Hunting England, and Cowboys and Indians

Sourdough

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Okay so the story I'm about to tell is true. The hunt took place in the first decade of this century so calling this a "report" would be outdated. But I think you'll get a kick out of the story.

I had never been to England before. I was going to hunt Muntjac and Water Deer because they both have fangs which is amazing.

I loaded my rifle and 40 rounds of ammo in my gun case along with a cleaning kit and shooting sticks and off I went to the airport.

I ended up sitting next to a business man who travels back and forth to England frequently. He asked if I'd ever been, I said no, and he said "well let me tell you what to expect".

He told me that "most folks have never left the town they were born in, ever, not even on holiday. So they have no idea where any of the things tourists like to see are, because they've never seen them".

He talked a little bit more about the weather, the food, etc.

Then he said "The English people think we [Americans] are still living like in Cowboy and Indian times, and still fighting the Indians because of all the American Westerns they watch on TV". Well you can imagine my reaction to that, no way I thought.

We land, I clear customs, my two guides (outfitters) greet me, load everything into their vehicle and off we go. They ask if I'd like to see Buckingham Palace, No 10 Downing Street, Scotland Yard, etc on the way to where we'd hunt. "Sure" I said. I actually got to see a lot of London because they had never been to these places themselves and weren't really sure where they were. My thoughts momentarily went back to the business man on the plane. Eventually we found it all. I really appreciated the tour.

Next step was to check the sight in of my rifle. I opened the case and that's when my two new friends saw my ammo. They were shocked and a bit pissed, not at me but at their government. "We aren't allowed to have that much ammo, and the ammo we do buy has to be associated with a particular animal". [I'm probably not saying this correctly but they meant that they could only buy ammo for a specific hunt and then only six rounds at a time] And of course they were a little shocked at the size of my 300 Wildcats.

So off to check the sight in. They said "hey, instead of shooting at a target to check your gun how about we go to a friends place and you shoot a cull Fallow Deer instead-no charge?". "Of course" said I. Off we went, got to see more beautiful country, and busted a cull Fallow.

Well over the next week they toured me all over South England. It was awesome. Went to Woburn Abbey where there were huge herds of every deer type species England has to offer. And huge stacks of sheds.

Went to a guys property that had a nice herd of Rusa Deer, and an old Castle on his property. I asked the owner "who originally owned that castle?" "I don't know" he said. I thought to myself that if I had a castle on my property I'd sure know everything there was to know about it. Kinda odd.

I ended up shooting a nice Muntjac. Only saw one Water Deer. It was in a big field of sunflowers. My guides were elsewhere in this field also looking for water deer. The deer I saw had a good sized body but I didn't see any fangs so I didn't shoot. It wasn't until after the hunt that I learned they keep their fangs tucked up in their mouths so you generally don't see them. Would have been nice to know that.

Nearing the end of the hunt, by now we've become almost friends, we are driving along when one of them asks "So, are you still having problems with the Indians?" ................................................ Yep, he actually said that.

I'm thinking to myself "How do I answer that question? We have no common frame of reference." Took me a few minutes but I finally decided on "No, not since we put them on the reservation." That satisfied them both and we continued to the airport.

I checked in my gun case and other baggage and headed to the gate. About 15 minutes before we were to board a policeman comes looking for me. Sharply dressed and as polite as can be. Seems I wasn't supposed to have my ammo in the same case as the gun. No problem, we went down outside the gate to the plane where my duffle bag and gun case were waiting for me. I took the ammo out of the case, put it in the duffle bag, and back upstairs we went while having a very cordial conversation.

Some final notes. I had a fantastic time hunting England and someday will go back for a Water Deer. I never got my Muntjac trophy, the taxidermist in England kept delaying and delaying until I no longer could contact him. I hadn't paid him, and although I would have enjoyed having the mount its not why I hunt. I hunt for the experience and the memories, that's what is important to me. For an American, at least this American, English food is terrible. So instead of blood pudding and wieners for breakfast I had Corn Flakes. Dinner was always an adventure but I survived.

I have been back to England once since then, but not to hunt. In London I came within a half-second of being killed by one of those double decker busses had someone behind me not grabbed my shirt and pulled me back as I stepped off the curb. Everyone drives on the wrong side of the road in England and I was looking the other way for traffic. :)

If you get a chance definitely go hunt England. And don't believe the propaganda the English put out about it always being cold and rainy. It was sunny and beautiful every day I was there. I think they just tell everyone that to keep them from wanting to move there.

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Thanks for sharing this funny story @Sourdough I've never hunted England myself, but been plenty of times to Scotland. The fact that people from small villages, often are born and die under the shadow of the village church is something that exists all over continental Europe. From my own family, pretty much all of them have lived in the same 50km radius from where they were born, for all their lives. But the younger generations do go on a holiday from time to time.

The second picture you posted, from what deer species is this? I've never seen racks like that.
 
@VertigoBE those two pictures were taken at Woburn Abbey and I'm pretty sure that is some of the Woburn Red Deer. If I'm mistaken I'm sure someone will chime in and correct me. Take a look at this link.

https://www.woburnabbeydeerfarm.co.uk
 
Second picture maybe Pierre David?

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I have lived in England my whole life and I really don't think what you have been told is correct. I would guess that the vast majority of people in the UK have visited mainland Europe and most have visited America. Most will holiday in Europe at least every 2 - 3 years. Flights to Europe are cheap and quick on budget airlines.

I have never heard of anyone seriously thinking America is still Cowboys and Indians and in your guide's defence, London is a nightmare to drive around, particular if you don't live there. If you do, you are very likely not to use a car or even own one.

We are typically allowed 200-300 cartridges in each calibre or can home load as long as we don't have more than our allowance loaded. It is correct that we have to provide justification for each rifle (not shotguns, they are unlimited provided that the police do not have a good reason for you to own one or several, such as a criminal history or mental instability). The justification would normally be deer or deer and any other species, or target.

I am glad you enjoyed your trip though and am sorry about the food. It is fairly mixed, but there can be some great food, huge diversity as well, the north of England an Scotland are totally different.
 
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Thinking about it, I don't think anywhere would sell you less than 20 cartridges at a time and you often have to order a minimum of 200 or so for less popular calibres.
 
@Borderer no reason to apologize for the food, that's my issue. The last trip I did to England was almost entirely in London, and it was crazy busy with traffic and of course being such an old city the streets were obviously never laid out for cars, nor with any order as the town just kept growing and growing. The thing that impressed me the most was I never saw even a fender bender, and with traffic like that and tight streets like that in America you'd be hard pressed to find a car with a straight piece of sheet metal.
 

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