Well Thursday saw me back on my ground in West Sussex with my mind set on looking for a buck that I had considered worthy of a medal status.
This particular buck had been coming out of a large piece of woodland that borders my 2,500 acre lease and ad been noted several times, but always in the morning.
Thursday evening I decided to make my way to the area with a plan of waiting him out on the opposite side of the field. The distance across the top of the field is about 160yds and he had a habit of always coming out in the far corner. The evening proved fruitless and apart from the appearance of 3 does the buck did not make an appearance.
I decided to re visit in the early morning to see if he would come back to the area. The weather was set fair and warm and I had high hopes.
My alarm clock went off at 3.45 and after a quick cup of tea in the bothy I made my way back to the area. Parking the truck about 2 fields away, and whilst assembling my kit and putting the harness on Todd, I looked round to see a Fallow pricket eagerly watching my every move at about 120yds. We don't often see Fallow on this side of the estate so it was slightly suprising.
On nearing the entrance to the field I could see one doe in the wheat feeding and another on the hedgeline right where I intended on waiting. That's not a good start, she moved off barking and I settled into the hedgeline and sat Todd down and made myself comfortable.
Action started almost straight away with 4 does in front of me, but on the far hedge line, my hopes were rising as the wind was fairly consistent to my left side and I was hoping that I would at least see the buck.
I was not to be disappointed, scanning the far hedge line with the Zeiss bino's I could clearly make out the back of another beast. Could this be him.............. raising its head from behind the long headland grass I could see the white tips and I stared in amazement at the head on this stunning buck. He is very grey in the face but the antlers are about 6 to 7 inches above his ears and perfect in form.
He started to chase one of the does round the field edge for about a minute or so, and she was having none of it. Eventually they settled down but still on the other side of the field. Too far to shoot as they were both covered by the standing wheat. The doe started to feed into a flattened area and mad about 20yds towards my position, the buck was very reluctant to follow and for a time I had the cross hairs on his head, as that was all I could see above the wheat. Some how I had the feeling he knew I was there, although I was well hidden in the thick hedge and he certainly had not winded me.
After about a minute his head went down and from that point onwards that was the last I saw of him. I waited until most of the does had moved off and quietly stalked over to his last position hoping he may have laid down, but the buck had melted away back into the wood.
It was an exciting morning, "no Cigar" as they say at the end. Still one has to admire such an old cunning buck and I am sure I have every chance of running into him again this year or possibly next?
Bucks such as this do not get big and old by being stupid, and I take my hat off to him. The rut is on the verge of breaking out down here, and the remainder of the weekend with clients showed plenty of does about but no bucks in attendance.
We had a chance at another very nice buck which again I had not seen before and was quite an exciting stalk. With the rain just starting to fall and the heavy cover it was heavy going and the deer are only moving for about an hour in the evening and morning.
I hope you are all enjoying the Roe season and my very best wishes to everyone.