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I've been home a couple days and caught up at work and home and wanted to post a report of my hunt in Transylvania with Marius Merutiu of HuntRomania.  I hunted with Marius a few years back and had a wonderful time in the beautiful and pastoral foothills of the Carpathians.  Romania remains as bucolic as I remembered with shepherds and their dogs guarding flocks, Gypsies and their horse drawn wagons and the ever present hayricks in the fields.  The only thing missing is the river in this "wind in the willows" landscape--or better still-- Grimm's fairy tails. 


It was almost over before it started...


We drove out the first afternoon I arrived to sit for the evening in a high seat overlooking a hillside clearing.  Within 5 minutes a stag appeared on the edge of the field.  I had never seen a stag before and have no idea what a good trophy looks like.  I turned to Marius who said it was a good one.  I clicked off the safety on the borrowed Blaser .300 win mag and put the cross hairs on the stag at about 250 meters--further than I had been practicing at but he just kept walking.  I clicked the safety back on at 270 meters and the stag was out of sight. I remember distinctly thinking as I clicked off the safety--" seriously? I'm going to be done in 5 minutes?"  but I have a rule on guided hunts--Don't Guide the Guide-- if they say shoot, shoot.  


the first 5 minute stag


As we walked out of the woods after dark, the hills came alive with the sounds of roaring stags.  Obviously, we were in the right area!


We were out early the next morning in a misty drizzle.  The first thing I noticed was the new rain jacket I got for the trip was nice and dry--the second thing was how loud the rain sounded hitting off it--wrong choice.....  Then the stags started roaring.  A stag hunt is more "hear and stalk" as opposed to "spot and stalk" and we started moving in the direction of a couple roaring stags.  After a long stalk through briars and brambles like a grouse cover, the game ranger spotted a stag.  As we glassed him I was told he was a younger stag and likely not the one roaring.  Creeping closer we saw a female and heard another roar.  More glassing located antlers in the brush and Marius said "Nice Stag!"  He was following the female and raking bushes and roaring--it was pretty exciting! It took a while to creep into position for a shot but when the time came I dropped him in his tracks at 175 meters.  


A beautiful 7x6 dark horns with ivory tips.  Absolutely spectacular!








As we sat down for lunch later that day we discussed the rest of the hunt.  It had taken me only 4-5 hours to get a terrific stag--as opposed to the 4 days expected.  I then decided to forgo the Fallow deer and move further into Transylvania for several days of wild boar and roe deer hunting. 


We moved to an area near the city of Dej--the same area I hunted --and was enchanted with--the last time.  The hunting was done by sitting in a high seat over game trails and bait stations.  Unfortunately, the fields in the area were all still full of corn and there is a bumper mast crop.  The first evening nothing showed up except a badger and a fox--which was still pretty cool! 


The next evening several came in and I shot a really big boar as he chased some females around and he went down in a heap--poleaxed was what I thought!  He lay there without moving for a full 2 minutes and then Marius saw him start to twitch--"Shoot him again if he gets up Billy" but the boar dragged himself behind some logs before I could get another shot off.  No matter we thought as we enjoyed a sip of "palinka"; he was hit very hard and couldn't have gone far. 


We never found him.... 


10 people arrived to help in the search--nothing.  We returned the next day with dogs ---nothing.  A short good blood trail then nothing.  I felt awful but upon reflection it was a good shot and we did everything we could.  The word has gone out to the local shepherds and there is some hope of at least finding the trophy if not the meat.  Its hunting and it happens.


the boar is around here somewhere










Great looking grouse cover too--if there were grouse there.


Even Paco the Transylvanian Hound couldn't find him for me.



The next boar hunt went better. 


I was able to shoot two in one sitting.  The first Boar was a nice one but the second was 175 kilos (385lbs) an absolute brute--even my inexperienced eye could see he was a very big boar.  I could see his tusks protruding from his lips as he came in.  He dropped at the shot, but I quickly added another for insurance not wanting to loose another big boar.  We needed to call a tractor to come in and drag them to the truck.




Much to my chagrin, Marius told me the one we lost was even bigger than this one...


I was able to participate in a driven hunt with the local club too.  I'd never been on a driven hunt and found it to be safe, exciting and a lot of fun.  I didn't see any boars from my peg/stand but enjoyed seeing the other hunters have success and I saw a couple fox too. 


Aside from Boar we did several stalks for roe deer.  I really enjoy these hunts as they are in the fields and pastures.  We crept along, eating the ever present plumbs (used to make Palinka) from the trees and grapes off the vines as we went and I just enjoyed being in such a beautiful place,













I was able to shoot a roe buck on my last morning.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it since I was not able to hang around to recover due to heading to another city to catch a ride back to Budapest.  The Game Ranger recovered it later that day. 


Then there is the food--an important part of any trip to any destination.  Getting to know the culture through its food and drink.














It was a great week in Transylvania.  I look forward to visiting and hunting there again. 



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Excellent report.  Any silver bullets along for vampires? :)


Wonder if they do any bird hunting there?  I recall seeing a video of woodcock shooting along the Black Sea coast, but I think that may have been Bulgaria rather than Romania.

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11 hours ago, Larry Brown said:

Excellent report.  Any silver bullets along for vampires? :)


Wonder if they do any bird hunting there?  I recall seeing a video of woodcock shooting along the Black Sea coast, but I think that may have been Bulgaria rather than Romania.


I don’t know about woodcock but I saw pheasants in the area and I know there is quail hunting further south. Ducks in the Danube delta too. 


As for vampires—not so much.


There are lots of wolves in the area but they closed the season on them and bears a few years ago. Pressure from the EU I think. The populations of both have grown and have caused problems ever since. 

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Outstanding stuff. Hunting roaring Reds is just fantastic - it's such a primeval noise. Watching a dog the first time they hear it is great too. 


That is a nice pair of pigs - are you pulling the tusks or displaying the jaws with them in? And the Roe - what was the head - did your guide give you an idea of the weight?


I've got a number of Romanian friends, and vampire talk is guaranteed to get them fired up......... "F@#$%^g Bram Stoker never even went to Romania!!!" I can usually calm them down with food and alcohol. Great people, and from a very well storied country.

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Too true!  Stoker wrote Dracula in London. The subject never came up this trip. 


I had the tusks pulled and mounted and they were done in time for me to bring them home. I measured one at 8.5"!  The stag is done too, but will be shipped with the Roe later. I don't understand the European CIC scoring system and didn't get any measurements. The game ranger did weigh the stag at 7.2 kg. 







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Living large, Billy! That is one rockin' chair set of antlers...looks more like a Colo. elk than Euro red stag. Congrats!


-Rob J.

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