Deer Hunting in Northern Ireland

I am not a hunter- I love animals… I take no pleasure in shooting birds out of the sky or killing Bambi but my dad… he loves being a sportsman. We spent a lot of time checking out gun shops in London, viewing million dollar firearms and looking at really cool hunting stuff. We also spent time at the Royal armories in the Tower of London. It was a blast…pun intended. (Pic below from Holland and Holland’s London Gunroom)

So when my dad’s friend Frank offered to take dad hunting for deer on their land in Northern Ireland my dad jumped at the chance. And while I am not into hunting I felt this was a once in a lifetime experience. I mean, when else am I going to be able to say, I went hunting with my dad at the estate of a gothic period Castle in Northern Ireland?

We spent some time beforehand shooting targets. That was fun. We shot a rifle with a site and a silencer. Though silencer is a bit of a misnomer, it didn’t make it quiet, just less loud than it would be without it.

Tom is an avid hunter and was an excellent guide, he spent time showing us all how to kill the animal and discussed the most ideal way to do so.

I learned you aim for the head, at the eye, or just behind the elbow as thats where the heart is. You don’t want them to suffer. Some shots below of us practice shooting,

As you can see I am an excellent shot.

After doing the shooting we went up to the house for tea and a “wee break” then set out again with Gypsy, (Anna and Toms pup) in tow. Gypsy is an extremely enthusiastic hunting companion, she loves it. And she’s adorable. We were hunting Fallow deer, here you can see Tom and Dad scoping out their prey.

It took a long time …

And lots of walking…

Fun fact, if you’re going on a walk in Ireland they call it a “dander.” So much more fun than the word walk. I think we should all adopt the term.

Eventually, I got kind of tired of chasing deer all over the farm. Soooo I went inside and chopped vegetables with the French Woofers and Annaliza. Isn’t the view from the kitchen nice? I love the windows in this place!

Around 3-4 hours later we hear the “boom” of the rifle and we were pretty sure the deer was dead.

They came back to the house and took the deer over to one of the nearby barns where Tom butchered it. It was a very interesting and pretty gross process. As you can see Dodger and Gypsy are excellent helpers, (Dodger’s head is the furry mop-like thing in the bottom of the frame ) very good at guarding the dead deer. Tom was extremely efficient at butchering it. He took a class on butchering and everything and they often sell the deer meat to local restaurants.

Dad had a great time and was very pleased. And I loved seeing him so happy. It was a fabulous memory to share with him and we are so grateful to Frank, Tom, and Annaliza for being such wonderful guides and hosts.

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