I was asked to look after my brothers house for a week while he was away fishing on the Spey (Lucky B**ger!). His house is surrounded by a friends land and is stuffed with deer, I spoke to him at the beginning of the week and he said I could go and have a look for a few bucks as there were plenty to go at.
My first opportunity was Monday night, that was to stalk a valley leading into FC land, its generally lifting with deer because of this, however doesn’t lend itself to stalking due to it being so overgrown. With the wind being light and variable, I knew that the valley itself could be a nightmare as the wind swirls around in there anyway.
I decided to stalk along a thick hedge and if I had no joy, to sit and wait on a large tree stump overlooking a woodland margin, which I did.
After about an hour of glassing the wood edge, I saw one roe doe, she looked like a barrel, and so I imagine will have dropped this week somewhere. After a while, another doe came out of the wood to feed with her, this one looked like a youngster, she was smaller and wasn’t pregnant (could have dropped already, or not at all?). I though the chances of a buck sniffing round would be fairly high, so I continued to watch them feed right underneath a high seat. (I had chosen not to use this as getting to it quietly was tricky and the view wasn’t great out of the high seat as it hasn’t been pruned this year).
I then heard a lot of thrashing in my 3 o'clock position, further along the hedge, so I rose up onto my knees, there I could see the silhouette of a deer’s head through the long grass. I slid backwards out of the hedge and sat for less than a minute, when a very nice buck stepped out of the hedge (he had followed the hedge line from the wood up towards where I was sitting) and onto the edge of the field, perfect broadside at about 100yds, so sitting and using the bipod, I sent a round into his shoulder, I saw a nice plume as the bullet exited. The buck leapt and ran about 30yds, before doing a small circle and then dropping. After waiting a few minutes and still watching the buck though the scope, I went to where I had shot him, to be honest, there wasn’t a great blood trail, a few pins and a few bits of blood, but not that great. Anyways, I knew where he was so went over to him. Was very happy with the shot placement and upon gralloching, found that it was a perfect heart shot, with basically no heart left.
It was a long carry back to the house, about 1 mile up the side of the valley, but well worth it! He weighed 42lb in the larder, ready for the game dealer. His head was good, although on closer inspection he had a small 4-5mm hold in the base of his RH antler, just above the coronet, which went into the antler, where there was a large void in the antler. The only thing I can think of is that an insect had burrowed into the antler while still in velvet and exited once the bone has hardened? Anyone come across this before?
I went out on Tuesday night, this time stalking another woodland edge and within literally 5 minutes of leaving my brothers house, I saw another doe stood grazing on the grass. After a few minutes, I spotted a young buck with her, but behind some brashing. They were about 200yds away across a grass field, which had one large sycamore in it. After waiting 10 minutes, the buck wasn’t moving into the open, so I decided to get a bit closer, using the single tree as cover. Once I got to the tree, he was about 100yds away, but still not in shot, the only thing to do (light now fading) was to get some azimuth on him. I did this by crawling along a slight dip out to my right 2 o'clock, which took me out to the side and closed the range further. To be honest, I was surprised they didn’t spot my fat ar*e sticking up out of the dip! Anyways, I got to within 50yds, with a clear shot and good back stop so I dropped him with a neck shot. The doe didn’t look twice and was away into the forestry, he laid kicking for a while, once he’d stopped, I approached with caution, didn’t want him getting up! He didn’t. This one weighed 31lbs ready for the dealer and had a small four point head, not fully out of velvet.
The stalk was fantastic... It was great to stalk into a deer from that far out with very little cover.
I should go house sitting more often, maybe around 1st August, considering I saw about 30 fallow within 100yds of his house, including some nice bucks!
Thanks for reading, be interesting to see if anyone knows why the decent buck had a hole in his antler.