The general consensus among friends prior to departing for Prague was that travelling to the Czech Republic was downright crazy. It seems people have a hard time separating countries in this part of the world, with the upset in Ukraine the impression is that the entire region is ready to erupt into war at any second. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I found the Czech people to be very friendly and was surprised by the number that speak fluent English. From the time my host Jan Urban of Shooting Enterprise picked me up until my departure I felt quite welcome and safe. These type of stereotypes certainly prevent many from seeing some of the most beautiful places. When I was searching for a Mouflon sheep hunt I naturally researched where the biggest in the world were found, the Czech Republic was unquestionably the right place. While not opposed to high fence, my preference has always been free range. A high fence hunt could certainly not feel like one and a very large parcel was required. After speaking to Jan, I decided to hunt with him on the 17,000 Czech presidential estate located just outside of Prague. I would like to say I never saw a high fence but that would be a lie, I saw many, surrounding single trees and small groves of young trees to protect them from the wildlife, primarily Wild Boar. The estate is managed for all resources and unlike our “cut em all down” clear cutting practices, Europeans choose a far more practical management strategy and what we would consider a small opening is quite large on the estate, laying with my bipod I could shoot the long way across any of the openings I saw with ease. The accommodations were quite comfortable, an older house renovated into a hunting lodge. The beds were small but comfortable and the hardwood theme quite beautiful. Zdenka, the cook, prepares wild game for each of the huge European style meals. I have never had venison so tender or tasty as I did here. The hunting and game is similar to hunting the agricultural areas of Alberta with the exception of the much smaller openings of course. I found that the game acted very much like our own animals, Mouflon like whitetails, Fallow does like muley does and the rutted up Stags like rutted up moose lol. Sika screamed like Elk with a muley mentality. My first day started off with a bang, the long wait to hunt Mouflon and the anticipation of many long hours searching for the right ram came to an abrupt halt after just 1 ½ hours of hunting. Jan stopped by bright and early accompanied by Lubash, my guide. Lubash does not speak a word of English, only German and some Czech, so Jan would be accompanying us as interpreter. I put on Jans jacket and boots since my bags had not arrived yet and we hopped in Lubash’ truck and headed to our drop off point in the rolling hills along a beautiful valley with a reservoir snaking through it. We would hike from there, up the hill around a long loop back to the truck. We encountered a small band of sheep along the way, the first Mouflon I had seen in the wild, skittish creatures that spotted us nearly as quickly as we spotted them and just as quickly vanished back into the forest, this would be repeated by most of the Mouflon we encountered. Lubash motioned that there had been no shooters anyway so we continued slipping along the moist leaf covered forest floor. The first thing you will notice about the forest there is the lack of underbrush, low growing vegetation is kept well trimmed by the Boars. It was past morning prime time, although they do not view mornings as “prime” there anyway. We loaded back up in the truck and headed to another spot where the Fallow were known to Rut. As we approached the first opening several fallow could heard groaning on both sides of us. A lone Sika stag was seen in the open necessitating an absolutely stealthy approach. A herd Stag was tending his does to the left and a lone challenger moved steadily towards us from the right. As luck would have it neither was a shooter this early in the hunt so we moved on drawn by the guttural bellows coming from the woods where the meadow subsides into a draw. Shortly after entering the timber a fallow, betrayed by his incessant croaking, was located and our language barrier prevented the quick communication necessary to confirm that this was a shooter. He slipped back into the forest. No matter there were many more al eagerly announcing their positions to us so we resumed our stalk. Mere yards after we had muffed on the fallow Lubash stopped, holding up his hand as a don’t move signal. A lone Mouflon was bedded right in front of us and facing away! Lubash motioned to move up and I did. The bedded ram was obviously a nice one but from behind and in the shadows I could not see the tips well enough to make a decision but Lubash said he was a good one. Lubash motioned Jan forward and whispered his instructions which Jan relayed to me. He was a good ram. Labash would grunt like a Fallow and when the ram stood I could decide if I wanted to take him, I nodded and rested my rifle on the sticks aimed at the ram less than 40 yards away (I longed for my bow lol). At the sound of the bellow the ram leapt up and faced us, now his well curled horns with tips angling out were easily visible and the rams beauty was breathtaking, in that moment I knew this was my ram and at the shot he was mine. A little in disbelief that my hunt had ended so soon I was racked between elation and thoughts that maybe Mouflon weren’t such a tough hunt after all, the sheep would prove worthy adversaries time and again on my fallow hunt, much to my chagrin. Luck had indeed been with me that morning, although we saw a couple rams that would outscore mine, including a 220 CIC monster, there were none that matched its beauty. That evening with Mouflon in the bag we set out after Fallow. The Fallow roar is truly something that must be experienced to be appreciated. Nearly everywhere you go a stag can be heard somewhere in the distance and when you approach a lek, you know it! Fallow are by far the most vocal animal I have hunted, literally roaring almost constantly they put on quite a show. A large lek literally sounds like a pond full of bullfrogs! Over the next few days we watched so much amazing rutting activity, truly an experience I will never forget, we had stags fighting, chasing does, roaring, rubbing, wallowing you name it we witnessed it, absolutely amazing. The quality of the stags is excellent too, it is not a matter of finding a mature stag at this time of year it is a matter of finding exactly the right one since there are so many mature stags actively seeking does out all day long. My stag appeared suddenly as we were slipping along a tiny opening interspersed with young trees. He was proceeded by the stag that he was chasing out of the country and only paused for a second but it was long enough to know that he was the one. He departed as quickly as he appeared and Lubash had us wait just a few minutes before pursuing to make sure the stag didn’t know he was being followed. We took pursuit and after a distance he was spotted moving through the open woods toward a small opening. We shifted left to cut him off and when he appeared he was just a hundred yards ahead. I got on the sticks quickly as the unaware animal moved steadily away, Lubash roared at him and he stopped looking over his back at us for long seconds. Lubash roared again and the stag turned broadside. The rifle went off on cue, the crosshairs were dead steady but something seemed wrong. I picked a small opening and as the stag ran through it aimed into the grass at his invisible body and fired a second shot, the stag disappeared. I did not know if he had went down or simply moved the half step to get behind a large tree and out of sight. The sight of the Fallow as we approached in the chest high grass was quite welcome, the discovery that my first shot was somehow a complete miss, however, was not. I never would have fired the second risky shot had I known but luck was once again on my side as my poor running shot had struck him in the hip and the bullet had deflected straight to his heart! Sometimes it is better to be lucky that good I guess lol. My fallow would turn out to be the oldest of the season so far at an estimated 15yrs old! I still had some time booked to hunt and not wanting to waste it the decision was made to try for one of the fine Sika the estate holds. Sika are not native to Europe, they were introduced several hundred years ago and do quite well there. Although numbers are not high trophy quality is and the few Sika that we had seen had been quite large and the beauty of these stocky animals with their long dark mane is quite stunning. As luck would have it we bumped into a large stag right at last light, he was part of a group containing does and a couple smaller stags. Lubash judged him and said through Jan “you MUST shoot this one”. As luck would have it tough the last whisps of light faded without him offering a clear shot at the extremely heavy horned brute. I asked Lubash “what are the chances of him being back here in the morning?” 10% he said, we will probably never see him again, but we would try. As predicted the mornings hunt did not reveal the big Sika, or any Sika at all for that matter but we would try again in the evening. My 10% was looking more like 5% now but there were other big stags there, we had seen 2 of them (when we weren’t hunting them of course) and I knew there were more. With the rut in full swing even if the big stag did not return there were far too many Sika does in that meadow to ignore, something would be by to tend them. The afternoons hunt had been uneventful as we slipped closer to our meadow. As the meadow came into sight a herd of Red stag blocked our approach, precious time slipped past while we waited for them to move off and dark was fast approaching as we made our way to the meadows edge. The Sika does first caught our attention then a bedded stag, with his rear end toward us it was apparent he was big but Lubash wanted a frontal view to be certain. As the light faded further the ficle swirling wind send a draft past the stag. He leapt straight to his feet landing broadside, Lubash quickly hissed something in German and Jan excitedly whispered “its him!” just as quickly. The gun barked and the hard hit stag lunged over the hill and was down. Quite satisfied with the beautiful stag my enthusiasm was apparently not up to Lubash’ standards as he remarked “he doesn’t know what he has” to Jan, he was right. The tape shows him as the unofficial #10 non-typical Sika in SCI! Largest base is 8” which is unheard of for a Sika and though small the palmated extra point he grew is extremely uncommon as well. Once again I have been blessed with extreme fortune and had a wonderful time. Thanks to Jan and Lubash for a great hunt.