Just got back from a new lease in SW Scotland and thought i would tell my tale. Some of you probably remember me trying to find a stalking syndicate and i have done, thanks to the hard work of Griff. Its appreciated!
I drove up after work on Thursday evening, with the idea of being ready to stalk Friday morning, evening, Saturday morning and RTB Saturday lunchtime. I arrived at the lodge at 2330 and was in bed, but brain active thinking about stalking by 0030.. Alarm goes off at 0300 and my initial half-sleep thoughts were 'its too dark to stalk, maybe another 30 mins in bed..'' I slapped myself around the chops with a lukewarm shower and glad that i didnt hit snooze, it gets light so quickly!
I was at the ground by 0345, wind perfect for the way i wanted to move though the ground and it was now just light enough to see. Within 30yds of starting the stalk, i noticed a doe feeding in some long grass, completely unaware of me, i watched for 5 minutes then while she had her head down, I moved on past her.. I made my way up towards the first wood, when i got to a small cottage on the corner of the wood, i stopped to look up the side of the wood, nothing, but then as i took the bins down, i saw a roe stood next to the gate into the cottage garden, no more than 20yds away.. He had seen me, but wasnt sure, him sniffing the wind. I had the rifle up on sticks and crosshairs over his neck. He was a small buck with long antlers but no weight to them and no real tines. My next thoughts were that i was stood 10 yds away from a cottage at 0415 in the morning and being that i dont know the owners views on deer stalking or having their sleep disturbed, I thought better of pulling the trigger!
The buck didnt seem that bothered and started to move away up the wood side. I took the opportunity to beat feet down wind and into a few fir trees, where i could access the field alongside the wood, which had a small dip and a few sporadic trees leading up to the woodside where the buck was. I got into the dip and started scanning for where i thought the buck would be, no sign.. Bugger, but then as i glassed down to where i first saw him, he was back within 10 yds of where i first saw him, now moving up the woodside, looking for a place to leap over the fence. The shot was no good from my position in the dip as he was moving.
As he moved behind a willow, i took the opportunity to move further across the field and towards the top end of the wood, where theres a gate he may go for and also a couple of big oaks i could use as cover. The plan worked, i got onto the tree and within a minute of me waiting, he emerged from the other side of the willow, still looking for a place to cross the fence. He paused for a second, standing not quite broadside, slightly quatering away from me.
I took the shot, but as i was in the process of pulling the trigger, i thought, the crosshairs are too far forward, but it was too late to stop pulling the trigger (i know this sounds a bit weird, but it was a split second thought/decision.) As i thought, the bullet struck in the middle of his shoulder, he jumped and fell over, he didnt get up. I watched him for a whole 15 minutes as i knew it wasnt a heart shot. On approach, there was a great blood trail, even i could see it clearly (not that it was required.) The bullet had entered throught he middle of his RH shoulder and exited at the front of his LH shoulder, clipping the front of the lungs.
He was a good looking slender buck, seemed very healthy and probably about 2 years old. I hung him off an oak limb and dropped the gralloch out of him. His kidneys laced in fat and me thinking of venison dishes. He had a few small scabs on his back and on one leg, with a more prominent one around the metertarsal gland. It looked like hed had a scrape in a fence.
I carried on stalking as it was only 0515 by the time i had finished gralloching the buck, but no more bucks were seen, saw a few does, all without a care in the world it seemed.. I picked the buck up and went back for breakfast and dropped the buck off with griff to keep cool.
I went out again on Friday evening on the ground, seeing multiple does but no bucks. The midges had a feast on me, even though i had repellent on. I didnt notice them biting at the time but as i sit here writing, my forehead is itching like mad and covered in bumps!
I got home at 0200 Saturday morning. This morning, i went to see the local butcher to see if he would mince and make burgers and sausages for me. He said he would butcher the whole thing, as long as i skinned it.. Good idea as i dont have a cold store at home to hang the animal for a week and also no mincer. I started to skin the animal this avo ready to take to the butchers, but when i got the skin off the haunch, it became apparent that hed been in a RTA. His haunches were badly bruised and had a yellowish tinge to them in areas, also one side of his ribcage was the same, running up and over his back, also lots of small individual bruises on the other side of the ribcage. When looking at the skin from the other side, you could see large scars where hes fallen on the road. There was nothing really salvageable from him as it was so badly bruised and because i havent come across this before, thought better of putting my BBQ guests off game for life with dodgy meat.. The buck had no evident broken bones.
I disposed of the whole animal, gutted that it was a wasted of what could have been some really nice meat as well as no burgers or sausages or fillets for my BBQ this weekend.. Im in two minds whether it was a good thing that he has been taken out or whether if he hadnt been shot, he would have healed completely. Either way, i had no way of telling that before i pulled the trigger. Humpff!