For its second meeting in 2017, the Leica Hunting Experience recruited no less than 45 young hunters. The majority came from France, but Germany, and for the first time Denmark and Spain were also represented! It was a milestone event that distinguished itself not only through the diversity of nationalities and participant numbers, but also through the success of the hunt. The harvest was recorded as the highest since the launch of the Leica Hunting Experience. But let’s start at the beginning:
The novices began the event at the Hunter’s Federation’s range close to Strasbourg. This training was mandatory, and allowed us to gauge their aptitudes at 100 metres at a stationary target, and thanks to shooting cinema, also at a moving target. This gave everyone the opportunity to experience a virtually realistic situation.
During dinner, the shooting and safety rules were repeated for all to hear, before moving on to the main event the next morning. As typical for this time of the year, two days of driven hunting awaited the young nimrods! And what a hunt it was! As typical for this time of the year, two days of driven hunting awaited the young nimrods! And what a hunt it was!
Once in position, the dogs hit the steep Vosges slopes and the silence was quickly replaced with barking, saluted by the first shots fired. The rhythm in which the detonations were strung out in was regular, letting us predict shots taken. The beaters were put through the mill, but after two hours-worth of drives, spirits were given the chance to soar, after finding the first fallen game. Two of the boars were even well equipped with tusks.
It was time for certain participants to learn how to field dress their game according to the rules of the sport, aided by expert representatives from all the brands associated with the Leica Hunting Experience: Merkel, RWS, 4 Stable Stick and SportDOG.
The afternoon was devoted to a drive, of which the results were similar to that morning’s, with roe deer and a few wild boar enriching the morning’s numbers. Returning to the warmth, conversations went strong, regardless of nationality. This is an essential element of the Leica Hunting Experience: to bring people closer together and to unite European hunting!
After the debriefing of the first day, everyone had the chance to familiarise themselves with the material made available by the operation’s partners, before profiting from a night of well-earned sleep.
Saturday morning, rows of hunters were strung out across the territory’s height of land. The day would be tough on the legs, with placements sometimes requiring nearly 30 minutes of marching at a sustained pace… in absolute silence. Even before the start of the drive, shots resounded through the pinewood. This time the projectiles were less effective than the preceding day. The second drive was saluted by a brilliant sun that was favourable for the awakening of the young hunters and their rifles. The human wall covered many hundred hectares and the beaters were divided in such a way as to “attack” from multiple sides. It was a judicious choice, demonstrated by the number of shots fired and animals taken. After the drive, the recovery of the game generated a ton of sweat. Under a star -studded sky, the 52 participants stood around a fire to render a last homage to the game that had offered them this much joy. Not only the game was honoured however, each young hunter having harvested their first Vosges game was baptised in due form. Too bad for those that had shot a triple!
Translation by Savanna Koebisch
Photos by Ulf Stossun
The next meeting is the 4th, 5th, and 6th of January, 2018. If your hunting license is less than 7 years old, you’re eligible to take part.
This is what Christoffer Sølvberg Mikkelsen from Denmark had to say about the Leica Hunting Experience
“The leader of the hunt, Philippe, a French guy with a lot of character, welcomed and introduced everyone. He wanted us to understand that security and precision was a higher priority than killing. With that in mind, we got placed in several sweet spots in the beautiful French mountains and I was lucky to get my first two boars ever and one roe deer. A great experience!”