The Baron Who Shot the Chocolate Loving Deer

At breakfast at the Hotel Kitzhof, I read the Independent newspaper, and found a story by Tony Paterson about a Baron. It seems that Eberhard von Gemmingen-Hornberg, a German aristocrat, was hoodwinked into believing he had shot a trophy stag, which turned out to be a tame deer that loved to eat chocolate.

The noble hunter set out to Bulgaria to try and bag a big stag. He had heard about one with 37 tree-like antlers on its huge head. It’s name was Burlei, and the rich man paid 65,000 pounds for the chance to shoot it. After he shot the beast, the baron was regaled in hunting magazines worldwide with his trophy….he was quoted gushing, “I never remotely dreamed I would have a chance of bagging such a stag.”

But his triumph was short lived. It was determined that Burlei had been fed calcium in his animal park home to grow those huge antlers, and was sold to the hunting estate just so that the rich man could shoot it, he was actually a dame red deer. No wonder he just stood there when the baron trained his gun on the beast.

Today the antlers have been moved to the cellar of his country home and he’s been stripped of his world hunting record. And the press in Germany who were so impressed with the size of his prize have red-faced retractions.