With a 'squeak squeak' here and a 'squeak squeak' there..
Had a phone call from our shoot captain this morning to let me know that charlie had been to visit our poults which have been out for less than 24hrs.. Not great news, he was asking if i could go and erect a high seat with him, then wait out for the little sod to return. Plan was actioned, high seat was set up next to the pen and after a quick cuppa and a bun, i was stalking my way to the highseat.
Sat there, i watched squirrels (thank their lucky stars i didnt have the .22!) and also an old hare came and sat right under me, he looked the same size as my black lab pup! I thought it was good to have him there as he would probably hear or scent charlie well before me..
Darkness came prematurely in the wood, getting beyond a joke by 10pm. I saw one deer shadow move in front of me but no signs of foxy loxy.. On the way out of the wood, i decided to detour incase charlie was mousing in the long grass. The light was vanishing as i walked so picked up the pace a bit to get to the likely area.. I stepped though a gateway and just caught out of the corner of my eye, a shape down the hedge back which wasnt normally there. A quick step back behind the hedge and then a slow crouching move forward with the binos (minox 8.5x52 HGs, bl**dy brilliant in low light) to spot a fine looking buck wandering away down the hedge at about 120yds. I got the rifle up onto the sticks and edged my way forward to where i could get a shot, if he presented one.. He kept walking.. at about 150yds, he stepped into the hedge and disappeared.
My mindset was that i wasnt really bothered about taking the buck although the shoot captain had told me to if i saw him, being it was getting dark and he wasnt going to be an easy one, i thought i would have a play with my buttolo.. So with a single soft squeak in my pocket, almost instantly, the buck sticks his head out of the hedge.. Another 30s and i give another couple of 'pheeps' in my pocket.. He now steps out into the field, around 150yds.. I was thinking that im not going to risk taking a shot off sticks at dark at 150yds, so i will just call the buck and see what happens, if i feel comfortable then i will take him..
'pheep pheep.' the buck trotted back towards me to about 80yds and stopped, looking around and seemed to have the enthusiasm of a guy whos just had a chinese after a long day and would rather watch MOTD, but knows he shouldnt pass up a jump!
Oh go on then, he trotted faster towards me, closing through 50yds.. He was now looking big in the scope and very clear. At 30yds, i had to whistle otherwise he would have tried to mount me im sure! He stopped, not seeing me and looked into the hedge, showing me his neck and front of his chest, so i slipped a round into his high neck..
My heart was thumping out of my chest with excitement. Ive never called a deer with anger which has lead to a kill, so i was chuffed to bits! I shot him after 2200 and had to gralloch in the twilight.. He was a stunning buck regarding condition, great big set of nuts, really thick set and would think that his cool larder weight will be 45lbs at least.
It seems at the moment that if i go for foxes, i shoot deer and when i go for deer, i shoot foxes..
Welldone lookd like the rut is starting with you where abouts are you because there are simular reports and the rut looks to be at least 2 weeks early and it will not be the first time its been missed due it starting early.
I'm in North Yorkshire, around 20 miles north of York. I don't think the rut is underway quite yet because of the way he acted. Guess we shall se things heating up in the next couple of weeks!