By Brittany Boddington
Posted on 2015-03-26 20:11:25
if you never thought about hunting there, now is the time!
I was excited and apprehensive when I
decided to take my first ever trip to hunt in
Macedonia. The country is nestled above
Greece and just east of Albania. It is as far
east as I had ever gone in Europe, but they
don’t consider it “Eastern Europe.” The
country is home to some amazing animals
and beautiful landscapes. My good
Friend, Anton “Toni” Tonchev, was my guide
as arranged by The Hunting Consortium.
He picked me up at the airport and took me to a lovely, hunting friendly hotel. We would
be hunting out of the hotel for the duration of the trip. It was nice to have a warm and
comfortable spot to return after long days of hunting. There are many different hunting
areas in Macedonia, so we would get up early and drive to a different one for each
animal we were after. Some areas that we hunted had ruins that date back many, many
years to the wars that raged through those areas.
My first species on the list was a Balkan Chamois. This was the first time I had ever
hunted a Chamois, and I knew that the terrain that they live in is notoriously difficult, so I
tried to prepare ahead by getting myself into shape. We set out early in the morning
when it was still dark and just as daylight broke we stopped to check the gun. We had
been driving up into the mountains for a while on a windy road, and there was a perfect
little valley to set up a gun check in without the sound carrying too far. With the gun
zeroed in, we continued up the mountain to just below the top when Toni informed me
that we were walking from there. I was ready for a hike, and as we walked along the
road toward the top of the mountain, I prepared myself for the long day ahead.
I was lost in my thoughts as I walked along behind Toni. I knew that we had a long way
to go, so I was not alert to my surroundings as much as I should have been. Just then
Toni stopped and motioned to my left. Down the hill at only around 75 yards was...
The following day we tried a new area
where we sat in a blind overlooking a
waterhole. Toni mentioned a few different
animals that frequented this hole, and all of
them were on the menu. We needed a
small pig for a friend of his to cook, and he
hoped that some Mouflon would come in as
well. From our perch on top of a hill in the blind we could see out over a big, open area
with several trees and shrubs. We waited for a while and when it started to get
toward afternoon, the first group of animals sauntered out of the bushes. It was a
group of Mouflon. There was one nice male in the group, and we let it get out into the
wide open area below before I put my crosshairs right on its shoulder and dropped it.
We got down there quick and got a picture, but we were not finished hunting this area.
We quickly got it dealt with and got back in the blind just in time to make the best of the
fading daylight. A group of European wild boar came out of the bushes. There was
no monsters in the group, but there was a perfectly medium sized pig that Toni thought would be
great to eat.He told me which one, and we added him to our afternoon's collection!
Next on my list for this hunt was a wolf. I
had never hunted, or even thought of
hunting a wolf, but the idea sounded
dangerous and exciting. Little Red Riding
Hood kept going through my mind in the
days leading up to the hunt. It was even
more exciting when I found out that we
would be hunting the wolf with night vision.
There was a bait set up on a farm that had
been experiencing a lot of problems with
wolves, and they had a burned...
Less than two hours passed before Toni heard movement in the field. We were careful not to
spook them with the night vision, so we waited until they were nice and close, then turned
on the scope and night vision light. I was looking through the scoop, and as it turned on I
immediately saw somewhere around 6 or 8 wolves circling the pig that was set as bait.
One would sneak in a grab a bite, and then back out while another would sneak in for a
taste of the bait. Toni asked if I was comfortable and if I was ready. I was nervous, and I
shifted my position a few times. He was patient and told me they were not going anywhere,
and that I should take my time to make sure that I was 100% ready before I took my shot.
I remember looking at the massive head on one wolf to the left of the bait and thinking this
is definitely the one I want. It was hard to see its entire body because the grass was high at
that time of year, but I guessed about a foot back from the ears and down about
a half a foot. When I couldn’t get any steadier, I took my shot. The wolf
somersaulted and made a high pitched noise, so we knew instantly that it was hit. The
borrowed rifle I was shooting had one shotgun barrel and one rifle. We were close
enough that Toni instructed me to hit it with
the shotgun as well.
I did as instructed, but without knowing it I
had crept too far forward on the gun and
ended up whacking myself in the eye with
the night vision attachment on the scope.
Toni was on his feet and ready to go after
the wolf, and I was dazed and confused
about what had just happened. I gathered my
wits as best I could, and we headed out into
the field. There was no wolf. We searched
and searched, but we could not find the
wolf. It was either down in the long grass and obscured by the darkness, or it had run off.
I was not thrilled to be walking through a field full of wolves in the dark, but at least we
had the gun, and Toni was sure...
Toni was wrong. At least for that night, the wolf was too well hidden in the grass, and we
could not find it. I was very sad the next morning when I met Toni for breakfast at the
Hotel, and as he walked up he casually mentioned that the wolf was in the trunk of his
friend’s car. I said, “WHAT?” and he grinned. They had gone back out early that morning
and found my wolf dead in the grass. It was even bigger up close than it had looked
through my scope. The head in particular was huge, almost disproportionate to the
body. Toni thought it would be the biggest ever taken in Macedonia at that time! I was
over the moon. This hunt had not only gone perfectly, but I had also lucked out by
getting not just good animals, but spectacular animals!
If you haven't ever considered going to Macedonia, it is time to add it to your list! I’m headed
back there in September of this year for a few more animals to add to my collection. I
encourage you to check out the history, and read up on the home of Alexander the
Great. It remains at the top of my list of European hunting destinations.