I don't know what it is about my timing, but the first time I went out on a stalk with Ian it was minus HOW MUCH? ! snow on the ground and half the country frozen. this time at least it was warmer, but the weatherman was not optimistic (read torrential rain and storms!) Ian on the other hand was confident that there would be a window of opportunity on Saturday, so my wife and I struggled down to the west country through driving rain and spray to a nice warm lodge and a 05.30 start gulp! (not one for any time with 0 in front of it )so early night and even earlier start, Ian being the gentleman he is even brought a cup of tea for me with him. we made our way to one of Ians permissions, after a while it became apparent that this was not going to be a stalkable proposition (well the fog had to go somewhere!) so we moved on to another location, this involved a stalk along the edge of a field, almost ended by the antics of a Doe in an adjacent field who decided to do an impersonation of MC Hammer whilst letting the world know there were strangers about
unperturbed, Ian led the way along the edge of a wood and up to a gently sloping field where his sharp eyes spotted a family group of 3 Roe about 300m's away, looking ghostly in the mist. we took cover behind a earth pile and waited to see if they would come closer.this they did, but stopping at about 240m , the kid and the Doe moved close into a hedge, leaving the buck about 15m out into the field, after about 10mins of this first one then the others settled down and looked set for the day well nothing for it, after half an hour it was obvious they were happily settled so it was up to us to get closer, well, belly crawling through wet grass and mud was fun but at least it got us a bit of cover (which I for one no longer needed being covered in Burrs much to Ians amusement )
we sneaked along the hedgeline trying to keep out of site of the Doe and kid, and got a bit closer than we had been. I set up for a shot and waited, and waited.... these buggers were definitely not in any hurry to move! Ian tried walking out into the field to see if they would see him in the hope the buck would stand and look... nope! we had been wasting our time hiding it seemed! they were not worried OK next suggestion I try and stalk in close, so rifle and sticks in hand, forward I go 20m's later the Buck wakes up! no hesitation, its every Buck for himself and before the Doe and Kid knows whats up, he's had it away on his toes! well thats it for the morning.
Back to Ian and Jo's and something to eat, and Ian is kind enough to talk me through some reloading, letting me "make" the rounds for the afternoon/evening stalk, this being close to a school it required a moderated rifle and In was keen to use a new rifle he had not long bought. so the afternoon started with a zeroing session at a range which unusually for someone more used to the genteel surrounds of Bisley was full of bullocks well not a big problem, we just had to keep the curious from getting in front of the target area and from trying to eat the gunbags well zeroing done off we jolly well went to an abandoned fruit farm where Ian has put a high box hide (important with the forecast threatening storms of biblical proportions for around 19.00) we sat down for about 10 minutes and Ian decided that hanging branch in front of my side of the hide had to go, so out came the saw and bye bye branch, we had just settled back when as if from nowhere.. there was a Buck! range 50-60m and well backstopped, a quick "OK take the shot when you are ready" from Ian and "bang" the Buck went down like it had met the 18.45 from Bristol! not only my first Buck but with my first reloads now time was of the essence, with armageddon promised for just after 19.00 and the light fading ,the Disco was brought up and a quick Gralloch was demonstrated, then off back to base (the first rain drops fell as we were getting into the Disco!) well the weather man was right it howled all night, and in the morning I got the field butchery 101 class from Ian , and we said our farewells. A magnificent weekend and a real result, me chuffed? well.... maybe