Ever heard of Macedonia for hunting?

By Brittany Boddington

Posted on 2015-03-26 20:11:25

Macedonia is not only famous for being home to Alexander the Great, but it is also a fabulous place to hunt! I have to admit when I first heard of an opportunity to hunt in Macedonia, I immediately pulled up a map on my phone because I had no clue where that was. It is a small country with a population of only around 2 million, but they have their own language and very rich history. Macedonia is a hidden gem for the hunting community.

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...

a group of Chamois feeding. One was significantly bigger than the rest, and Toni pointed it out. Without hesitation he bent forward, plugged his ears, and motioned for me to shoot off of his shoulder. There was no time for protest or hesitation because the Chamois had spotted us. I did as I was told and took my shot which dropped the Chamois in its track. All of a sudden my long day of walking was over in less than an hour! When we got up to the animal I realized why Toni had been so excited; the Chamois was remarkable- a truly beautiful specimen.

Balkan Chamois and Brittney Boddington

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...

out, abandoned old VW van that had been siting there for decades that we used as a blind. We got burgers on our way out there and ate in the car, then got ready to sit for the night.

Brittany Boddington and her wolf

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...

that we would find the wolf.

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.

Brittney Boddington and her first Moulfon