I had my first level two witnessed stalk last tuesday.
I'd booked the AW and the stalking permission a couple of days before and spent the next couple of days worrying about what questions I'd get, whether my stalking was up to the job, I guess everything everyone else things of prior to their first witnessed stalk.
I collected the AW from his house and was informed that the stalk began from the moment I picked him up.
He then went on to ask various questions about the land we were to stalk on, what the target species and age group etc I was after. What arrangements had I made for the carcass etc etc .
I thought I managed to answer the question quite well.
Arrived at the ground at 7.30 as it was just starting to come light. The chap that has the permission then arrived and would be joining us for the stalk. Two was going to be difficult enough in the woods and three even more difficult.
Upon arrival at the start point I unloaded the gear I wanted to take into the wood with me. I'd carefully been through everything I'd be likely to need the night before and placed everything either in the roe sack or in the pockets of my coat.
Heavy drizzle was to be the order of the day, which I dont mind stalking in as it seems to make things a little easier.
I unloaded the rifle, sticks etc and loaded the magazine, had a minor heart attack when I thought I'd left the bolt at home then placed the bolt in the rifle but didnt put one up the spout just yet.
After checking the wind direction I decided on the route we would take and set off to the downwind side of the wood.
With the wood to my right and walking below the headland to keep us hidden from the entry point into the wood I krept to the top and glassed the first pretty open part of the wood to make sure I wasnt going to bump anything once we crested the headland.
I then informed the AW I was going to load a round and engage the safety as we entered the wood.
I began to stalk the wood which is a mixture of hardwood trees in a fairly steep valley with a small burn running through the bottom.
I kept just below the skyline on the eastern edge of the valley and glassed periodically for any signs. There was a lot to indicate deer presence with beds and recent crotties showing there were a few about.
After about 20 mins it was suggested that I might be better half way down the valley but I disagreed as I knew the land and the number of downed tress through the centre of the woods. I did consider moving to the bottom of the valley and following the stream as this would allow me to see both sides of the valley but could leave any deer spotted skylined so decided to continue as we were.
Another 10 mins and I stopped dead, a buck and a doe went bounding away, I put the gun on the sticks in case they stopped but they were off over a small ridge. What a shame says I (it was something like that I'm sure) As they hadnt barked I thought there was a good chance of catching up with them further on so continued to quietly stalk.
Another 10 mins and another dead stop, there was a nice buck ahead, about 70yds away and some movement in a holly bush just above him.....another buck, fgs. We stayed and waited for them to move off so I didnt disturb anything further on. !5 mins stalking later and I stopped dead again, glasses up.....another buck! about 60yds away and looking down to his left down the valley. I'm thinking hmmm, is he looking at a doe? We waited and sure enough behind a tree lying on the ground is his doe with a yearling does about 15ft away from her also laying down.
Getting to my hands and knees I made my way to two fallen trees without raising the alarm and lined up on the yearling.
As she was quite happy laying there I put the crosshairs on her neck and pulled the trigger.
I immediately reloaded having observed the reaction to the shot as the doe rolled down the hill with no motor controls at all.
We then chatted about how long to wait, how to approach the downed animal etc when to my amazement the buck returned with the doe in tow only 40yds away!
I decided not to take the doe as I'd taken the yearling and another doe the week before from the same area and I'd rather shoot another yearling than the 2-3 year old pregnant doe.
After 10 mins we made our way down to the very dead doe and proceeded to follow best practice confirming death and then bleeding and grollaching the deer. Mesenteric lymph nodes looked healthy.
I then safely extracted the kill to the car and into the blood box for transportation to my larder at home.
Back at home I removed the head and legs and went through the head showing the sub maxillory and retropharyngeal lymph nodes too.
I'd kept the pluck and went through the portal lymph node too and inspection of the heart and lungs.(we'd done this at the grollach site but went through it again in the larder)
Several more questions followed regarding larder and Health and Safety regulations and then my AW was taken back to his home.
Just two more to do now then its submit portfolio time.
The chap that has the permission was pleased I'd decided not to take the pregnant doe as there are plenty more yearlings to take and we dont want to reduce the population too much just yet as the numbers are building up nicely and there is plenty of food for an increase in numbers.
Brilliant day with plenty of deer showing and a good result for my witnessed stalk.