Editor’s Note: All hunters have different needs and expectations, which is why one hunting experience can be perfect for one hunter and completely wrong for another. Here’s an opportunity that will fulfill the desires of hunters with a true wander lust.
SCI Member Joseph Marubito says hunters who enjoy cultural experiences will love a hunting trip to Château de Laplanque in the south of France just a couple of hours from Toulouse. Marubito is a dedicated bowhunter and says he decided to hunt at this 13th Century estate because it could provide both a challenging bowhunt and a cultural vacation experience for his family. He hunted there in November 2018 and took an excellent mouflon ram.
Château de Laplanque is a classic French castle that has been in the Roques Rogery family for 800 years. It includes a private estate of more than 1,000 acres and offers red stag, fallow deer, mouflon sheep, sika deer and wild boar. For centuries, the hunting here was available only to family members and guests. That changed in 2009, when Didier Roques Rogery, experienced as a professional hunter in Benin and Tanzania, opened the property to traveling hunters. He targeted those interested in pursuing exceptional trophies while also experiencing the French rural culture.
Roques Rogery caters mostly to rifle hunters, who can hunt on foot or from a high seat and shoot from 200 to 300 yards out. Murabito says rifle hunters will definitely have shot opportunities at excellent trophies here, but bowhunters will have to work hard to get a shot at 50 yards. He describes the property as hilly, with lots of hedge cover and open grass fields, making it a challenging place to bowhunt. “Rifle hunters are certain to be successful on any of the species available here,” he says. “But it’s a night and day difference for bowhunters. I wanted a challenge, and I got one.”
Murabito says hunters can make the hunt easy from a high seat or hunt on the ground for the warier animals. During their trip, his wife tried out the hunting there and shot her very first deer. “You will definitely see lots of game on this property and have opportunities,” he says. While this is an estate, Murabito says it was fenced only on the sides that border roads, and it is unfenced on the back of the property where the terrain is rougher and starts to rise in elevation.
Marubito says he hunted with Roques Rogery’s son, Guillaume, spotting and stalking on foot. He shot a mouflon at 50 yards after a three-hour stalk, and says he had to belly crawl the last 50 yards of his stalk to get that close. During the stalk, there were times he and his guide had to run to keep up with the group of moving rams. “The animals here can be quite wary and will hang back in the trees,” he says. “For a bowhunter it can be a bit frustrating, but I enjoyed the experience.”
His ram is a spectacular trophy, officially scoring 145 2/8 and is pending the new number one SCI record for Central European mouflon with a bow. Marubito says it is the first mouflon trophy taken with a bow on the property. He says he enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to hunt mouflon again on his own. He says Roques Rogery agreed to drop him off where he would find mouflon and let him hunt by himself. He successfully harvested a second, albeit smaller, ram.
Besides the hunting, Murabito says this area offers great touring, hiking and other activities that his family enjoyed. There are numerous picturesque and historic villages with traditional market places. Murabito says his family enjoyed visiting them, shopping and sampling the gastronomic delights native to that region. Roques Rogery can arrange for cultural and gastronomic tours throughout the area. Murabito says his family and some friends who accompanied them on this trip enjoyed touring through southern France as much as he enjoyed the hunting.
As for accommodations, Murabito describes Château de Laplanque as “incredible.” The castle offers ensuite bedrooms and modern amenities such as WIFI, computer access and flat screen TV, but it is also rooted in European history. The library has antique books and even an original letter from Napoleon Bonaparte. He says the food was classic country-style French food. “Not fancy but very good.” He gives both the accommodations and the meals a 10 star rating.
While Murabito highly recommends Château de Laplanque and says anybody can hunt there and have a great experience, he says the place is not for everyone. Château de Laplanque and its hospitality is best for hunters who want to fully experience a destination. “This is right for those who want a have a complete cultural experience. Who would enjoy seeing the French countryside, and sampling the local cheeses, wines and meats. This is a great place to bring the family for a vacation. It is not the place for the guy who just wants to kill something.”
Roques Rogery books only one hunting party at a time, giving guests exclusive access to the property and the staff’s attention. For more information on Château de Laplanque and France Safaris see their website at www.francesafris.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.--Barbara Crown