dart raider

We have this creature on our golf course, which is after the thousands of flower bulbs in the ground. And the mushrooms and worms and what not. Digging up more and more of the grassland cultivated for play.

When we first detected marks of the boar having somehow gotten onto the fenced in grounds, we called in the district hunter. It is not such an easy task in Germany, as you have to get official papers for such a thing, if the grounds are not declared hunting grounds to start with. Plus, it is also not easy to clear a golf course of players according to the hunter’s time scedule. However, it had to be done several times already. We were really happy, when he was successful the first time. He shot the boar, which, he said, was a one year old male. On the brink of adulthood, it was roaming for his own place to live, somehow snuggling its way onto the course.

Problem solved. Or so we thought. But a couple of days later, there was even more damage to the golf course. And now we were sure, the fence was in good order all around the grounds. So, we have more than just this one boar living on the land.

One always forgets, that only 60% of all land on our golf courses is used for play, forming tees, fairways, semirough and greens. The rest is just plain nature. Thus, of the 487 acres of land we run our golf courses on, 195 acres are left completely wild and natural. A paradise for birds and wild animals such as rabbits, weasels, foxes, snakes, fish and so on. Consisting of manhigh grass, bushland, woods and ponds. As I found out this Monday, personally roaming every forgotten corner of it.

The hunter got so frustrated over the last couple of weeks. Spending night after night going after this beast, even calling in some colleagues for help. Almost losing a dog in the process, too. He resorted to put up special feeding spots, in the hope to train the animal to frequent certain places more often. Nothing worked.

So daybreak on Monday was set for a battue. Greenkeepers, course marshals and for spirits, our CEO and I, all together 17 people, were to be the beaters. The weather was rotten. It was cold and the rain poured down relentlessly. We all put on, what we thought were our waterproofs and I even opted for my Wellingtons, as I thought, my waterproof golf shoes wouldn’t do in higher grass.  And right I was. Not even the rubber boots were good enough. After one hour there was this loud splish splosh sound inside my boots, that would flush a herd of deaf elephants.

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Having to roam through the thick, more than man high grass and bushland was not easy. At times I could not get through and had to back up and detour. Underneath the trees, it was not as wet, but with the rainhood over the head, my vision was restricted and twigs and branches overlooked but felt on the face.

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We actually managed to find and rouse the boar twice. The first time, the hunter shot three times, but missed it. The second time over, he never even got a shot at it, as the beast darted over the hills of green 14 too fast for him to pull the trigger. We could later clearly see the flight marks left on the grass, where the dart raider has flewn for cover in a section of dense wood, we have already been through.

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The hunter called everything off after this. He was of the opinion, that the animal was at such a high alert by now, that we would stand no chance to get it on this day any more. We could see, how frustrated he was. So were we, by the way. This battue was a strenous, hard time for everybody involved.

First thing, I did after coming in, was binning my waterproofs. As they clearly were no good. I was soaked to the bone. Literally. Even my underwear was dripping. I had to go home to get a change of clothes and dry up, before being able to return to my desk. My car seat is still damp.

And the boar is still happily digging up our fairwas. What a bummer.

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