Byalka brilliance

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Camera in hand, Colin Fallon treks to one of Europe’s prime wild boar hunting destinations in Bulgaria – but sometimes you just can’t buy luck.

Giving my hands a short break from operating the camera controls, I plunged my hands deep into my pockets and surveyed the area in front of me. The thick snow threw the leafless trees into white relief, and the engine noise from the pick-ups had long faded, leaving just the sounds of the forest, punctuated by the occasional rifle shot in the distance. In the three days I’d spent in this area, I’d never seen so much boar sign in my life – so how could I have gone all this time without seeing a single keiler?
I was in Bulgaria, on the famous Byalka hunting preserve just outside Lovech. Two hours’ drive north of the capital, we were on elevated ground – and this was the middle of December – so temperatures hovered just above zero for the duration of the three-day hunt. Not so bad if you’re foot-stalking for roe, but this was a driven wild boar hunt, with beats lasting between two and three hours – that’s a lot of standing around. I had my Deerhunter Recon hunting gear to keep me warm, but I was the hunt cameraman, and having to constantly handle a metallic camera and tripod to check framing and exposure meant my hands were worse for wear.

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Posted in Driven Game

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