We stlll had plenty of light left so with the buck secure in the back of the truck we moved off to try another spot.
Similar drill, we parked the truck inside the field and walked down the top fence line to get the wind in our favour. This field was flatter and the fence we walked was only interspersed by some taller trees rather than a continuous hedge. Wayne had highseats at both ends of the wood edge and we were heading for the far one to sit it out until dark.
This was also a silage field but the fantastic mix of vegetation was like nothing is seen before. No Italian rye grass monoculture here but a real old meadow with a huge selection of species to tempt the roe out of the woodland. The field obviously wasn't billiard table flat as approx halfway across Wayne pointed out the back of a deer over towards the wood. The binos identified it as a doe. Taking extra care we continued on in an awkward crouch, stopping to glass when the hedgerow trees broke up our silhouette. By the time we were around 70 yards short of the highseat the dead ground had opened up enough to reveal 2 other deer, a nice buck and a doe laid down in the grass. The doe stood grazing was noticeably lighter than the buck, almost as if she still had remnants of her winter coat remaining.
We stood up against some trees to see how things panned out. Wayne suggested the deer may feed down towards us into a shootable position ( there were backstop issues here again) or we could wait until the light dropped and scoot across to the wood edge to try to stalk down to them.
It was nice to stand and watch these deer while they fed. The buck seemed to be favouring a hind leg and was slower over the ground than the others. The mature doe had stood up by this point and fed out into the field. She squatted to pee at one point and the buck walked over the inspect, taking in big draughts and lifting his head up to curl his lip back in the flehmen position. I'd never seen this in roe before so that was a treat in itself. A precursor to the rut perhaps?
The he older doe started to move down towards us. Unfortunately the buck didn't seem keen to follow and stayed closer to the younger doe. Wayne tried a series of calls to see if the buck would show interest but unfortunately not. There was no reaction other than a gaze in our direction.
After probably 45 minutes wait the does had fed back to the wood leaving the buck out on the field. The old doe had entered the wood fairly near to us while the younger one lingered on the edge further down the field. The light had dropped sufficiently to throw the wood edge into increasing shadow so Wayne decided to try and stalk into him. We made around 30 yards toward the wood edge, still another 25 yards or so, when a gruff bark from inside the wood suggested that we'd been rumbled by the older doe. What happened next took me by surprise. The doe reappeared down the field close to the buck. They killed around together as if unsure where the danger lay. Wayne started a series of calls which immediately provoked a response. The doe headed towards us with the buck in tow. Once they'd about halved the distance Wayne ushered me up onto the quad sticks while he stayed crouched down. This movement upset the doe who slowed and veered off. The buck was obviously a bit slower on the uptake as he then took over the lead and progressed to under 50 yards. He was now in a bit of a depression with clear green field above his back, so I was happy with the backstop. He went broadside on, right to left, and I fired. There was no reassuring smack, only a crack, and he about turned and headed towards the wood. However the Swarovski scope drew in enough light to show blood pumping from an exit behind the shoulder. He made about 25 yards before falling. Wayne seemed pleased with the interaction with the call and also agreed that he'd thought it was a miss owing to the lack of an impact noise 😳
Wayne went for the truck while I inspected the buck, probably a year or so older than the first with a nice 6 point head. Wayne really was spoiling me!
As wayne pulled up in th truck he gestured behind me, where I saw a deer out in the field back towards where I'd taken the shot. The binos revealed a doe questing around in the grass. Wayne suggested it was the older doe who'd perhaps lost her fawn to the mower and was continuing to search for the source of the sqeaking she'd heard. A pitiful sight to be honest.
Once Wayne had got the deer cleaned and into the truck we headed back to the farm for a beer and a chinwag before bed.
I'll cover he morning stalk in another post.