I'm working a late shift this week so managed to have a look out this morning on the opening day of the roe buck season. The farm I planned to stalk sits on pretty high ground and so is normally the first to dry out enough for cattle to be let out which, as you probably know, puts the kibosh on the roe stalking - hence an early season look-in is always well advised when farmer hates them making holes in his hedges.
First and foremost this mornings sunrise - WOW. Deep red from the outset, misty in the low areas and perfectly still..... at the right time it just seemed to take up the whole sky - that, together with the dawn chorus and I reckon even a vegan could see why stalkers get up so early. Anyway, after a good glass I spotted a couple of roe down the bottom end of the farm and made my way towards them. I encountered two problems, Pheasants and Hares - ive never seen so many on this farm, the hares especially which were literally everywhere. No matter now quiet, patient and tactical I was they conspired to give me away. Anyway, after a very wide detour both the roe turned out to be heavy does so cutting my losses I dropped in at another farm on the way home.
I saw a doe and two bucks from the farm track which were wild as hell - the doe had a big clump of hair and skin missing from her haunch so I can guess why there were so tuned in despite me being a long way off. Naturally the bucks followed her lead and I can see that bloody doe causing me a few headaches later in the season with such a sceptical attitude on life - anyway, no point making things worse in a futile pursuit so I went to a different part of the farm and after a while saw a bit of commotion through a hedge - two bucks which appeared to be squaring off against each other.
They were both decent, mature bucks although one held a bigger body weight and head than the other - I was only really after a cull buck but in the circumstances decided to take the smaller of the two out on the basis that later in the season he was more likely to catch a whooping and be driven off anyway and, after waiting for them to separate to a respectable distance, down he went to a base of neck shot.
I tried to get a pic of the two together but it didn't come out frustratingly - the bigger one's a beauty!
Given that I process a fair amount of my venison myself I got to thinking about what I can do to make my life easier when back in the larder - I found this hozelock pump spray at the local garden centre which is ideal for clearing out the cavity of blood, hair, grass, gastric juices and all manor of other crap that can find it way into a cavity when doing a field gralloch. Worked a treat.