Peace for Paris-Logo


A driving hunt


It happened like many other things before during one of these Friday meetings in the Traktor-Club when my friend Werner extended an invitation to us for a drive hunt in the acreage of the Baron Freiherr von Lerchenfeld.

Oh, nice I thought and I saw myself already sitting in an airconditioned high seat, nipping once in a while a bit of Champaign and give here and there a nice chest hit to a deer which comes running along in its struggle for survival.

But as usual: Reality is different and many time even more cruel than imagination!
We were invited as beaters and that has absolutely nothing to do with sipping ChampaignSmiley.

I am still uncertain wether a hunt is good for the nature or just good for the hunters and their pleasure. But nothing is better for a fair judgement than attending the hunt. And so off we went to a drive hunt.

Manor Heinersreuth
Manor Heinersreuth *
The von Lerchenfelds belong to the bavarian ancient nobility and Baron Ludwig Freiherr von Lerchenfeld occupies the mansion Heinersreuth near Presseck, about 15 km from my home place.
fore more information about the von Lerchenfelds please click the pic to the left (unfortunately in German).

Here at this beautiful castle we met early, early in the morning of the 17th November 2012 at about 7:30 to get the hunt organised.
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Castle Wildenstein
early in the morning
It was cold, about -1°C and awfully foggy, not really my favorite climate. But the Baron was happy because the wild boars would run well in this weather. Well then!
The Baron held a welcome speech which included also some important behavior rules for everybody, especially though for the hunters. It was clearly defined which animals to aim for and how or when a shot was allowed at all. (Roebucks were forbidden because because it is their closed season from 16th October til 15th of May).

We all got divided into groups by the forest ranger, each group consisting of at least one hunter (the man with the rifle) a dog man and some drivers. The group leaders got final instructions and some maps of the area to walk through.
The entire hunting was closed off for the not hunting people for their own protection.

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"Hunting to start" in
the yard of the castle
After completion of the the organsisation part i got equipped with a wodden stick. Later during the drive I had to beat bushes and other hiding places to get the animals to leave their hideaway. To make the joy complete everybody recieved a small bag with some food for to go. The end of the formal part and the begin of the drive hunt was announced by blowing the signal "Hunt begins" by some of the huntsmen. Now we went by car to the starting point.

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In the hunting ground

While we were waiting for the group to complete I had the tough choice wether to take just the camera and a short lense or to take the full equipment with me. At this point I still had the imagination I could take some shots (with the cam) on the way. Finally the decision was made. I took only the camera and a short lense with me.
I think I heared our group leader saying something like: "You will regret this". But believing in my own physical condition I pretended to overhear it. Anyway I stood there in a mist of wrong imaginations. I was there nicely dressed with my only Sunday trousers, a nice warm fleece jacket and a down jacket. I honestly tought we would walk just flat fields and forest tracks.
The dogs which came along with the dog men were trembling like mad. I had to get informed that the dogs were shivering not because of the cold but in anticipation of the upcoming hunt. Click to enlarge
Hunt begins

And now the show went on. Our group consisted from 7 people and 6 dogs. First we went across flat fields and then suddenly to left into the wood. In a distance of about 40 meters, all nicely lined up, we had to walk along the given direction. But when walking as a hunting driver one can't draw aside when some tight bushes or something similar comes across. Nooo, you have to go straight through this mini jungle, because this is where the wild animals hide.
At this point I doubted wether my Sunday trousers were the correct clothing for this event.
Ok, so into the brush, no matter what! And while I was fighting myself through the thicket I asked myself wether I would ever get out of this wood again in case I loose the contact to my fellow drivers. For sure I wouldn't get out here by myself because my sense for orientation isn't what it ought to be. And the franconian woods are just endless in dimensions.
I had to move on much faster, because I realized that the other fellows were already quite in front of me. I had to speed up. But it's a matter of fact that the franconian woods have some nice steep hill to show and here and there there is a nice big hole in the ground. Ofcourse the only detour was to climb an extra 30 Meters, just to make it not too easy. So I ran uphill like mad and tried to get in line again with the other folks. My sweat was dripping onto my camera. No way to even think about a picture shot. Click to enlarge
The target
I started to hate this bloody camera. This piece of iron was already totally wet and full of fir needles. But the Nikon with its magnesium casing can stand a raw environment like this, nothing to worry about here.
By the way: The wild boars in the pic to the right have been taken in the park of the Barons castle Heinersreuth and not at all in the woods.
When I managed to get lined up again with the rest of the crew I was completely breathless and ready to panic. A t-shirt would have been by far the better dress for this event than fleece jacket und dawn jacket. I was completely wet under the clothes. And the request for a cigarette break was denied by the group leader with reference to the tight schedule. Ahhhhhh. And so we rushed for about 3 hours uphill and downhill, crossing little creeks without a bridge and fighting with the thicket. Once in a while we saw a deer, but always from far and from behind. And shooting an animal from behind is strictly forbidden. Just once the hunter of our group was lucky and catched a deer. We did not even see a single wild boar during the entire hunting session. Not to mention that I did not take a single image while we were in the woods.

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Dogs and equipment
of a dog man
We had about 6 dogs with us on this tour. They ran around like mad all over the place. I am just glad that I wasn't a hunter here. I probably would have shot all these poor dogs down in my exitement, because I confounded these dogs with a deer. And that would probably not help to improve the up to here very good relationship with the dogs men. The dogs duty was ofcourse to find the animals and to hunt them down. In the unlikely case of a bad hunters shot they also had to follow these injured animals, that a hunter or a dog man could finally kill the animal.

Just before high noon we all met again at the ski lift. This ski lift is also one of the many business activities of the Baron. From here we moved back to the cars. Ofcourse we had to go uphill and not downhill. That would have been too easy at the end.
Back in the Heinersreuth castle the Baron had arranged for a really nice lunchbreak with all kinds of delicious things. Here could everybody recover and get some power back for the next round after lunch. I just took a cup of coffee because my desicion was taken. I would not attend the second hunt anymore. Because the lunchbreak happened und free sky I slowly got very cold. So I jumped into my lovey Smart and went home to get into some dry clothes.
Ba, this little Rambo, stayed there and enjoyed also the second halfe of the hunt. At about 16:00 I went back to the castle to see what happens at the end of a drive hunt.
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Disembowelled animals
Normally and especially in the warmer seasons the body of an animal will be disembowelled in situ, but the Baron has given the order that all dead animal bodies will be disembowelled in the castle by a specialist.
By the way: there is an unwritten law in Germany among hunters: The one who cuts the body gets lounge, heart, kidneys and liver as his property. Click to enlarge
Preparation of the loot

All the disembowelled bodies will then be layed down, always laying on the right side, on a ground prepared with fir branches. People come and have last look at these animals and pay their last respect to them.

On the image to the left (Preparation of the loot) one can see the minister house in the background. This building is one of the rare examples of neo classical castle architecture in Franconia. This impressive building was errected by Georg Moller in the year 1827. There are no Ministers living in this house, but the Baron himself. He is already a member of the bavarian council, the Baron. Who knows, one day he might becomes a minister? Smiley?
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The loot

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At the end of this hunting event all participating people came together at the loot ground to pay their last respect. The horn blower group played "Hunt is finished" and after that "Halali".
The Baron held his good bye speech and gave a sign of honor to each hunter who shot something down. This sign of honor was a simple small fir branch for each piece of loot. This fir branch was carried at the hunters hat for the rest of the day.

As a triumphant finale the Baron invited the whole gang (more than 80 people) to the village pup for diner and drinks. During this palaver ofcourse I had to "withstand" all the usual blasphemy about my lovely Smart car (this happens nearly everywhere, because people are not really used to good and clever cars). A lot of hunting stories came across the table, some I believed and some I didn't. We sat there for about 2 hours and had a really good time.

At the end of the day there is nothing left than saying Thank you to the Baron for an interesting and funny day. Ofcourse this Thank you is also for my friend Werner, who submitted the invitation to us.!!
If destiny hasn't got other plans, we will be there again at the 2nd November 2013, but this time a lot better preparedSmiley.

Oh, by the way: Ba, the little Rambo, just about managed at home to switch the TV on, she couln't choose a program anymore. She was already sleepingSmiley.

* grabbed at Wikipedia

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