I’ve posted a few times about how things have been going since my DSC 1 so I thought I’d do a post about my first deer.
I’m from the East Midlands but this weekend Mrs DB and I took our Niece camping at Rosedale Abbey in North Yorkshire. On the off chance I rang John Robson from Yorkshire Roe Stalking to see if there was any chance of a stalk. An outing was booked for Saturday evening. I explained that I don’t have my own rifle yet and had not shot a deer. John was very relaxed and said that would be fine.
So Saturday evening came. I met up with John and we headed onto the ground we were going to stalk. John explained that he’d been up there the day before and had seen three Bucks (a pricket, a 4 pointer and a 6 pointer) and some Does.
We had a quick drive round and glassed a couple of woods. John then set up a target. I fired a couple of shots sitting down and one standing, both off sticks. My experience of different rifles is limited but the stainless, synthetic Finnlight seemed pretty good to me and I felt comfortable with it.
We then set off on the stalk. John explained that there would be two phases to it; a circuit around the perimeter of a wood followed by sitting and waiting in a likely spot.
We spent about an hour moving slowly round the outside of the wood. There were fresh signs of deer but all was quiet so we moved onto the spot were we would sit and wait.
We set ourselves up in the undergrowth on a bank next to one of the gullies that cross the area. There was a wood in the background, an area of tussoch grass in the mid ground and an open area in front of us.
I’d only just got myself comfortable when John spotted a doe on the edge of the wood. She was quickly followed by the largest of the bucks that John had seen the day before. The buck started to make his way along the edge of the wood. I was lined up on him but John told me not to rush as he’d make his way through the long tussochs and into the open ground in front of us. The buck obliged and I watched him through the scope as he made his way closer.
He was about halfway through the rough stuff when he stopped and started to look directly at us. I’d been adjusting the sticks and I think he’d spotted movement. At the same time a second Doe appeared from the wood and started running about all over the place. She skipped in and out of the woods a couple of time while the Buck watched us and her in equal measure.
Eventually the doe started to graze and the Buck calmed down and continued towards the open ground. He emerged into the open and I new this was my chance. I could see him but there were some blades of grass in front of the scope and my view was a bit blurry. He took a few more steps and then stopped to graze. John said “take him now” and I squeezed off the shot.
The next few seconds seemed to take minutes to pass. The buck jumped and did a couple of turns, before lying down. John glassed him and seemed happy that everything was ok. We set off across the field.
My heart sank when we got to the buck. He was on his side and there was a wound (which turned out to be the exit) further down his flank than I was expecting. I thought I’d pulled the shot a bit and gone through his gut. John explained that he wouldn’t have gone down like he did if that had been the case. When we turned him over the entry hole was pretty much where it should’ve been and I was very relieved. The gralloch revealed that his rumen, bladder etc. was all intact. His heart had been shredded by the bullet and was in several pieces.
The above is my account of what happened. What I can’t really put into words are the sensations and emotions that went through my mind during the course of the evening. It was a mixture of excitement, apprehension, responsibility, elation and reflection. My main thought at the point of squeezing the trigger was “make sure you do it right and don’t wound him”. At that point I became acutely aware of the brevity and responsibility of the situation in a way that I’ve never experienced before.
Many, many, many thanks to John for an experience I will never forget. I hope there will be many more. If anyone fancies stalking a Roe in Yorkshire I cannot recommend John highly enough. There is more to guiding than knowing the ground and the deer. Quickly assessing the person being guided and giving them confidence is vital and John got the measure of me within minutes - he’s a true Pro.
Apologies for banging on but as you can probably all tell, I’m still very excited and haven’t stopped smiling since. I’m not a whizz on IT but I think John can post some photos in due course.