital to age live roebucks accurately. For shooting a young strong 6-pointer one could be banned from shooting for 2 years… So, if you are wondering why I never shot a buck that I would normally take in Scotland, this is because it did not fit the set of rules I have to follow here, or I never got that class of animal on my permit.

Because hunting is also more formalised than in most countries, inviting someone hunting in Poland is not at all straightforward… Over the years I was invited stalking with a few people in the UK and I made a few friends and would love to invite them back on driven hunt or red rut, but unfortunately, all foreign hunters have to deal with hunting agencies, not clubs directly or individual members… This complicates things and adds significant cost… Lets hope it changes at some point in the future…

Miss…

We went to area where my father-in-law saw a good buck couple of times. It was a wet grassland in the middle of the forestry. There was a stream and some water in the middle of it, so it was impossible to cross it in boots or even wellies, but there was better view from one side of the forestry, even though most of the roe usually fed on the other side of the stream. Elevated position gave much better view and wind was better from this side of the field.

We left the car on the side of the forestry track and stalked along the side of the fenced plantation to the edge of the grass field. I could clearly see a doe 2-300m away, but when we got a bit further, there was a buck about 150-180m away from us feeding in a long grass. There was not much point in going closer, as we would have to get down lower to the buck’s level and he was already half covered in grass… So we waited for it to move out a bit. Now, I don’t think it was a good idea, as I waited with the rifle on sticks all this time and got a bit tired. A bit of grass just before the target usually is not a problem for .30-06, but I was a bit lower than the camera (see video below) and was not exactly sure when the buck was ideally boardside. So when the buck eventually came out a bit, I pulled the trigger… and missed…

Hit…

I never saw the bullet strike and the buck never noticed the shot! I am guessing it went above him. I don’t know how it happened, but this things happen 🙄

The buck was still feeding and appeared to be calm, but started moving away from us. I decided to move a bit closer and rest my back on fence and shoot again off sticks, as I find it much more stable with my back resting on something solid. This time I could clearly see the buck, but he was quartering away. I tried concentrate a bit more on the shot this time… 🙄 He was about to disappear between the trees, when he twisted his body a bit more and gave me one more chance to take the shot. The buck was not broadside and still quartering away, but good enough to try the shot. I squeezed the trigger and down he went..

We went back to the car and drove around to get to the buck from the other side of the field. We went down the path on the other side, and there he was. A six pointer, but with quite short tines. From the teeth wear it looked like he was 4 years old, so good to take and as on permit.

The bullet went behind the shoulder and exit wound was low on the neck, which seemed a bit strange as I thought he was more broadside, but not much damage suprisingly. He went to game dealer and weight 16kg.

Video

If you have YouTube account, please subscribe to my channel and click on “thumb up” button if you like the video. It is a bit shaky as my father-in-law filmed it free hand on max zoom.

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