Blattzeit on the Plains of Hungary: A good Roe deer call is a must have

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By Robert (Doc) Mann

It was 0400 am, I had just woke up from a short night’s sleep and was getting ready to go out on a morning hunt at 0430 am. After a cup of coffee, I geared up (Rifle Blaser 93, Cal. 6.5X 55 Swiss, with Leupold VX-3 scope, bino’s and laser range finder) and met my guide/driver combination team to hit the fields and meadows of the Hungarian plains.

The Blattzeit (Roe deer rut) was in full swing! Young bocks were checking scratches, whishing/barking all over the place. It was my last morning hunting. In the four days preceding, I had harvested four Roe Bocks including a Conseil International de la Chasse et de la Conservation du Gibier (CIC) Bronze medal trophy.

My guide asked what I wanted to do that morning, ride with spot and stalk or just hit the ground and see what we could shake up as we walked the fields and through the wooded areas. The night before, we had seen a capital Roe Bock at dusk. I wanted to see if he would be out that morning.

We drove about 700 meters from the location that we had seen him the previous night and dismounted. As luck would have it, he was lying in the field and saw us walked along the edge of a cornfield. He stood up and before I could get my weapon up, he bolted into the woods. Oh well, that’s why he has lived so long! We got back into the vehicle and headed for a cornfield in the distance. After about 500meters, the guide and I both saw movement in front of the cornfield. It was 600 meters away and we could not exactly determine the gender.

The driver slowed the vehicle so that the guide could get a closer look. He told me that it was a small bock, but since he was looking and walking in our direction, he was not sure.

We stopped the vehicle and he pulled out his “Devana” Roe deer calls and Geiss (female Roe deer) in heat call. No reaction. The Bock changed direction and started to walk away. We drove forward just enough to catch the wind and the guide hit the call again. The bock, now at 400 meters, stopped and started to look around. He hit the call a third time and the bock started to trot toward the cornfield near us.

One more hit on the call, the bock hit a full trot b-lining toward our location. At about 100 meters, he stopped to check out our vehicle. It was too late, wham! The 6.5X55 Swiss found its mark. As we moved to recover the bock, the antlers got bigger with every step. This was a seven year bock with a very representative set of trophies.

Figure 1 “Photo” Robert Mann and his Roe deer, taken thanks to the call.

I told my guide I was happy, but he wanted me to have a larger trophy. We drove to another set of woods and started to stalk through the edges of a couple of bedding areas.

We jumped a couple of young two and three year old bocks but nothing that I was willing to shoot. Then the driver said to the guide “let’s go see if we can get “Old Hook” to answer a hot Geiss call.

We remounted the vehicle and drove about 20 minutes to a wooded area alongside a set of railroad tracks and a large dike. The driver very skillfully rolled the vehicle into the woods. We were slowly rolling until we came to an opening in the middle on the area.

We sat on the edge of the opening, with the vehicle under a tree for about 15 minutes. Then my guide pulled out his “Devana Roe Calls “again. He told me to be ready; “Old Hook” would come out fast. If he doesn’t see a Geiss, he would quickly disappear in the woods (Old Hook was a 9 year old Roe bock. Two hunters, in previous weeks, tried to take him but had no luck).

My guide made two “hot” Geiss calls, paused about 15 seconds and hit it again. Immediately following the second set of calls, to my right jumped a Roe bock out into the opening.

He looked and turned to go back into cover. I turned to my right (a perfect swing for a left-handed hunter) and fired (point and shoot method, no time to put the crosshairs on him), catching him behind the left shoulder at 15 meters.

We were not sure at first that it was “Old Hook”, it all happen so fast. He ran into the woods after the shot. There was little blood, but I was sure I had hit him hard. We began the search and within about 20 meters we found him in the heavy brush. We pulled him out of the woods. It was “Old Hook”, a super and unique six point trophy with 25 cm curved main beams on each side with rear tines of 5 and 6 cm.

Figure 2 “Photo” Robert Mann and “Old Hook”, a beautiful Roe bock.

Figure 3 “Photo” Robert Mann and his two trophy Roe deer taken that day.

My Guide and driver were excited and I could have not been more proud. What a great and very special trophy to end up an exceptional week of hunting in the Hungarian plains.


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