My 1st Muntjac!!

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Well, it seems that deer are quite like busses!! You wait 41 years for your 1st, then the 2nd comes along within a few days!!

I had another kind offer from Andy (CWD) who invited me out at short notice over to his ground near Leicester, which just happened to coincide with my usual Wed night bunny bashing, to see if I could bag a Muntjac. So yesterday morning I loaded up before work and spent the day clock watching waiting for 4pm to come round!

I arrived at around 5.30pm after battling the traffic and after a quick intro, the gear was loaded into Andy's truck and off we set. You know sometimes you can tell when someone is alright and Andy fits that bill. A pro stalker who has shot many 100's of deer who just wanted to give something back and it made a change to get out with a novice for a bit of fun!

We arrived at the ground (1000 acres of mixed woodland) and straight away Andy spotted 2 Munties through the trees as we drove up a track. This is where a trained eye comes in as even though he was pointing straight at them, I'll be buggered if I could make them out!!

Gear on and a quick safety brief and introduction to the (ahem!!) Blaser!!! rifle, we started our stalk through the woods, with a view to ending up in a high seat for the last knockings. Now a word about the rifle setup. I liked it. A slightly shortened heavy fluted barrel, Zeiss scope and (I think) Jet z mod if I remember rightly in .243 cal and a nice light crisp trigger pull. I also quite like the safety catch arrangement, although it takes some getting used to in the field, but it means that with the safety on it's impossible to fire the rifle as although there's a round up the spout, the bolt is not actually cocked until you take the safety off. There must be an underlying reason but I can't understand why they get such a slating, but there you go.

Anyway back to the stalk, we went about our way through the trees and due to the recent dry spell, it was like walking on eggshells across the leaves and ground debris. We got to a bit of high ground and Andy got the buttolo call out to try, with me on the sticks ready. After about 5 mins nothing showed, then as we decided to move away I thought I heard something behind us. Sure enough as we started walking a Munty came across from our left about 60 odd yards away and the blighter had snuck up behind us!! I got on the sticks and Andy tried the call to see if it would stop, but alas it was away.

Now don't they move quick!! Even though it was not far away I openly admit, I had no idea whether it was a buck or a doe as I did not have time to see any clear markings. Andy confirmed it was a buck and the last we saw was his white arris and tail up in the air!!

We carried on through an area Andy had not been to for a while and there were signs and clear tracks in numerous areas, but alas not deer. He pointed out the strong winds were not helping and another lesson learned, they don't like it windy!! It was also gusting around, thus blowing our scent all over the place!

It was decided to get to the highseat a bit earlier than planned so off we headed. We came to a clearing with some young trees and fairly long grass which is ideal for them. Although we were glassing the area all the time, we still didn't see 3 of them until disturbed not 40 yards away and they all went off in the distance. We also disturbed a fox who's days are numbered as it's a big game shooting area too!!

We got to the highseat and got settled and only had to wait about 10mins max when Andy spotted movement in front around 1oclock. Perfect for me being a righty on my side of the seat. Approx 120-130 yards away there were 2, a buck and a doe, grazing steadily along a margin between young and established trees. I picked the buck in the sights, but had to wait until I was happy to take a clear shot through the trees, as there were some thin branches obstructing the shot. Eventually he moved broadside, head on the left side so a steady breathe and the shot was taken.

The recoil of the rifle meant I just lost sight of the strike slightly and I also forgot to re-load straight away this time, but we were sure the shot was good, as Andy only spotted 1 running away. I was certain I could make out the buck laying in the grass where I took the shot, but Andy walked over to make sure while we had decent light in case his dog was needed. No worries though as he returned with the buck and said it was a perfectly placed shot! This time, even though I forgot to re-load the rifle, my heart rate was steadier after the shot, but the excitement was certainly there!!

After the customary hand shake and pics while it was light, Andy showed me his neat and tidy way of doing the gralloch and we settled down to see if any other came out to play, but that was it for the night!! Back to the truck to take stock of my 1st Munty.

It's certainly different to my recent stalks on Roe and Fallow and 'seems' more challenging stalking Muntjac through the woods due to their skittish & elusive nature. I likened it to fox shooting in some ways using the call and having the air of anticipation being static waiting to see if one comes charging out at you!!

I enjoyed the evening immensely and big thanks to Andy again for the invite and hopefully I'll be in a position to return the favours in the coming years!



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