Black Devil: about black roe
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Photo by the author.

Photo by the author.

Almost every European hunter has at least one trophy of roe deer hanging on the wall.

As a hunting agent and professional hunter, I spend most of the year with clients abroad, so my trophy collection is mostly made up of African, Asian and American game species.

But I am always glad when I manage to carve out some May days for roe hunting at home.

Last year, the joy of the upcoming hunt increased many times after the call of Carsten, a longtime friend from northern Germany.

“Erich, are you still thinking about the black devil?” He asked, and I immediately wanted to crawl through the telephone cable in order to embrace him for this question.

“Are you kidding me?” Are we really talking about the male black roe deer in your land?

The land that Carsten rents with two hunting colleagues is one of the few in Germany where you can hunt a black roe. For many years, the black rogol trophy has been at the top of my list of desired trophies, and Karsten, of course, knew about it, but …

Either I was hanging around the world somewhere, or there were no free licenses left, but somehow, and for some reason he never offered me to get the desired trophy.

And this year, he still had two licenses, which I immediately secured for myself and my hunting colleague Bernard.

Unlike Russia, manufacturers of hunting equipment in Europe and the United States have long ago mastered the production of compact portable ambulances for hunting. Photo by the author.

We planned a hunt for the end of May, after my return from Namibia, and decided to fly from Vienna to Hannover by plane, and not spend the whole day on a trip in a car. To save time on the passage of formalities, we agreed that we would use my friend's hunting weapon.

In Hanover, we were met by Robert, one of the co-tenants of the hunting grounds, and within 45 minutes we were at our destination near the town of Steinhuder Meer.

These were hunting grounds of approximately 1000 hectares; A classic rural landscape with windmills reminded of the famous varieties of German sausage, for the production of which raw materials come from this area.

We settled in a beautifully furnished guest house with its own kitchen. After we settled in our rooms, Robert offered to make a study tour of the grounds.

The territory of the farm was well-kept: the fields with grass stand and planting of grain were interspersed with shrubs and woods, which gave the game enough space for shelter. My friends could be proud of their household. Robert offered me a weapon with Bernard and we checked it out.

Both carbines caliber 30-06 were shot at 100 meters. We needed to make only one shot each to understand that we can be confident in the weapon of others.

In the land dominated by the usual red-brown roe deer. Most often we saw females grazing in the fields. It was already dawn when we spotted the first young female of the black roe alongside two normally painted deer.

This color variation is created by mutation of excess black pigment in the body of a deer. Most often, melanism in nature occurs in cats; for example, the panther is a classic example of the black variation form of the jaguar.

The black roe completely lacks a white mirror. Photo by the author.

The black roe deer, of course, is nothing more than a common deer whose black color is recessive due to not fully clarified reasons, with the predominance of red-brown in the rest of the population. It is curious that such a phenomenon occurs only in this area of ​​Germany.

From the point of view of genetics, the black color of an animal means that both parents carry these genes, although they do not have to be black. A normally painted roe can carry this gene in itself, and therefore, like a brown female, a black calf can be born, and a black calf can be born red-brown.

Black roe deers do not change color depending on the season, but in winter, reindeer hair lacks the shine of summer fur. But the absence of a white spot on the back is a more serious and sure sign that it is a black roe deer.

The next day, the alarm clock raised us at four in the morning. This time we will hunt elsewhere, where the owners saw the black roe deer stags on the eve of our arrival.

After the briefing, Robert took me to one tower, standing on the edge of a large field, and Bernard to another, while he returned to his farm, where urgent work awaited him. Very soon, I understood the warning of our German friend about mosquitoes.

Despite the processing of clothing with mosquito repellents, I had to recall the long-lost skills of "melee". Just a couple of minutes later I lost count, killing mosquitoes.

It was turning slowly; there was no movement on the field in front of me. After half an hour of waiting, two hares appeared, and I looked at these brave little animals through binoculars.

From the side of Bernard, too, there was complete silence, and after texting each other on the phone, we decided to call Robert so that he would pick us up and drive us to the base. Returning to our accommodation and having a good breakfast, we went to bed.

500,000 heads of deer are harvested annually in Germany. Author's photo.

Hunting in the afternoon is much better. We sat on the same towers where we languished in the morning, but this time there was more movement in the fields.

Unfortunately, we observed only normally painted roe deer, but time passed quickly, and both of us after returning to the hunting house had enough reasons for lively stories about what they saw.

Just before midnight, we finally turned off the light and allowed ourselves to sleep for four hours.

With German punctuality, Robert knocked on the door at four in the morning. Today we changed the place of hunting. I sat on a low tower, just two meters above the ground; a field stretched in front of me, the far edge of which was slightly lower than where I was sitting, but the height of the tower was enough to see the whole field well.

Directly in front of me lay a small pond, surrounded by left and right reeds and bushes, behind the pond could be seen open areas of the field covered with high grass, on the far edge of which was a small grove.

I saw this beautiful pastoral landscape in detail only after dawn came. At the very border of the forest and fields, two young goats were already grazing.

Towers provide passive safety for residential buildings and the public. Shot from the tower almost always sent to the ground. Photo by the author.

Both were busy eating and did not come off the juicy grass. But suddenly one of them became alert and flew at a gallop into the forest. The other stopped grazing, turned his head to the forest and made a barking sound.

It soon became clear the reason for this behavior. At the edge of the forest there was a real owner of the field, a big black goat, the same black devil I dreamed of. His appearance was incredibly spectacular.

Imagine: right in front of me, where a young male roe deer grazed a moment ago, a black male flew out onto the green scene by jumping, stopped at a distance of a few steps from the border of the field and began peacefully tweaking the grass. My heart was ready to jump out of my chest, and my pulse was felt even through my gloves.

I forced myself not to make careless and quick movements, the main thing – no noise. But there was one problem: what to do first of all – to photograph the black goat, and then shoot, or vice versa?

Thousands of thoughts flashed through my head, but the desire to make a unique snapshot of an unusual goat won because it’s not every day that you get the opportunity to get it in front of the camera lens.

It remained to hope that he would stay on the field long enough for shooting and hunting. With the help of a camera zoom, I magnified the image and saw a young male of medium trophy qualities, but his real value was not in the horns that crowned his head, but in the color of the skin, and this color was just fantastic.

All the poetry of hunting roe from the tower in one frame. Photo by the author.

The black skin without light patches and shades glittered in the sun. The goat seemed to be less than its normally painted fellows, but it was deceptive. It is known that black color is slim.

I took a few pictures, then very carefully replaced the camera with a rifle. The distance to the animal was only 80 meters, and the deer effectively stood in the rays of the morning sun.

The black light was unusually bright, and I enjoyed the moment. The thought came to my mind that the name “black devil” stuck to the surprisingly painted males of roe is unfair, that they have nothing in common with the devil and they are better called black
angels.

Rogac stood side by side with me; after the shot, he immediately "broke" in the lens of the sight.

I felt like after my first shot at the beast, when I received the license of a professional hunter. It seemed that my heartbeat could have caused an earthquake, and my wide smile, thank God, was limited to my ears.

A few minutes later I went to the deer and gave him the last honor. Of course, I gladly told Robert about success, and just a few minutes later he came to me. He, too, was pleased with the successful hunt.

Everything worked out perfectly: a beautiful rural landscape, an amazing black male roe deer, a beautiful yellow-green field background and perfect sunlight. When I was photographing a goat trophy, a message came from Bernard: and he had something to brag about.

The heart of this trophy hunter, what else do you want? Beautiful, successful day of hunting! A pair of trophies of black roe deer will certainly take pride of place in our trophy halls and will remind us of the wonderful hunt from friends in the north of Germany.

Erich Muller
                     July 18, 2019 at 05:52

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