The stag shot in 1896 in Nienadowa was honoured with the following title: the best record of all time. It was the world record for 30 years, whereas for more than 70 years it held the best title in Poland. But it seems to be only the tip of the enormous potential that the Polish hunting grounds have.
The best record of all time
Poland has long been known for one of the best roe deer hunting grounds in Europe. The best hunting record of all time was set, indeed, in our country in 1896 in Nienadowa. The antlers held the title of the best roe deer trophy in the world ratings for 30 years. The stag from Nienadowa was most probably shot by one of the cooks or a forester of count Stanisław Mycielski in his landed property near Przemyśl.
This trophy saw the light of day only by accident and was shown on many exhibitions both in Poland and abroad, winning admiration of quite a few expert connoisseurs. Priced in Berlin in 1937 at 196 CIC points and repurchased thanks to the efforts of the Polish Hunting Association, the trophy is currently in the Museum of Hunting and Horsemanship in the Royal Łazienki in Warsaw, where it has its honourable place among many other medal stags.
New record from Krzystkowice
For more than 70 years, till the year 1967, the antlers from Nienadowa had been the world record, which is actually an unprecedented case in the world history of hunting trophies. Even longer, which is till the year 1982, they remained the best record in Poland. They gave up its unquestionable first position only in 1982, when the hunter Bernard Derex shot a stronger deer in a separated district of state-controlled forests in Krzystkowice.
The guide of the outing, as it later turned out, for the new record of the country was Józef Kuczak, a long-serving gamekeeper for hunting issues. He knew the stag and had already observed it for a couple of seasons. The buck preyed regularly at around the same time, but – as it sometimes happened – the days when foreign hunters arrived it suddenly disappeared. But no one knew the reason for that. The destination of its migration remained also a great mystery. It was only in the evening on the last day of May after many unsuccessful outings that against the wall of a nearby forest the French hunter took a perfect shot with practically no effort. He set eventually, as it later turned out, a new record of Poland.
The stag was much larger than an average buck in this area. It was old, over ten years old. The weight of its antlers, however, came as quite a surprise to the hunters – it was over 900 grams! Nothing was settled yet. Of course, one usually has to wait for the antlers to be priced for at least three months, although a trophy loses its weight substantially under “room” conditions. Feelings of anxiety filled in the time of waiting for the final assessment. The antlers were priced by the international trophy assessment committee at 201.47 CIC points! The new record of Poland was written down in the yearbook of the Polish Hunting Association. According to the regulations that were in force at that time, it was not allowed to take a record trophy abroad, which meant that the conqueror had to settle for a gypsum form. This historical record can currently be seen in the nature and forest museum in Gołuchowice.
Pińczów makes a bid
Bernard Derex held the first location in the catalogue of the Polish hunting trophies for the next 20 years. It was only in 2002 that Łukasz Stęplewski, a young hunter who as a guest took part in hunting events organised by Józef Machnicki in the Pińczów hunting ground of the ‘Gawron’ Hunting Association from Pińczów, shot a stronger stag. The young, only 4 year old deer was hunted in the evening on the last day of the season. After being eviscerated, it weighed 21 kilograms, whereas its antlers during further medal assessment reached the gross weight of 831 grams. Total calculation of the volume, length of the antlers, and credits for the beauty resulted in 202.22 CIC points. The new record of Poland was set.
In the hunting grounds where Józef Machnicki hunts, strong stags are shot practically every year. Their antlers often exceed the weight of 400 grams. The new record was exceptional, however. It had not been seen and had not been heard about before. It is hard to predict what actual potential hid in the buck’s genes. If it had been given a chance to reach the warrantable age, the stag might have possibly had even stronger antlers, which might even have won the world record. But it is equally probable that no one would have heard about them.
Radzyń on the first location
The record from Pińczów had a relatively short history. After a year in the Lubelskie region, near Radzyń Podlaski to be precise, in the district of the ‘Jeleń’ Hunting Association from Parczew Johen Sudbrack, a German hunter, set a new record. During the morning approach on 16 May 2003, he shot a buck. Its antlers weighed 981 grams right after being prepared. Their length reached 28 centimetres, which meant that they would become the next record of the country. These predictions got confirmed after three months, when a proper committee priced the trophy at 224.68 CIC points!
Strong stags are abundant in the hunting grounds of the ‘Jeleń’ Hunting Association. Almost every season the trophies of the bucks that are shot there receive medal locations. The antlers of the stags hunted during the last two years have been similar in their shape to the record of the year 2003. And they most probably have come from the same pool of genes. In the last hunting season, one of the hunters shot down a wounded stag whose antlers reached the weight of 700 grams, whereas it was approximately 3-4 years old.
There are truly specific soil and environmental conditions in the districts managed by the association. There is a great number of springs, wild meadows, and cultivatable pieces of land rich in nutrients. On very fertile soil, such crops as corn, beetroot, and wheat can be grown. Mineral substances contained in the soil, including lots of elements such as calcium and phosphorus, are responsible for the growth of antlers.
The owners of the hunting grounds take great care over the population of roe deer, providing several dozen tons of feed and lots of kilograms of salt, which significantly improves the condition of animals. This can be proved by the fact that an average weight of roe deer shot there is around 23-25 kilograms after being eviscerated, which is definitely something to be jealous about.
The Lubelskie vice-record
A couple of days after the trophy from Radzyń Podlaski was gained and several dozen kilometres away from that place, in one of the Puławy districts of the ‘Cyranka’ Hunting Association no. 77 a truly strong stag with exceptionally thick antlers was hunted. The lucky winner of the trophy was Dariusz Dziuba. He died tragically but had been long travelling all over the world looking for strong medal trophies. He had managed to gain some really impressive ones but never succeeded in shooting such a strong stag, although he had hunted in different hunting grounds. 31 May 2003, was, however, his lucky day. In his home hunting association, he shot a stag that was eventually priced at 211.08 CIC points. It set the Polish vice-record.
There are many rumours that have be heard in the Lubelskie region. Some say that he was not the one who hunted the stag and that he just bought it from a poacher. Other stories say that he just found it. The source of such rumours seems to be an incomplete skull and a broken jaw. However, we would never know what the truth was. Due to the tragic death of Dariusz Dziuba and declared bankruptcy of his company, all the trophies, including the record antlers, were taken by the official receiver with the intention to sell them. The District Management Board of the Polish Hunting Association (PZŁ) in Lublin has recently made an offer to repurchase these one of a kind antlers. The receiver, however, refused the offer claiming that he could only sell the antlers together with other trophies. Unfortunately, the District Management Board of the Polish Hunting Association (PZŁ) could not afford that, especially that part of the trophies belonging to Dariusz Dziuba came from abroad, in which case the regulations of the CITES convention applied.
Better learn to wait
Among the stories behind the best Polish stags that are told in the catalogue of the hunting trophies there is one that is hard to be overlooked – the circumstances of shooting an impressive buck in the Tacznów forestry district. This short story can serve to all the listeners as an example of selection courses. The hero of the story was Tadeusz Galewski.
In one spring afternoon, this experienced hunter spotted an impressive stag in the grounds of the “Hubertus” Hunting Association from Pleszew. Noticing that the buck was still too young, he gave up and decided just to watch it.
He saw it later on regularly numerous times… and kept waiting… After three years of observation, when the stag reached a desired age and could boast about its amazing antlers, the hunter decided to approach it. On 14 June 1992, during the evening ambush, he shot a seven year old buck. Its antlers, right after being prepared in wet, weighed exactly 1,000 grams! Unfortunately, they had to wait for the international assessment for 2 years. It eventually resulted in their becoming drier and loosing much weight, which in turn made the pricing worse. The stag was priced at 198.17 CIC points.
But it is not about these few points that are added or deducted! It is about the quality of the hunter! The story has not only acted in favour of the Tacznów hunting grounds, which are rich in strong stags, but most importantly the quality of their hunters. None of them decided to take a premature shot. As the French say: Chapeau bas!
source: Łowiec Polski 5/2014