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My First Experience of Drive Wild Boar Hunting

I wanted to write this up as a story because I enjoyed my first boar trip so very much. My parents own a farm and my father owned a shotgun, yet I have never got into shooting. I had heard about a new gun shop close to my home in Taunton, in Dunkeswell Devon. Called Blackdown Hunting and Game. It is run by Mike Coster and Paul Akins. My first impression when I visited the shop and met Mike, was not so much the quantity of guns but the variety and choice. Mike told me that I would need to obtain a shotgun certificate before I could purchase a gun and could down load an application form of the internet. He said I would also need to get some third party insurance as any responsible shooter. Mike suggested I join the local Four Seasons Clay Club and might also consider joining the Taunton Dean Shooting Association for some rifle and black powder pistol shooting.

After getting my shotgun certificate I returned to BHG and purchased my first gun from Mike. To be honest I was really pleased with his help as he explained so much in relation to gun fit, eye dominance and choke. I had been shooting at the Four Seasons clay club for some time and called into the shop and meet Mike’s partner Paul who is the gunsmith and an APSI shooting instructor. We got chatting and he said that his real passion, apart from muzzle loaders is Driven Wild Boar Hunting. He has been going to the same place in Lithuania since 2007 and he and Mike organised two trips each year that are exclusive to them and would I would like to go. I had not ever done anything like that before and explained to Paul that I had no experience of it.

To my surprise Paul said if I really wanted to go, as he had been many times before he would stand with me for the whole trip as my mentor and not shoot himself. After a few weeks I said I would go, if he could be with me. He explained that I would need a European Firearms Pass, which is free of charge from the Firearms Department. However, I only had a shotgun certificate so I could not use a rifle. My own shot gun has choke in it and therefore I could not use a rifled slug.

When we arrived in Lithuania The chief hunter Vladus asked to see my European Firearms Pass and gave me a Drilling in 30-06 12gauge made by Zoli. To keep things legal and simple, Paul suggested we only use the shotgun barrels and all I had to do was load the two 12 gauge barrels and push off the safety catch as I would with my own shotgun. The Drilling was fitted with a variable scope set at 1.5 magnification with a 50mm objective lens. The small magnification and large objective lens made it easy to use.

After about half an hour we heard the hounds chasing something. Was it Elk, Deer or Boar? We then herd a load yelp and silence. Paul, who was standing just below me, touched my leg and put his finger to his lips and whispered softly, “I herd branch break, I think there is something 20 to 30 yard to our left”. Twenty minutes later a very large male boar crashed out of the forest. Paul shouted ”shoot” and I did with both barrels. I missed and could see Paul was disappointed. He said it was a very good boar but nothing is guaranteed you still have to shoot it. Despite his philosophical attitude we both new it was a real chance missed. I knew why, it was the same as my clay shooting, I stopped my swing. Paul was trying to be supportive and said that I must put it behind me and try to focus on what I needed to do. I later found out that it was a very large male, approximately 250 kg medal class boar and it had injured two hounds.

On the third drive I had another chance to shoot at two more boar of about 80kg. Paul was telling me to let them get closer and when they turned right, they would give me a side on shot, to fire. I did and when I pulled the trigger it just made a click. I had moved the selector and fired the empty 30-06 rifle. Paul quickly changed the selector and said the boar would come through to our right as they broke out into the forest track, I fired two shots and missed again. I am sure Paul was feeling very down but he just said do not worry, you do not get practice and experience from a book, you have to do it. Well, the day was now over and the conditions were hard but there were two more days to go. It was day two and Paul made up a mound of snow about the size of a small boar before the drive started, he got me to mount and swinging the rifle through the imaginary bore and saying bang as I passed its nose. I kept wanting to stop as I got to the nose as I did not was to shoot in front. It is quite a large target and you want to shoot in the middle at the biggest area. After doing it several times left to right and right to left I was getting the idea.

Later we went into a high seat which was about 20 feet in the air. We had to climb a ladder open the door and go inside. There was a plank seat and large openings to shoot through. After a while Paul spotted a deer and was videoing it when I saw two large boar coming out of the forest. I just said boar, mounted my rifle. I remembered what Paul had been saying and missed with both barrels. Paul said he was sorry as it was a long way for a running shot with a solid slug. Never mind it is all practice. As the beaters came through one of them must have seen the boar and heard the shots. He shouted to his friend “apraleidau jį”, Paul said he thought he asked, “Did he miss it!” Well, I thought I had but it was a question, not statement. Paul heard the reply of blood, there was blood! Paul said unload and he went down to meet the beaters.

I saw a beater put his thumb up to Paul. I saw Paul walk towards the dense cover, run back and said, “Quickly come and look at this boar”. When I got there I saw a large dark shape laid in the snow 60 yards further on. It was a good boar of about 160 Kilo. Paul looked really pleased and was smiling from ear to ear. I am not sure who was more pleased, Paul or myself, he said. “Do you realise, you have shot a running boar at 100 yards plus, with a solid slug and the bullet placement is perfect!” The shot was halfway down the body and just behind the front leg. I do not think I will forget my trip, the company and support of the Lithuanian people and the other hunters and the memories to recall. My sincere thanks to Paul and Mike for all the support they gave me. I would suggest that if anyone wants to go on a really genuine Drive wild Boar Hunting Trip they contact  Blackdown Hunting and Game. Mike and Paul are real hunters and sportsmen, brilliant experience, now I have had experience I want to go again. If anyone would like to go I would recommend it.                                                                                                                         The Telephone number for Paul is: 01458 273520 Mike on 01404 891867.