For various reasons I've not been out with the rifle at all since last January (other than checking zero last evening). Following a call from one of my farmer friends I promised to put in an appearance this weekend. After a short drive I arrived just as dawn was breaking, parked in the chosen field gateway and got the binos out for a quick scan. Although this farm is in excess of 400 acres, very little has not been plastered with slurry since the last cut of sileage last week!
Immediately, I spotted Charlie heading my way through the gathering light. He is a fortunate fox as I didn't want to spoil my chances of a stalk by shooting this chap so soon. When he was about 30mtrs away I blew a quiet raspberry just to let him know he wasn't the only one around so early in the day.
I started a quiet walk through the few fields available, getting to one area where the farmer has been seeing a roe or two. Just as I was scanning the hedge-banks the neighbouring farmer came down in the adjoining fields on his quad to check his livestock. I watched quietly in case he pushed anything in my direction but nothing showed itself so I made my way up to the next field that I hoped had not been plastered in slurry, my nose soon told me I was wrong. I reached the gateway for a quick look and damned if the farmer on the next farm didn't come rolling down on his quad to inspect his sheep. I again watched the boundary hedge to see if anything was disturbed but to no avail. Still standing in the gateway I turned back to see two roe standing on the hedge at the far side of this field approx. 300 mtrs away, beautifully skylined with no possibility of an approach, the buck being fully aware of my presence.
I knew I could get within range by leaving the field (out of sight of the deer), walking up the farm lane, past a house, over a gate, through another field and gateway and hopefully reach the field where the deer were without getting the wrong side of the wind. This I managed and despite a very cautious approach the deer were no longer to be seen. As I was looking for any deer tracks through the heavy dew (mine were plain as plain) going away from the place the deer were last seen, I heard tractors approaching the farm down the main road. I looked across to see two tractors with hedge trimmers and just knew they would be heading to the fields I was stalking. Sure enough they pulled into the field I was in and started trimming the hedge.
I decided to admit defeat and went home for breakfast, disappointed-----not one little bit!! It was great to be out on such a grand morning and watch the sun come up, see a healthy, handsome fox and find two deer where I'd hoped they'd be
Let's see what can go wrong tomorrow morning!!