My sponsored DSC1 and route to stalking PLUS puppy diary

Fallow failure (valuable experience nonetheless)

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Hi all,
I've just come back from visiting my parents who have moved back to the family's ancestral hometown in Yorkshire (I'm very jealous!) I managed to take the pup out to a lot of new environments and she even found her first pheasant. I also had fun in Dalby Forest boring the wife with stops every few minutes to look for slots where paths and rides intersect. I managed almost by accident to spot a couple of roe a long way off through my binoculars, but they didn't hang around in the open for long.
Anyway, this blog isn't about my holiday, it's about an outing for fallow with trade member Elmer Fudd (Barry). I'd cleared it with "her indoors" that I could go on a paid stalk to mark my birthday, so after contacting a few trade members I settled on Barry as being the best value for money, also factoring travel costs to the ground, etc.
My plan had been to get the train down to Barry's patch, then have the wife pick me up, hopefully with a nice young animal for the freezer. She even bought me for my birthday a book "Fit For Table" which has colour photos of how to gut and butcher everything from partridge and rabbits to trout and boar:
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Barry met me at the station and we drove to a piece of ground to check zero and familiarise me with the rifle. We chatted in the truck about this and that, Barry entertaining me with plenty of stories and anecdotes.
My test shots were ok, taken off the bonnet of the Pajero I put one just a little to the right. The next one I flinched (no idea why) and hit way off to the right, but still within the "kill zone". The third and final shot was dead centre, a little low, but Barry wasn't concerned as the range was quite short and the zero had been set further out.
As we were walking to the target to have a look at the shots, we saw in the next field a melanistic doe making a run for it. She'd obviously been couched up in a small area of cover at the bottom of the field and been disturbed by the shooting.
Back in the truck and we headed off to some woodland where Barry has the stalking. We stalked along a forestry track, stopping now and then to glass the fields that border the woodland. With the cover all up and the heat of the day, we didn't see much more than a couple of rabbits and some cows.
Back in the truck now and off to our final spot, Barry told me he had a new portable high seat that we could erect and then spend the remaining hours waiting. His chosen spot overlooked a place where fallow had been coming out of the woodland to the fields. We cleared away plenty of hawthorne to expose the tree, and after a bit more "gardening" had it in place. Between us we removed as much as we could that obscured the view, leaving me with a fairly good window, but one or two annoying branches that we hadn't quite been able to reach. As it was a single seat, Barry left me to it, staying within sight and earshot but not wanting to sit like a dog under the seat.
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I sat still and tuned in to the surroundings. I glossed around and looked for likely spots along the boundaries where the deer might appear, all the time enjoying the evening sun. I could hear buzzards calling, and through the binoculars watched various birds in between spying for deer.
As the sun dropped lower my excitement built. I knew that as dark approached the likelihood of seeing a deer increased, as the likelihood of having enough light for a shot decreased. I waited right up until the light had gone, but sadly saw nothing moving. Barry told me that he had seen plenty from where he had been waiting just a stone's throw from the seat, but I hadn't been able to see from my angle. They weren't in range for shooting anyway, which came as some consolation.
So, it was back to meet my wife and break the news that that cement tray in the car I'd bought especially for the occasion would be staying empty for this trip. Nevertheless I had a good time, Barry taught me a thing or two about deer, and helping him with the high seat was worth it for the experience. As I said to Barry, it's not all about shooting deer, especially for a novice like me with so much still to learn.
All I need to do now is arrange a date to go back and try again!
I highly recommend Elmer Fudd for a good day out, he's a decent down-to-earth bloke and I definitely feel like I got value for money from my outing even without a carcass to take home. Cheers Barry!