About a week ago I was talking to one of my land owners and the conversation got round to free venison (as it does).He asked if it might be possible to have some venison, so I said that I would cut up one of the next animals I shot and make some available to him.
Well I dont know about you guys, but normally as soon as I am asked for a joint or two of venison by a land owner, that is the 'kiss of death' as far as stalking success goes and normally it is days or weeks before I see a suitable deer to shoot, let along shoot one.
Well I was supposed to be working from home today, however since it ended up being such a nice afternoon,I decided to grab the rifle and head off to a bit of permission I have locally to try my luck.
I normally find that cold & bright conditions are quite good, and as I pulled up at the farm,I started up the boundry track when I noticed a roe doe stood in some stubble turnips in the field next door (not my permission)
The owner of this particular farm had rung me up a day or so ago explaining that the deer were coming out of the woods and heading across his field to get to the turnips, so I thought this end of the farm was my best bet. On seeing this first doe in the next door field I decided to finish my stalk back at these field to see what was emerging onto the turnips.
I parked up my jeep near the hedge at the end of this boundry field and noticed another doe layed down next to a drinking trough back in the stubble turnips again.
She though at first like she handn't been seen, but as it dawned on her that was taking pictures, she got to her feet and a second deer rose further down the hedge.
Sadly all these animals were over the boundry, so I decided to make my way to a high seat overlooking a bracken covered bank leading up to a small wood . I glassed the field below the bank, and slowly made my way up to the seat. I guess I had been up the seat about 15 minutes when this little fellow emerged and started to feed along the bank.
I watched the young buck feed for a bit but then became aware that the wind had swung round and was blowing my scent into the wood. the young buck caught a whiff of my scent and disappeared back into the bracken, so I decided to stalk through the copse next door,slowly heading back towards the larger wood and the stubble turnips. The copse is on a bit of a hill, and I was no more that about 80 metres in the wood when I bounced an animal off to my left and up a steep bank. the deer barked twice and ran off only giving me a momentary glimpse of something moving through the dried bracken.
I was cursing my bad luck, and knew that the barks probably meant that any deer in the wood were probably aware of my presence, but decided to continue the stalk back towards the turnips as the light began to fall. I stalked around the top of the hill and started to descend the other side back towards the edge of the copse.
Pigeons clattering out of the trees made progress slow, and I felt sure that I was on a fools errand, with no chance of success. I saw that the hedge around the copse was approaching, a little below me, so i glassed it ahead, although I didnt expect to see anything. I was just lowering the binos after the sweep ahead when a deer walked past one of the gaps in the hedge. I recognised the deer as a young doe, and though "I could be in with a chance here"
The deer was feeding on the off side of the hedge and I could make out its shape in the gaps as it fed along the hedge. It seemed to be moving towards another big gap in the hedge, so I quickly got the rifle on the sticks. The deer walked into the gap and started feeding on a low bush. the range was about 50 metres or so and as the deer moved more or less broadside, stretching its neck out to feed I fired at the base of the neck. the deer collapsed instantly and then all hell broke loose. At least 5 other deer ran out from under the hedge and I caught shapes running right and left. 3 animals ran out into the field and became visible over the top of the hedge. I was still a bit above the hedge on a bracken bank, so I had rising ground below me.I quickly chambered another round, and followed the deer as they ran off. The three deer stopped out in the field and tail end charlie(well charlotte actually ) turn back offering a broadside shot which I took at about 80 metres. the noise from the 150 grain bullet slamming into the young doe was really loud and she instantly dropped like she had been hit by an express train.
All the animals cleared the area, and I walked down the bank to the hedge, I went straight to the gap and there lying in the gap was a tiny runt of a roe doe, probably the smallest I have ever shot. I gathered her up and walked to the gate into the field. Once I had the two animals collected.Although it was getting pretty dark, I knew of a view point over the corner of a nearby field that was worth a look, and I was on a bit of a roll, so I thought I would give it a go .
I was over looking the corner of the field five minutes later, and spotted a fox in the old wheat stubble at about 150 metres or so. It was way too far off for a shot in the half light off sticks, so I thought as a last resort I would try and squeak it in. Well, a couple of amateurish strangled sqeaks later had the fox running towards me a full pelt . It stopped at about 50 metres, and as I was following it through the scope, the scope started to mist up with my breath, I thought , "all this and I cant bl**dy see through the scope!! Typical !!I continued to stare through the scope and through the mist I did get enough of a glimpse of the animal to go for a shot. The fox dashed off, keeling over as it went, finally collapsing after about 20 metres.
So two does (albeit small ones) and mr foxy, not a bad afternoon, pity they all dont go like that