I have decided to post a write up of this mornings stalk. If it makes me look like a sentimental old git then blame Stone for suggesting that I post it.
My son is 9 yrs old and although very intelligent, is not a natural academic so we try to give him plenty of encouragement at school. The way that we do this is offering him a reward for a good week by letting him come stalking with me at the weekend. (My wife seems to think that this should be a punishment not a reward! But still...) Anyway, the last 4 outings have been blanks and yet, when I went out on Tuesday without him, I caught up with a young buck. Up till this morning, Aaron had decided that he was serious bad luck and if I wanted to grass anything, I should not take him with me. No matter how much I tried to explain that we all have lean spells, he would have none of it.
Anyway, we left the house at 5.20am and arrived at the farm for 5.45. The conditions were perfect. The signs on the ground had been great mid week, the rain had cleared and the breeze in the perfect direction to enable us to cover the most ground. This was the first time that just the two of us had been out. Previously, we had always had company and so this was a completely new experience for both of us.
We stalked around the farm for 40 minutes or so and had not seen any sign of either fallow or roe. The pheasants seemed to be on the ball and very ready to voice the concerns over our presence. Aaron was starting to lag behind and you could see in his face that he had written off the morning already. This made me want a result even more than normal.
We came along the side of a wood and I stole a glimpse around the corner. The relief that hit me when I immediately saw 2 fallow grazing contentedly was amazing. I motioned to Aaron to drop low and peep around the corner to take a look. It turned out that there was a herd of a dozen or so bucks feeding and we were able to take a good look at them. There was 4 good bucks in the group and I decided to take one of them. He was not the biggest but was a good cull animal. One of his antlers was a bit fish tailed and he looked to have a few years under his belt. The herd were grazing at about 220 yds so decided not to attempt to stalk closer and to just set the sticks up slightly out from the corner of the wood and hope that the bucks did not notice me move into the open to take the shot.
Aaron moved back behind the corner tree and I opened the sticks out and stood up to take the shot. As I relaxed behind the scope the weight of my arm and the rifle on the sticks caused the telescopic leg to collapse about 10" and made a shot impossible. I quietly cursed and eased myself back behnd the trees again. I sorted myself out, locked the two sticks again and repeated the exercise. The bucks did not notice me and my beast moved very obligingly to give me a broadside shot while he chewed the cud. The 95 grain ballistic tip found its mark, the buck ran 15 yards and then toppled. The other bucks ran on for another 100 yards and then turned back to find out what the comotion was all about.
From behind me I heard a quiet but definite "Yessssssss!!!!!" I think for the first time in the few years that I have been stalking, there was someone happier than me that I had cleanly grassed a fine deer on a beautifull spring morning.
The only downside of the morning was that, due to the amount of rain we had had the previous night, I had to drag the buck to the truck. I wish I had taken a picture of Aaron carrying my sticks, sweatshirt, Coat and my rifle on his back while his old man huffed and puffed through the field. I am defnitely built for comfort not for speed!
Anyway, this mornings stalk will always remain in my memory as one of those special times and I think that it felt the same for Aaron. Precious moments indeed.
One happy lad!! He has now admitted that maybe he is not bad luck after all!
Not a bad buck either really!