Last weekend I took my father stalking in West Sussex with Sikamalc. Apologies for the photos, Malc has some better ones that I have not yet got.
With a 4 hour drive, we decided to travel down in time for an evening stalk, followed by a morning stalk. It saves that travel the night before and an exciting wait before actually getting out stalking, so I left at 8am and picked my father up en route. We stayed at a B&B recommended by Malc ran by Angie Hill. Perfect location and just what you want during a stalking trip. We checked in with the B&B and headed to meet Malc and Darren, had a brew and discussed the plan. After a couple of brews we headed out, I went with Darren and Dad went with Malc. Unfortunately I saw no deer (maybe a fleeting glimpse of something running but neither of us were sure), Dad saw some Roe but nothing presented.
I was hoping to at least see my first wild fallow, after 5 trips with various outfitters and friends I was yet to even see one. Unfortunately it was not to be on this first stalk.
We then had dinner at a local pub and a beer before heading to the B&B, ready for an early stalk. An early start followed and after some discussion over a brew it was decided Dad would go with Darren and Malc and I would go look for my fallow. We arrived at the spot a bit early and waited 5 or 10 minutes. A little wait and I got ready before setting out on my first proper woodland stalk. After 15 or so minutes Malc stopped and as he did, I saw it - my first Fallow. This one was white and stood out well, after the shot it became apparent she was with a few other common ones that hid a bit better. It was a bit of a rush to get the shot, the deer was quite close, maybe 50 yards and I had a bit of a fumble getting the rifle on the quad sticks in the process bumping my stock on the sticks, alerting the deer. She was qaurtering, alert and about to take flight so a bit more of a rushed shot than I am used to, but it hit its mark, a bit far forward in the shoulder to allow for the quarter but it did its job. She ran behind a bush but being white we soon saw her, maybe 10-20 yards from where she was shot.
Another new aspect of these bigger deer was my first drag! A week after a chest infection and lets just say it was hard work! But I got her back with a bit of help from Malc, maybe half an mile, and we went back to the larder.
On skinning at home (as a hobby chef, taking the carcass home means half the fun is still to come) the 150gr SST had made quite a mess after hitting the shoulder and I lost most of one but also the breast and ribs were a mess. All that means is I will have to get another now to try Fallow rack of ribs! This was only my second deer with the 308 and so far it does seem to make a bit more mess than the 243 but hopefully it has just been a couple of 'unlucky' placements.
Thanks to Malc and Darren, we will be back. Great trip and some valuable lessons learnt, which is what it is all about for a novice. Next time I will leave the quad sticks and just take doubles, leave the bipod and be prepared for quicker shots in the wood than normal. I am also in need of a deer drag, it would have been emotional if it wasn't for Malc's dog lead come drag!
Oh, and I need a bigger fridge if I am ever going to shoot anything but a Roe or Munty again. Getting home after a long drive and having to skin/joint the beast is a pain!
Oh, and unfortunately this time round Dad was unsuccessful, he got on the sticks at a Roe but before he got a shot it was off. He is having a bad run of it at the moment but it must change for him soon.
Have a great Christmas and may the deer look after you in 2016.