I have to go up to one of my permission every day to check on some Fenn Traps I have running there. When I go up there I often take my .270 with me as I have permission to shoot deer on that permission and as yesterday offered reasonably fine weather wise it seemed like a perfect excuse for a steady and quiet stalk!
I have a feeder set up on this permission along with a perfect vantage point to view the feeder close to where I park my car so it is an ideal chance to see what deer there using the feeder and what condition they are in!
I have found through observation that when deer are near the feeder it is usually around lunchtime so yesterday at about 11.30 I got my self ready, packed my rifle, moderator and ammunition etc and off I went.
The weather was reasonable with a light but cold breeze and a slightly overcast sky.
On arrival I parked the car in it's usual spot and quietly got my coat and boots on, screwed T8 on the rifle, loaded a magazine, picked up my binoculars and made my way to my "viewing point"!
On approaching my "viewing point" I could see that there were no deer near the feeder so I "glassed" the areas where I know that the roe on this permission often like to lie up. I spotted the shape of what looked like a roe lying up in a bit of a dip in the ground behind a very small spinney, so decided that a slow steady and quiet stalk was in order, even if it meant that to get anywhere near this deer and have it in a safe shootable position without making my presence known to it I would have to take the long way round - Even though this deer was no more than about 150 yards from me from my view point it would involve a stalk of around 400 yards and leave me without the wind being completely in my favour. However that was a chance I was willing to take as I had nothing else to do till the rugby came on!
The ground in the woodland is extremely wet which makes the stalking hard, but no great hardship there although it was a little cold it was a pleasant enough day for a stalk.
I took my time and spent around half an hour steadily making my way around the wood to get to where I would be able to see if the deer was still in the same position, stopping regularly to glass each area of the wood as I went. Eventually I got to about 60 to 70 yards from where I had first spotted the deer and saw that it was still in exactly the same place. However I did not have a clean line of fire from where I was standing so had to move a little to get into a better position to see the deer clearly and to decide if it was a shootable animal. This took me about 5 more minutes using a steady start, stop, watch and wait sort of movement so as not to alert the deer to my presence. Several times it did look straight towards me so I had to instantly "freeze on the spot".
By now I was only about 50 yards from the doe so I knew that the slightest wrong movement could give the game away!
Once I was in a position where I had a perfectly clean and unobstructed line of fire I watched the animal for a couple of minutes through the scope with my rifle on the sticks "at the ready".
While I was watching the deer several times it looked straight towards me as if it "thought something might be not quite right"! At no time did it make any effort to get up to look around which left me wondering if something was wrong with the animal! The only way I can describe it was that the deer looked what I would describe as "very lethargic".
Through the scopes I could easily see that this was a youngish doe but as she was still lying down I could not see if she was carrying any visible injuries. However she seemed didn't seem to be anywhere near as "alert" as I would have expected - She didn't even attempt to get up even when I made a bit of movement while she was looking straight towards me. With this in mind I made the decision that that this was a beast that warranted shooting!
She was still lying down and not looking like she was going to get up and looking straight towards me so I had no option but to take a head shot - I know some might condemn me for taking a head shot but I am comfortable with head shots and in this case there was no other option so please remember that before trying to put me down for taking a head shot!
I waited for what seemed like an eternity (In real time I guess it was just around 30 seconds, but it seemed a lot longer) till she turned her head sideways on to me and I gently squeezed the trigger and let the shot go.
The crack of the shot rang out through the woods and the deer's head instantly dropped to the ground so I knew the shot had been good. The only movement was a little kicking and twitching of the legs which stopped after about a minute or so. I waited for about 5 minutes or so and then approached the deer and unloaded the rifle.
On close inspection she was only a yearling but she was in very poor condition. (I'm not keen on shooting yearling does on this permission but in this case I believe it was well warranted) The shot had been perfect and hit exactly where I had aimed it, straight in the temple just behind the eye and had exited on the other side of the head and buried itself in the ground behind where she lay.
I checked the feet first (After putting on a pair of latex gloves) and all looked normal, nothing to cause any concern there so I rolled her over and checked for any possible "unseen injuries". There was nothing visibly wrong with this doe except for the fact that she had no weight about her (And a damned big hole through her head) so I decided to bleed her out and do the gralloch there and then.
The inspection of the gralloch showed nothing abnormal, no signs of anything wrong with the lungs, liver, kidneys or heart and the lymph nodes and everything else looked perfectly normal and there was no signs of any parasites! - There was nothing at all to suggest that there was anything at all wrong with this doe "health wise" except for the fact that she was very under weight and quite lethargic!
With the gralloch completer I bagged up all the internals and the head and carried everything (Including the carcass) to where I could pick it all up with the car.
She was then taken to a friends where we could do another close inspection of the gralloch etc and then do a "suspended skinning" and dress the carcass.
After inspecting the gralloch again and found nothing wrong we then skinned the carcass and checked for any signs of bruising to see if maybe she might maybe have been clipped by a car or something - There was nothing showing to suggest this might have been the case - No bruising or bite marks or anything like that!
With that done we both decided that there was no reason to not allow this beast to enter the food chain. We dressed it and washed and bagged all of the individual cuts. Some of the meat is now in my freezer (I'll be having some medium rare loin fillets for dinner some time this week - Which I am really looking forward to) and the rest of it has been given out to my friend and a few of my elderly neighbours who I know enjoy a bit of venison now and then.
All in all it was a rather unexciting but steady and successful stalk with what I think was a good animal to cull out and some very happy neighbours, even though I missed most of the rugby!