How can you keep a cool head when the herd emerges from the thicket and your adrenaline surges? Key factors and the importance of safety: Maximilian Busenius, a keen hunter and dog handler, shares some valuable tips on preparation and safety for driven hunts.
Perfect relaxation for mind and body. At the other end of the spectrum, driven hunts place high demands on our senses. The shooters are in position on their stands, and a sense of concentration and a certain tension are in the air as they await the first movement of the beaters. Anticipation for the day ahead is clearly visible on all faces even during the briefing and checks at the meeting place.
While the organizers can then relax slightly, this is when the tension really ratchets up for the passionate hunters.
You will have heard these words countless time on driven hunts and this principle doesn’t just apply to group hunts. Safety is a word that has many meanings on driven hunts in particular. It means consideration for all involved: neighboring shooters, beaters, dogs, and of course, leisure visitors to the forest – whose presence must always be considered, even on closed paths.
Safety and certainty in relation to your own abilities are also essential for disciplined participation in driven hunts. Particularly important skills include:
controlled shots at moving game,
lightning-quick observation and identification of game,
accurate assessment of speed and distance of game, and
a constant overview of surroundings.
To train proficiency with moving targets, simulators and shooting ranges are an ideal solution. Modern technology and shooting simulators – which now even calculate parameters such as vibration behavior, the ammunition used, and its precise lead distance – allow hunters to perfect their skills before the actual hunt.
Accurate sighting, on the other hand, can only be practiced in a real-life hunting situation. As in many areas of hunting, you never stop learning. However, the fact is that sighting plays a more important role than the actual shot. This applies not only to unpleasant outcomes, if the harvesting of a red stag does not match the allowances. But above all, parent animals need to be spared because they rear their young. For wild boar on driven hunts, there is a particular risk of coming across an individual sow whose young are still lying in the hollow.
It is possible to train to become proficient in most of the requirements of driven hunts or improve skills with experience and practice. But the crucial factors for firing a safe shot in a driven hunt scenario are difficult or impossible to train: the thrill of the chase, nerves, excitement.
Who doesn’t feel their adrenaline surge at the approaching sound of barking dogs, the calls of the beaters, or loud cracks from a nearby thicket?
The sight of wild boars emerging from the thicket is enough to thrill even the most experienced of hunters. But it is precisely at this moment when everything matters: where are my neighboring shooters, the beaters, and are there any other risks I need to think about?
So it is extremely helpful to clarify a few safety points immediately after taking up position on the stand.
First of all, you need to briefly communicate with neighboring shooters, not only to clarify their precise position, but also to ensure they are aware of you. In particular, in poor or changing weather conditions, this means you always know where everyone is.
You then need to find safe shooting sectors where you can shoot without hesitation. As well as identifying any areas where, for whatever reason, it is not possible to take a safe shot. Landmarks in the terrain can be easily measured using the EL Range TA and make it far easier to estimate distances to places where game could move.
The actual driven hunt stand also needs to be ruled out as a potential risk. Even if it has been inspected again before the hunt, wet conditions or frost can make it extremely slippery. Tip: a little bag of sand in your backpack or simply a little earth from the forest floor can work wonders in these situations.
If the herd in question then emerges from the thicket, many factors have already been assessed in advance. But potential dangers can never be entirely ruled out.
What happens when there are no beaters in the background, the dogs are still far away, and the herd moves to an area already classed as safe? Thanks to the large field of view of modern rifle scopes, such as the Z8i 1-8x24 or Z8i 0.75-6x20, and by paying close attention, it is possible to maintain a perfect overview of the surroundings and the other animals in the herd. From this point, it simply comes down to whether you trust yourself to take the shot in the current conditions.
Anti-fog lenses provide particularly valuable assistance in wet or foggy conditions. The SWAROVSKI OPTIK AFL anti-fog lens fits perfectly on all Z8i models, as well on the Z6i and dS series. It reliably prevents fogging of the eyepiece lens and protects it with an integrated eyepiece cover. This ensures that essential clear vision in all weather conditions.
Influenced by his father who has also been his hunting mentor, Maximilian Busenius (alias The.Passionist) has been drawn to hunting for as long as he can remember. As he has always been very interested in the forest and its wildlife, he studied Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology to turn his passion into a profession. As a keen dog handler, it is working with dogs that gives him the greatest pleasure when hunting. To bring hunting closer to others, he shares his hunting experiences on YouTube and Instagram.