I've not long got back in from a great stalk on one of my permissions and came back empty handed due to a very basic mistake on my part - A mistake that I should have known better than to have made!
I spotted the doe in the woods on my way up to the permission and stopped to check her out through the binoculars. She was definitely one of the older ones that I have been wanting to get a chance to cull out all through the winter.
I carried on up in the 4X4 to where I usually park the motor and got my rifle set up and my boots on. What wind there was was just right, blowing from the area of woods where the doe was straight into my face. Perfect I thought! I started making my way down into the woods at a snails pace stopping every few yards to check that there weren't any other deer near me which might bump or spook and give the game away.
Eventually I spotted the doe a few yards from where I had initially seen her - She had her head down and was still happily grazing, totally unaware that I was there and that she was now in mortal danger! At this time I was about 70 yards from her and had a perfectly safe backstop along with a good clear line of sight with nothing to obstruct he bullets trajectory! Noting could have been better for me I thought, this really had been a text book stalk!
I very slowly and steadily got my rifle set up on the sticks and started concentrating on my breathing. Then made the fatal mistake!
I tried to adjust my stance a little and didn't look down at where I was moving my feet to and stepped on a dry stick about an inch in diameter. The stick broke in two with a fair old crack! The doe straight away heard the stick break, spotted me and was off like me scolded whippet. All I could do was wish her well and curse myself for making such a silly mistake!
The lesson I have learned this? In future I need to watch where I am putting my big clumsy old feet in future, but then again I do wonder how many other stalkers have allowed themselves to make the same little mistake which has cost the a deer after such a pleasurable stalk?
Edited to say that it was a ROE doe I was after!