May as well take the time to type this up as I am doing naff all else.
Have been trying to get one of my friends his first roe for a few weeks but chances have just not been readily forthcoming. Most of the time the deer have been on the other side of the boundary in one area so decided to try a different area of ground to mix things up. Friday evening saw us get to the farm for around 7.30pm. Got everything ready (minus the sticks which I had forgotten) including a quick safety and 'remember what to do when a chance comes' chat and headed off down the path towards an area of scrubby woodland. We cant have walked 50 yards when a scrawny little buck jumped out of the ditch at the side of the track right beside us, legged it up the bank and ran over the hill. After kicking myself for not even using the binoculars yet we carried on to see where it had gone and watched it come to rest in a small group of rocks near the top of the farm. Although getting a shot would be pretty difficult due to lack of back stops and the risk of ricochet, I thought we had may as well try just in case it moved to a better position. We circled round the farm to stay out of view and approached the wee outcrop as quietly as we could. On getting to the rocks I couldn't see a thing so moved just a little closer to watch the buck jump up 10 yards away and leg it down the hill. Nevermind.
Back to the original plan. We circled back round the way we came so we were down wind of the wood and made our approach. On getting there I told my friend to get set up on the strainer post just in case anything jumped up from the rushes as I made my way over the gate. Nothing moved so decided to have a quick look through the binoculars for any movement. Sure enough about 80 yards out I spotted a head though a gap in the rushes. It was a nice 6 point buck but there would be no way we would get a chance of a shot at it with the cover in our way. Any approach would have spooked it for sure so we decided to wait it out to see if it would make its way to the field edge. About 10 minutes passed before a doe that I hadn't seen made its way perfectly through the scrub to the fence edge about 70 yards out. It was constantly looking back and I thought any minute now the buck will get up and follow. The doe was quite content and continued to browse quietly while we watched for a while. I got my friend to look through the scope at it to familiarise himself with what to expect and the aim point on the chest and made sure he was happy with that and the position he had. Then another movement but it was another doe coming down the same route. As I watched her for a few minutes browsing on the low birch leaves I almost missed the buck get up and follow the other two. With the shot imminent I told my friend to get ready making sure he was happy with the stability of the rest, but the buck stopped, still in cover, and nestled back down again. One of the does made her way into the open field and slowly carried on about 150 yards. It must have been another 20 minutes before the buck got back up and headed for the clear area near the fence. I hoped it would stop like the does had but no such luck and it quickly hopped over the fence into the field. I told my friend to action the safety catch and wait for a broadside shot. He was only about 70 yards out but quartering towards us and moving all the time. By the time he stopped and turned broadside he was still 70 yards out but around 50 yards from the fence meaning that my friend had no rest for his forehand and the strainer on his back. I asked him if he was steady enough and when he replied 'yes' I said 'ok, anytime now'. I watched through the binoculars as he sent the shot and the wet from the grass behind it leave a small mist. Unfortunately I saw no shot reaction on the buck. He ran about 30 yards and stopped for a look back. I continued looking but nothing. The buck jogged off to join the doe and continued grazing about 200yards away. After I was convinced there was no damage to the buck I asked about the shot and his stability had turned out to be an issue. That combined with pulling rather than squeezing the set trigger had sent the shot over the top. After a gentle reminder about what we had gone through before the shot and not taking a shot unless completely happy we called it a night and left the buck be. Turns out the sticks would have been pretty handy after all.
We were both free on Sunday night so decided to try again at the same place but aim for the little buck. Having learned from the previous night, we made the same approach and lo and behold, through the binoculars, there was the 6 point buck in the ditch where the wee one had been two nights before. There would be a better vantage point from the field above us so we backtracked and got set up on the bipod in the field, waiting for the buck to get up. With steadiness and positioning confirmed we waited it out. Only the doe beside it showed herself a couple of times for the hour that we waited and as the light was beginning to fade I started to think we may not have the luck this time. To the left some movement alerted us and the small buck was making his way down the field and to the burn side around 80 yards out. Perfect. My friend had seen it and again I told him to release the safety. It took a couple of minutes but eventually he turned broadside and I gave the go for the shot. My friend took a while understandably to make sure he was on and squeezed the trigger. Through the binoculars I watched the buck drop on the spot with a shot taking the top of the heart. This was followed by some pretty heavy breathing from my friend as he reloaded and made everything safe. I could tell his heart was in his mouth, as it should be, and was glad for it. I could sense the concentration he had on that shot and with the moment sinking in, we went to see the buck. My friend helped with the gralloch which in itself was something different for him and we headed back home. He is already asking when we can go again so hopefully that's another person to promote the sport.
Glad to take this one as it had two fairly long thin points. Could fit my hand round it's neck though so pretty scrawny.