Outfitter: Huntmaster Area: Złotowa, Poland Rifle: Heym SR30 in .308 Scope: Leupold VXR 3-9x50 lighted reticle Ammo: Gecco Express 165gr After 5 years of living in Germany and hunting all over Europe I recently moved back to the US earlier in the year. I immediately missed hunting in Europe and decided I needed to hunt Red Stags during the Rut (again, I got skunked last year) I had spoken with Michal from Huntmaster the previous season but had booked with a different outfitter. I decided on this trip I would go with Michal and Huntmaster, a great decision. I worked out the logistics of the plane flight. I decided to fly into Berlin as it was much, much cheaper than flying into Warsaw and the drive was just about the same distance. I booked a prepaid rental car (again, much cheaper $300 USD for a full week) Since I wanted to bring my own rifle and ammo I needed to get an import permit for both Germany and Poland. Michal directed to me to contact the Polish consulate and I contacted the Berlin Police (through the German customs site) Both processes were pretty simple. The Polish consulate send me a form to fill out. I had to send that in with a Notarized copy of my passport, a copy of the hunting voucher from Huntmaster and $50 USD. A week later I had a valid Polish firearms import certificate. I scanned that in and send that along with a $13 USD and a copy of my German hunting license and two weeks later had my German import certificate. Just a note most European countries will require proof of ownership (they ask for the weapon’s “registrations) I sent in a copy of my Customs 4457. Or if you have the purchase receipt that will work also. That all sorted I checked in at Denver international and sparingly had no issues checking in my gun. The agent was not interested in seeing my import certificate. Layover in Chicago, landed in Berlin around 9AM, cleared customs and was in my rental car by 10:30. 4 hours and 20 minutes I was pulling up to the guest house. The guest house had several hunters already staying there. They all seemed pretty impressed that I travelled all the way from the US to hunt in Poland. Michal came by, we discussed the hunting plan which was typical European hunting; stalking in the morning and stalking/high seat in the evening. After a quick nap and shower Michal picked me up, took me to the hunting club and I met my guide Fabian. We head out to the hunting area and immediately heard the Stags roaring. This is something that everyone needs to experience, it is truly incredible. We hit the high seat and around sunset a nice Stag came out but he was a bit to young. We decided not to shoot. Early the next morning we were out again this time with Michal as well. He had a call and immediately started calling in Stags. A mature Stag responded and started coming closer. Within a few minutes he was 5-6 meters from us behind a long row of thick bushes. He responded to Michal’s call with challenge call (a series of short, loud grunts) My heart was beating out of my chest. There was only a small opening to shoot and I was on the sticks waiting for him to step a few feet to my right. I was ready to shoot but he didn’t’ get so big by being stupid. He was thrashing in the bushes looking to fight. We tried to out flank him but he must have smelled us and he was gone. It was an exciting 30 minutes. Aside from hearing them you can smell the Stags around 20 meters away. That evening we saw some females but the Stags came out just after shooting light. Back to the guest house for another delicious meal and some great Polish beers. The next morning we saw a few young Stags but no shooters. I was having a great time but was starting to feel like I may be skunked two year in a row. That evening we headed back to the area we called in the big Stag. We stalked for about an hour then headed to the high seat. Just before sunset the roaring began. There 3 or 4 Stags all roaring at each other. Michal started calling and two Stags immediately responded. One was on our left, the other on our right. We could hear them getting closer, crashing through the forest on the way to the field. At about 8PM the first one appeared, he was young, maybe 3 years old. I passed, the other Stag sounded much older and he kept coming. Finally at 8:15, with about 3 minutes of decent shooting light left he appeared at the edge of the field, about 85 meters from us. We saw his antlers, they were tall. Michal whispered “Shoot, he is a good one” I put the red dot of the lit reticle on his neck (the only part I could safely make out) squeezed the trigger of my Heym SR30 and he fell where he stood. Congratulations! Yelled Michal, he is down! We went down and there he was. Not as big as he sounded but a nice 4kg “Murder” Stag. No forks or crowns, just two long daggers. A pretty nice trophy, I was very pleased. Not the big one I was hoping for but a very unique one. We loaded him up in the truck and headed back to the hotel. I took the next morning off from hunting, slept in and relaxed a bit. The evening hunt had us tracking a roaring Stag but he refused to come out of the thick stuff. We were within 10 meters of him for close to two hours but he wouldn’t give us a shot. The next AM were on the stalk again and saw two young Stags that were non-shooters. The big boys just would not cooperate! We saw several females and several wild boars. I have to say the gues house was great. It was a typical Polish “Agrotourist” guest house, small but clean rooms and outstanding food. By the 3rd day it was me, two German hunters and eight Danish hunters. It was nice to share all our stories at each lunch and each dinner. The evening hunt we went direct to the high seat. Fabian had told Michal he had seen several Stags feeding there while he was scouting and figured we would see at least one. As we got into the seat we saw a smallish Roe Buck eating in the field. About an hour later a Hind showed up and started to graze. Then another. Then the Roar. Loud and close. 5 or 6 more Hid sopped into the field then Fabian whispered “Mark, big” I looked to my left and saw a very nice, old Stag roaring at his harem in the field. It was only 7:15, plenty of light and he was in a big open field. I put the crosshairs on his shoulder and fired. Solid hit, he ran maybe 30 meters, collapsed, then go up. I hit him again and he went down for good. We climbed out, went over and took a look. He was nice, a fork on each side and very tall. I was happy, two nice Stags. We loaded him up and head back to the hunting clubhouse. We cracked some cold beers and a couple of the other club members looked at his teeth and determined he was around 11 years old. We took some pictures, drank some beers and called it an evening. The next morning was probably the most exciting part of the hunt. We got to the forest early but heard nothing, no roars, nothing. We started walking and saw about a dozen Wild Bar. I had never seen that many Boar in one outing before. As we crossed a field we saw a beautiful Stag, two crown, symmetrical, perfect. But he was young, maybe 4. I looked at him, Fabian looked at him, I looked at Fabian and said “too young” He need 5 or 6 more years to mature and pass his genes on, would have been a shame to take him out. Around 7:45, well after sunrise we hear a single roar, it was loud and close! We started tracking, he was close enough to smell. The smell was very strong, he was ruting hard. We tracked him through some tall grass, the smell was constant and strong. Every time we thought we had him he would outwit us. This went on for almost 2 hours. Finally we thought we had him. Then he was gone, at least we thought so. We heard movement, turned a corner looked down an opening between 2 rows of trees and bushes. A wild Boar ran past us. “Dzick” Fabian whispered, the tone of disappointment as heavy as I felt. We looked up and 30 meters standing next to a tree was the Stag. He was huge! 7.5kg, the trophy I dreamed of! He was looking right at us. We didn’t move, he didn’t move. I slowly raised my rifle and put it in the sticks, he still didn’t move. As I looked through the scope, he trotted off, into the thick stuff. I thought I would feel crushed but I was elated, it was the most exciting hunting experience I ever had. He beat us fair and square. I don’t know if he used that Boar as cover or if it was just dumb luck but it bought him the extra few seconds he needed. I flew home the next day very pleased with my trophies. The long drive, the long flight, all worth it. I can’t wait to go back next year and experience the rut again…..