At last, the moment that everyone has been waiting for: the tale of a night of boar hunting.
I shot a ro-deer. Mine is the closest. The smaller. They’re both pretty small. So, how did this little adventure come about. I met Arnaud and Jerry through my host, Olivier, who, as always, has a hundred friends and has dinner parties almost every night with like mind folk… it’s the French in him. He does this for everyone; he’s famous for it. In fact I’m staying with Arnaud, Olivier’s roommate, while Olivier goes to Scandinavia for a vacation. Arnaud is French and Jerry is British. Arnaud and Jerry are hunting fiends, similar to you David. They hunt during the week, they hunt in France, they hunt in Britain, they go to Africa, wherever. they have magazines and guns and all the stuff.
When Arnaud asked if I wanted to go boar hunting, how could I refuse? Plans were canceled. Everyone understood. Everyone said, “How could you not.” Rusu, who was picking me up at 6:30am said, “Please, don’t go, it is very dangerous and many people are killed.” And below is a photo of my guide zeroing in the sights of the guns… not on the man standing further down, luckily, but on a distant target.
So. How could I hunt without a license? I thought I would just go and tag along, drink beer and eat cheese and Salami. When we got there, there were three guides. These guides work for the State. The land that we hunt on is owned by the State. It’s very well developed for hunting everything from duck, quail, pheasant, boar, and ro-deer, as well as some fox, with blinds and stands and pens from which the pheasant can be released. People hunt the big game in the mountains: bear and the Stag, Chamois and wolf.
The way it works here is you go with a guide. I sat with Murgurel and he advised me on what to hit. In the stand, we watched as a “trophy” ro-deer wandered through the field (buck size of 250mm or 10″… that would be a silver medal here… they give gold and silver to the trophy kills). That was when my guide said, “We let this one go. He’s a breeder. You need a selection deer.”
I’ll take this moment to explain that the game keepers keep an eye on the field by categorizing the deer as a “selection” or a “trophy”. In the photo below you’ll see Arnaud holding one selection and one trophy. Arnaud’s selection in this case is such because it has one horn. It’s the weak. The trophy is a silver medal because it’s horns are 220mm (9″).
At Jerry’s house, not far from the hunting grounds, in a place where he can hunt birds after a short walk, he has a number of trophies on the wall. His wife has shot a ro-deer in fact. One thing you’ve likely already noticed is that Arnaud and Jerry keep their trophies different;y than Americans do. They don’t use taxidermy, they game-keepers simply clean the skulls and tag them as “Selection” or “Trophy”.
One question some of you will have is, “Is that all Romania has as far as deer go?” You might say, “Those Ro-deer sure are dinky.” And I must agree. But in answer to the first question, no, Romania has huge deer that are said to dwarf the large deer of Northern Scotland. Jerry and Arnaud filled me in on all this over beer and salami before we got started. Jerry had a story about a friend who went with a guide into the Carpathians, tracking, stalking, a buck. They found him and the guide said it go into the record books. The hunter asked how much and the guide said, “Shoot him,” because the man was evidently very rich and the guide wanted the buck shot. “How much?” “12,000Euro, maybe more. It’s huge!”
The man missed and the guide refused to hunt with the man or any of the man’s friends ever again.
We let the first ro-deer pass because it was a silver trophy and would have cost 700euro. How do they price them you may wonder? By Kilogram and the size of the displacement of water to the size of the trophy. The trophy that Arnaud is holding above was displaced in water and given a silver medal. He was charged accordingly.
Towards dusk we saw 2 deer. One was a fawn and the other a doe. We wouldn’t shoot them. Then came my selection. I didn’t ask, but was relieved when I was later handed the bill of 260euro… the evening cost me about $400, excluding 30 tall beers and salami. That included the guide and the deer and tipping the man who clean the deer. It also included my initiation into the Romanian Hunting society, an initiation I wasn’t prepared for.
My guide was the ring leader and a bit wild. He stuck leaves in my hat just afterwards. They were supposed to have blood on them, but my deer hardly bled. I shot him from 60meters (65yards). And then I was told to get on all fours and look into the deer’s eyes. Arnaud was taking photos at this point (I don’t have his yet… these photos are from my guide), and this is what I thought Mugurel wanted. Well, little did I know, and thankfully I didn’t know, that I was about to be WHIPPED with a large branch.
I sware Arnaud better have these photos!
I wasn’t expecting it. Mugurel said, “That is so that you feel the pain of this animal that you have killed.” OK, I feel it… in fact I feel more pain than this animal that is dead. Right after the first blow I thought it would be a good idea to get up and step out of the spotlight. NOPE. “There will be 2 more!”
Mugurel said, “Promise you will never poach.” “I promise!” SMACK!
I felt more pain on that one. The first was still such a surprise that I couldn’t believe the pain. And the third, I knew, would be the worst. But I had no idea to what extent!
Murgurel said, “Promise that you will obey the ethics of Selection!” “Could you explain that a little?” No, I didn’t question the man with the stick (the large stick!). I said, “Yes.” And Murgurel gave such a whack that I saw Jerry and Arnaud reeling with laughter and wincing with sympathy. Maybe it was the other way around. I think everyone enjoyed it. It made me say, “That felt great!”
I failed to mention that the stick actually broke over my ass on the final hit. Then Murgurel carved into it the weight, the date, his name and my name. I came away with quite a few suvenirs. I didn’t come away with the meat. That will go to Jerry I think. He might also end up with my trophy.
Hunting this way seems to be more expensive than the way we do it in America… It eliminates the cost benefits of having deer meat in the fridge.