After quite a few visits (and I have seen a few deer) and a few very close calls lady luck finally shone on me this morning. Despite the mist, drizzle and midges I finally got my first deer from the FC patch Where I am a member of a syndicate.
After a long climb up a hill to a ridge (trying to find some wind to escape the midges) I got to the top and stalked into the very light breeze. On reaching the back of the ridge I spotted 2 deer like shapes in the mist. BONUS! They were settled and feeding happily so I got the binos out and had a good look. They were both red stags, one knobber and a big beast, so big that the knobber looked like a shetland pony next to a shire horse! Given the location and the big boy being in velvet that made the choice very easy. I thought, 'no dramas, I will take the small one and the drag should be ok.'
It turned broadside on and I took the shot. There was a good strike and because the coat was wet I could clearly see that the shot was well placed in the engine room.
The bigger stag crashed into the plantation, probably leaping over some of the fully grown trees he was huge!
I followed up as the smaller one had looked as though he had collapsed at the ege of the trees. Oh no he hadn't. He actually had gone 20m down the hill but was dead. The problem was he was at the base of pine trees with the branches 1ft off the ground. I managed to drag him to a mini clearing and soon realised that even though he was the little brother he was quite big. Full gralloch completed and lower rear legs removed (maximum weaight loss for extraction) and the extraction commenced. After much hard work we reached the top of a prominant firebreak. Now on the map it looked clear down to the road and I could see grass as far as the curvature of the slope would allow. Easy street, ridge the sledge down the hill. Half way down the firebreak closed into full wood . By now you can imagine the amount of sweat and midges, to add to this pine needles went everywhere and the stag kept going the wrong way around each tree.
We finally made it to the road and I discovered that the back door on the wagon had jammed (it really is an old rust bucket) so I folded forward the back seats and must have been quite a sight for a few walkers as I had a pulley system set up to try and force this knobber through a passenger door into the boot of an old discovery while sweating and cursing. I did manage a very charming good morning though
What a list of lessons learned! Most important one If it looks small next to a big stag it does not mean it is small!!!!!!!!!
Sadly too many midges for photos, apologies!