Savanna Koebisch is a Canadian-German chiropractor and huntress. She mainly operates in the German Westerwald forest, often accompanied by her Dachshund Lupo. Learn about her experiences with her EL Range binoculars with tracking assistant (TA) and the end of the season approaching.
As yet another jogger bounced past my tower stand, I cursed the pleasant weather for making the forest so attractive. Yet I knew exactly the magnetism that it created, for I myself have often wandered this path on a sunny day. Resting my cheekbone on the rough crossbeam to my right, I soaked in the golden rays.
It had been a dark few months. With far less sunshine hours than the average German winter, any hint of blue sky was welcome. It was the eleventh consecutive day where I was awaiting the right encounter with a roe deer. With the end of the season quickly approaching, the game management plan had yet to be filled.
It was hard to imagine that this busy path was one of my favorite seats in the hunting area. Right next to the converging point of several popular hiking trails, there certainly was a lot of foot traffic. Early mornings and late evenings, however, were promising. This web of trails used to lead through dark spruce forests.
That all changed when a bark beetle infestation swept over much of central Germany, including the Westerwald. Large clearcuts now create an intricate patchwork of remaining mature forest and newer thickets. Secret clearings previously concealed by a coniferous fringe, are now on display amongst decapitated trees. Adjacent high seats often appear a little lost.
I was currently sitting on a fairly new stand that was built in the summer to overlook a recently established clear cut, popular with the roe. I was already aware of several doe/fawn constellations and was waiting for the right opportunity.
Scanning the hillside, my heart stopped when I saw a grey silhouette traversing from left to right. My grasp loosened on the rifle I was grabbing as I saw its velvet wrapped antlers, which left me optimistic for the upcoming spring season. Dusk had arrived. Yet again, I returned to my vehicle empty handed.
Waking up early bought me a few minutes in the woods before work. Swooping my dog Lupo underneath my arm, we ascended into our perch. The weather was far less pleasant than the previous evening. Rain accelerated by a powerful wind battered against the stand. The sideboards shivered, and so did the Dachshund.
I tucked my companion a little further into the blanket he was laying on. Soon enough an unanimous decision was made that today, as an exception, work sounded better than hunting.
Fast forward one day and it was the final outing of the season. Light gusts carried with them the promise of precipitation. I spy with my EL Range TA in orange, exactly the opportunity I’d been waiting for.
Then, a female fawn picked its way through the deadfall, stopping in front of an exposed root plate. Ranged at 110 meters, I prepared for the shot.
Emerging from a bramble bush, a cautious doe searched around. For several minutes she scanned the slope, her vitals concealed by branches. She too meandered towards the right and stood before the same root complex. Seeing her broadside in my rifle scope, I exhaled slowly.
I felt relief that everything had worked out today: finding the right deer, placing two perfect shots, and fulfilling the game management plan.
Creatures of habit, these roe deer were following a timeworn game trail which had been popular when the vegetation still stood tall. Perhaps new trails will soon emerge in the clearcuts, but for now, tradition prevailed.