First-Hand Report on Hunting Wisent (European Bison) and Russian Lynx


Published: January - 2012

Subscriber Jan Kristian Øestergaard has filed a hunt report European bison (wisent) in Belarus and Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Russia. Longtime Hunting Report subscribers will remember former European correspondent Christophe Schule's 2003 article The "Real Skinny" On The European Wisent (see Article 1145 in our database), thoroughly detailing the then-available hunting opportunities for this virtually-unknown trophy. In 2008, we also reported on a "North American style" hunt for European moose in Belarus (Article 2147), based largely on a report by subscriber and correspondent J.Y. Jones. Belarus, the most "Russian" of the former Soviet satellites, is located east of Poland, south of Lithuania and Latvia, and north of Ukraine. In his report, Øestergaard, who hails from Denmark, tells us he took a free-range, Gold Medal wisent bull in Belarus mid-January, 2011. His bull scored 181 CIC. Øestergaard hunted with Aliaksandr Hancharou of Belhunt Service (www.belhuntservice.com). He also notes taking a "small" wild boar on the same hunt.

Slightly larger than American bison and primarily a forest-dweller, a mature wisent is an impressive animal that can stand 6½ feet tall at the shoulder and weigh upward of a ton. Although their historic range encompassed almost all of Europe, today, huntable populations are found only in Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus. Permits are very limited.

Øestergaard hunted the Bia?owie?a Forest on the border with Poland, 340 kilometers west of the capital, Minsk. This forest stronghold is where the last remaining wisent were preserved and used as seed stock for re-introductions and zoos throughout Europe. Øestergaard tells us the area is thick with bison, boar and red and roe deer. "We saw a lot of bison in the hunting area, both in the fields and in the forest. Mine was an older bull, past breeding age, that lived deep in the forest." The hunt area is reached via an old military vehicle, and the hunting itself is conducted by spot-and-stalk or from an elevated stand. "I took my bull from a luxury high seat blind that had windows and heat, which was nice, considering it was cold (about -10........(continued)

 
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