Hunting with Hanna

near Scheuereck, Bayern/Bavaria, Germany

I am Roland Korioth, hunter, dog sentry and editor-in-chief of a German magazine reporting on fine shotguns and sporting rifles called Classic Gun.

I am passionate about wild boar and the thrill of hunting them.

Unlike most German hunters, I don’t wait for them for hours in the high seat to come to a feeding place.

I search for them and then stalk them in the wide, open fields of the far northeast of my country.

Germany is wild boar country: Between April 2011 and April 2012 (the German hunting year) 402,480 pigs have been shot countrywide. Most of them (60,847) in Brandenburg, the province I live in.

My daughter Hanna was born in 1997. She was with me out in the forest from the very first days she could walk and talk.

Big Spike, our German longhair pointer, born in 1994, was my first hound and Hanna’s best friend.

If you need any evidence of that, one day the baby was sleeping in her pram in the garden when our neighbour approached to go to our backdoor for a chat.

Spike was lying in his kennel, the door open as always. He was good friends with everybody except cats. But this time his instincts told him to protect the child and he charged our neighbour.

She took off and got bitten in the leg – just a little bit. Very sorry, I apologised with a huge bunch of flowers and luckily we stayed friends.

The dog and I trained together to become a real team. Our passion for wild boar was our motivation to learn how to follow up a wounded animal on the track.

Year by year, Spike became more and more passionate about boar. In the end he was able to hold a 50kg pig, waiting for my arrival and the final shot from a rifle.

Team mates: Roland and Spike's long working relationship has led to success

Team mates: Roland and Spike’s long working relationship has led to success

One day in late winter, a friend of mine invited me to his private forest. He wanted me to shoot a wild boar under the old oaks where they had been really busy the past week.

It was friendly weather, a warm day in the middle of March, and so I decided to take my dog and daughter with me.

We went to an old high seat in the middle of those mighty, magic oaks that had witnessed several centuries. Climbing the stand, we waited till dusk without seeing anything.

When I was about to tell Hanna that we were going to leave very soon, I heard them coming. The dry leaves were singing the song we had been eager to hear all evening.

It was almost dark but I noticed the dog, stood at the bottom of the high seat ladder, raise his head. I followed his view and could also see them: three überläufer getting closer and closer.

I grabbed my old Mauser, finally able to get a boar in the scope and take a shot – not without telling Hanna to put her fingers in her ears first.

After the bang, the wounded pig didn’t go down but disappeared very slowly. I jumped down the ladder and took the German pointer off its lead.

Spike accelerated like a Porsche, caught up with the überläufer and then body checked it with great power.

The wild boar rolled over with the dog biting its neck. Just in time, I caught up with the brawl, called my hound and shot the boar.

Suddenly, there was silence throughout the forest.

Spike and I were breathing heavily and were almost on our way back to the old rusty Range Rover when we heard a thin voice: “Daddy?”

In all the excitement, I forgot about by daughter on the high seat – completely.

Imagine, the hunter returning home with his hound, telling his wife proudly about the prey in the boot but having left the child in the woods. Divorce guaranteed.

All that happened in 2003. Two years later, Hanna and I were together in Namibia. I didn’t take her with me in the bush but she saw me arriving back with an oryx on the truck.

Six years later, the girl was sitting next to me on a high seat in northern Alberta for more than six hours – we were waiting for the first black bears to awaken from the Canadian winter.

05 Hanna_Scotland3

Proud parent: Hanna is following in her father’s footsteps

Three years after that, Hanna and I were stalking together in Ardnamurchan in the Scottish highlands. Our guide Niall led us close to two stags that were standing apart from all the turbulence of the rut.

One of them was the old lad he was searching for. That royal wasn’t interested in hinds anymore; the senior was taking care of the green grass to save his body mass for the coming winter.

His companion was a fabulous 20-pointer, following grandpa the whole day and night.

Niall, Hanna and myself managed to crawl as close as 60 yards to the pair of stags. This time the shot came from a new Mauser M03. It threw the 14-pointer in the heath.

My daughter took the picture and was as proud as me. On our long way back to the Land Rover, she told me that she had sent off her application for the hunting school before we left for Scotland.

In Germany we have to pass an exam to get a hunting licence. Little Hanna had decided to become a real hunter at the age of sweet-16.

Roland Korioth

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