Yesterday I was out in a fenland wood looking for Muntjac. I had been stalking the paths for some time when I decided to try some calling.
Owing to the regeneration of the woodland understory, good calling spots are few and far between.
I got set up with the rifle on the sticks, my back against a tree, the north wind in my face and started calling with the cherry-wood.
After a few minutes I saw a movement to my right as a deer went from one piece of cover to another. As I had only a glance, I thought it to be a Muntjac Doe. I got ready and eventually it peeped our from behind a tree. The cross hairs were on its neck when I realised that it was in fact a young Chinese Water Deer. We do not shoot the CWD in accordance with the landowners wishes.
I watched as the deer came steadily towards me, crossed a semi-dry ditch and stopped next to my leg. I stood stock still, hardly daring to breath as the young deer examined my boots and trousers, before moving off. I could easily have touched it. What a treat. I have had them walk within ten feet of me but never so close that I could have touched one.
This morning I was out again before the dawn in another of our fenland woods. About half past eight, I decided to try a spot of calling.
As soon as I move off the path into the woodland block I bumped a Muntjac Doe who moved off into cover but did not flag nor bark.
I got set up with my rifle on the sticks, back against a tree and the wind in my face, waited a few minutes, then started to call.
I was looking ahead when I saw a movement out of the corner of my left eye. I glanced at the movement and there, not ten feet away was a Muntjac Buck, looking straight at me. Once again I dare hardly breath and stood stock still, as the slightest movement would have seen him off in alarm
He stood there, licking his nose and stamping his front feet alternately but softly. There was nothing for it but to wait and see what he would do.
Eventually he turned and walked away the way he came, towards thick cover.
When he had gone about twenty yards and his head was behind a sapling, I moved and took the shot into his ribs. He dropped and didn't move, which surprised me as I though his adrenalin would have been flowing.
I reloaded and thinking to myself that there was a Doe somewhere nearby, after a few minutes, I started calling again. Within a few minutes I saw the slightest flicker of an ear from the same direction that the buck had appeared from. This time I was ready and kept her covered with the rifle until a slight movement gave me the opportunity of a clear neck shot. She too dropped to the shot and lay still about ten feet from the carcass of the buck.
Calling Muntjac has always fascinated me, however I have to admit that I am little wiser regarding what I am saying to them, than when I first started.