Seeing DEEANDDON advertise stalking VERY locally to myself I thought it was time I took the plunge and booked my first stalk with him.
We met at 7am in a local village where introductions were made and I jumped in his Landy and headed to check out the first spot. Being my first stalk Simon had said at first I would shadow him and he explained the in and outs of safety, deer behaviors etc etc. This was great, as we walked through a cut barley field to the high-seat to wait for the sun to come up. We stayed there for a couple hour but nothing showed. The wind was swirling so we though they might have caught our scent.
After this we had a cuppa to warm up a bit, was a lovely 2deg that morning. We then drove around a bit looking around his shooting grounds and discussing stalking more.
We then went to a quite, open spot so I could shoot some targets and show Simon I could handle a rifle and shoot well so as not to leave a wounded deer. I did just that putting 3 shots at 100yards into less than a 1/2" group off the bonnet and a 1" group off the sticks. It was really interesting as one of the targets was an image of a Roe and on the reverse it showed the internals so you could see where you were hitting the organs etc.
Later in the day we stopped for lunch in a layby. Once finished we drove around a little more then stopped up at the same layby we had lunch in. We got out and made our way into a field with two small wooded areas either near corner. We must have walked all of 1min before spotting 5 deer in the wood on the left. This was thick so there was no shot. Not expecting them so close to where we stopped for lunch they caught our sent and bounded across the field into the opposite corner.
Knowing there were deer there we decided to continue in this area and made our way up the left of the field to circle round to the other patch of woods. Once we had reached the other end of the field we spotted 3 deer out in the adjacent field. They hadn't spotted us but something was spooking them. Turns out there was someone walking on the road at the top of the hill. These three deer ran down the hill and into the same woods as the other deer had. We took the decision to make our way slowly down the center of the field to where two hay bales had been left. The were about 60yards from the woods and we had hoped the deer would make their way back to the first patch of trees or beyond into a turnip field.
After about 30mins a deer did begin to make its way across as we thought, but it came out right beside the road where we had parked so there was no safe shot to take. It was also up over 250yards away. We watched the deer and hoped more would come out. Another hour passed without anything but some rain. As the light began to dim another came out in the same place but this time it made its way along the trees directly towards us. We watched is get closer and closer however it turned out to be a buck so we just watched it. A joy to see.
We reached that golden hour when things "start to happen" and like a light being switched on all of a sudden the other deer all came out. But again in the adjacent field. They were running and jumping, looked like they were having a great time. Two deer were closer in, but the other side of a stone dike. We quietly turned the rifle and watched them (the young buck was now just behind and to the right but luckily hadn't sensed us). To our luck the two other deer crossed over into our field and into a safe shooting position.
Taking my time I aimed on the first deer. Waited and waited for a clear broadside and when it appeared I took my shot. The Doe dropped instantly to the ground without even a twitch. The other deer looked up and wasn't sure what had happened. I reloaded waiting for another safe shot and took it. Again this deer dropped instantly.
What a rush! And I was over the moon to say the least. My biggest joy was dispatching the deer so cleanly and quickly. I would have hated myself if they had ran off with a poor shot. We waited a while then made our way over. Counting out 130yards. The deer were dealt with and then we headed back to store the carcasses in Simon's chiller.
I cant thank Simon enough for such an incredible day that I will never forget. To top it off I'll be taking a couple haunches to roast on Christmas eve.
I shall definitively be booking another outing with Simon and would recommend a stalk with him to anyone at any level of experience.