In previous articles about big game hunting in the United States, which were posted on the Texas Outdoors Network website, I discussed my successful hunts for Bull Elk, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram and Ewe and Rocky Mountain Goat. All of these hunts took place in Colorado.
In this article I will discuss my successful hunt for a Fallow Deer (Damhirsch) In Germany. Since the Fallow Deer hunt took place on November 14, 1978, while I was stationed with the US Army in Germany, I decided to write an article for our American daily newspaper, THE STARS AND STRIPES. The following is a reprint of the article as published in the April 27, 1979, edition of THE STARS AND STRIPES.
Friday April 27, 1979
THE STARS AND STRIPES Page 25
OUTDOORS With Brian McWilliams
(By LTC Clarence A Scheel of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Automation, at Headquarters, USAREUR in Heidelberg.)
HUNTING FOR AND BAGGING A TROPHY DAMHIRSCH (Fallow deer) in November 1978 was the most thrilling hunting experience I have had in more than 30 years of big game hunting. Although I have successfully hunted antelope and mule deer in Colorado, red deer and roe deer in Germany, and white-tailed deer in Texas, Washington, Oklahoma, Kansas and New York, none of these hunts compared to the excitement I experienced when I saw the big buck with the large palmated antlers drop after a carefully placed shot.
You can probably say that the anticipation for the hunt began last June when I registered with the USAREUR Hunting and Fishing office for the annual lottery drawing for the trophy hunt. Of the more than 2,000 American military, civilian and dependent hunters in Germany who entered the lottery for mouflon, fallow deer, red deer and chamois trophies, I was one of the five lucky hunters drawn to hunt for the fallow deer. Since five allocations consisted of two Class I and three Class IIB trophies and since my name was drawn fifth for this species, I was authorized to bag a Class IIB Damhirsch. A Class I buck must be at least 10 years old and have fully developed “shovels” on both sides. A Class IIB, although still a desirable trophy, may not have a fully developed shovel on more than one side. In October, Herr Schuster at the Heidelberg Hunting and Fishing Office booked my hunt for Nov. 14 with the Hassloch Forestry office at Moerfelden, near Rhein Main International Airport.
LTC Clarence A Scheel with prize trophy
Before daybreak on the 14th, I met my guide, Forester Antes, at the Hassloch Foresthaus. After the customary greeting and exchange of pleasantries, he explained that rather than still hunt on a stand, as is normally done for roe and red deer, we would be stalking. At daybreak, we started walking. For the next two and one-half hours, we must have walked 8 to 10 kilometers. During that time, we saw several Class I bucks with massive antlers, numerous Class II and Class III and several females. Every time we saw a group, the anticipation built up, but in every case, there was no IIB. Since it was by now mid-morning and deer were beginning to bed down, we decided to walk back to the Foresthaus and plan a different strategy for the next morning. On the way back, we saw several more, but still no IIB.
APPROXIMATELY ONE KILLOMETER FROM THE FORESTHAUS, we saw a Class I moving through the woods at about 100 meters. Assuming that I could not shoot it, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Forester Antes, however, observed it closely and determined that the animal was either sick or injured and needed to be harvested. Once he said those magic words “you may shoot” the excitement really built up. Since the buck was in thick woods and moving away from us, I had to quickly but carefully move into the woods to get a clear shot. After 10 minutes of stalking, I finally got a clear shot at about 75 meters in the heavy timber, which resulted in the culmination of a most successful hunt. Subsequent inspection of the carcass revealed that the big buck, approximately 12 years old and past his prime, had been battered by other, larger, prime bucks during the recent mating season and the buck would probably have died from the injuries within the next few days. Allowing me to take a sick Class I trophy when I was authorized a Class IIB is a good example of the German use of the controlled hunt to improve the quality of the game herd. Even though it was merely a lucky draw in the lottery to get me on the hunt and then even more luck to come across a sick Class I buck while hunting a Class IIB, bagging such a lifetime trophy for no additional personal trophy fee could only happen to an American hunter authorized to participate in the American big game hunting program in Germany. I highly recommend that anyone who enjoys big game hunting to attend a hunter orientation course at the local Rod and Gun Club and obtain a Germany Hunting license. It will allow you to hunt all classes if roe dee, wild boar, and lesser classes of red deer and fallow deer, as well as small game. Furthermore, it will allow you to participate in the annual lottery to hunt trophy class mouflon sheep, fallow deer, red deer stag, and chamois. Every year many hunters have the same luck as I did and get the opportunity to harvest a true trophy. I will never forget my hunt. I can’t wait to get the mounted trophy back to the USA and hang it on my mantel, right between my mounted Colorado mule deer and New York white-tailed deer trophies.
END OF STARS AND STRIPES ARTICLE
Please note that the above is a reprint of an article that I wrote in 1979. Much has changed for the American service members in Germany since then. The hunting program and the lottery drawing I refer to probably no longer exist or have been considerably changed. However, I believe that the article described the essence of the hunt, and I could not express it better now than I did in 1979. It certainly explains how I am able to display my beautiful Fallow Deer Trophy with some of the rest of my mounted trophies in my living room in New Braunfels, Texas in 2022.
In the article, which I wrote in 1979, I mention that I had been hunting for 30 years. Since that time, I have hunted an additional 43 years and am still hunting in 2022. I have a total of 19 mounts including the fallow deer. Eleven of my best trophies are on display in my New Braunfels home and the remaining 8 mounts are in the beautiful ranch house of my daughter and son-in-law, Denise and Robert Staudt, near Oakville, Texas.
After I wrote the article for Stars and Stripes (shown above), I was invited to the annual banquet and trophy show for all hunters who killed Damhirsch bucks during the previous year’s season. The very festive event was held in a several-100-year-old Damhirsch hunting lodge near Darmstadt, Germany. On permanent display on the walls of the lodge were outstanding Damhirsch trophies killed in Germany over those many years. All of the trophies were mounted in the European style of bleached head mounts. None were shoulder mounted with tanned capes like we prepare them in America. Their mounts are not suspectable to moth infestation as we find in old shoulder mounts in the USA. Thus, the trophies on display are as presentable today as they were when they were killed many years ago.
All of the trophies from the previous year’s hunt were on display at one end of the banquet hall for the attendees to view prior to the banquet. They were lined up starting with the lowest (Class III) up to the highest (Class IA). Only two shoulder mounts were present, one belonged to me and the other belonged to an Air Force Captain who was not present. I hired a young Master Taxidermist to mount mine. He did an outstanding job to produce a quality product of which I am extremely proud. The other American hired a less experienced taxidermist and the result was a very poor-quality mount.
After a wonderful, delicious banquet meal with several Schnapps toasts, the Jaegermeister in charge of all Damhirsch hunts in Germany talked about the health of the Damhirsch herd and the successful hunting season it had been. (I was indeed happy that I am fluent in German and could converse with my fellow Damhirsch hunters and understand what the Jaegermeister said.) He then critiqued each individual trophy, starting with the lowest and ending with the Class IA’s. Each hunter had a permit for a specific Class of trophy. If the trophy on display was officially graded higher than the class on his permit, the Jaegermeister called it out. For example, if he critiqued a Class IIA and the permit was for a Class IIB, he would say “Class IIA, should have been an IIB, Bad shot.” I don’t know for sure, but there probably was a fine or other penalty levied against the hunter and/or guide who harvested the wrong Class of trophy.
As the Jaegermeister got closer to my trophy I was wondering what he would say about my shooting a higher Class than my permit allowed. When he got to mine, he paused for a moment, then picked up my trophy and said: “Class IA, should have been IIB. He was sick. Good shot.” I could now breathe a sigh of relief.
Attending this banquet and trophy show was a wonderful ending to a great hunt for my Class IA Damhirsch. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience.
The attached photo shows me admiring my Fallow Deer (Damhirsch) trophy as it hangs with many of my other trophies in my living room in New Braunfels, Texas in 2022.
Admiring my trophy In New Braunfels home
Latest posts by Clarence Scheel (see all)
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