Last five days spent in Dumfries stalking roe doe's in what can only be described as artic conditions. Three days in, with plenty of deer spotted, it seemed that it was going to be one of thos trips. The snow had a hard layer of ice on top and was literally like walking on cornflakes, in three days at least a dozen deer were bumped before being able to get close in for the shot. This wasnt helped by the fact that there was absolutley no wind to help cover some of the noise. Wed decided that a bit of highseat work combined with numerous layers and a good deal of endurance was the order of the day for wednesday. It was a case of sitting in for aslong as possible but with temps being subzero all day this proved challenging.
Wednesday day sees me in a high seat by half one, this is a tower highseat and has a cracking view over some clearfell all the way to the shoot boundary. By half two I noticed some movement to my left, up with the glass and what do I see? Charlie, at half two??? After brief consideration I decided that the round in the spout had Charlie's name on it. I squeked him in on the back of my hand to about 120m at which point he stopped to figure out just what I was. Backstop, safety off and a loud report from the unmoderated .308 and he dropped on the spot. A very healthy looking dog fox, my first, and hopefully the jinx was broken.
Thursday afternoon saw a breeze pick up along with the temperatures, what difference it made. I stalked up from the forrestry track using a drainage ditch to gain access to a ride I knew which lead to a large open glade. I slowly made my way up glassing all the way with my mate and the dog. At the top of the ride we decided to split up. I went left and followed the forrest edged to another glade that opened out. I got my back to a big dark sitka spruce and set up the sticks deciding to stand for twenty minutes and really glass the glade. I saw a Doe with dependant young, deciding on the youngster first I took a heart lung at 80m.
Now an admission of guilt, I totally forgot to re-rack while watching for shot reaction and missed a perfect chance to take the doe aswell, she stopped in almost the exact spot I had taken the first shot but having suddenly remembered I was busy cycling the rifle while she jumped the wall and headed into the forrestry. Ah well lesson learned.
The youngster had bolted from the shot, I was confident of a good shot, o just stayed where I was till my mate and the dog joined me. We gave it a further 15 mins (half hour total) and then headed in. I found the spray with big chuncks of lung tissue across the snow. The dog was little needed as snow is amazing for showing trails of all kinds but we worked him and recovered a small roe buck, not very old with pedicles that could be felt just under the surface. The dog got a few select cuts from the gralloch as reward. Job done and light fadig we were back in the pub for quarter past five.
Saw at least three dozen deer in the five days, my mate took a few more on the friday which we stalked in from 500m. The thaw helping stalking immersureably. I have to say as difficult and cold as it was I learnt more in five days in the snow than I can start to explain. Evidence of tracks and rides, alot of deer and fox movement as well as stoats an rabbits. A great week even if the caravan was a little on the cold side!!