Had a trip down to see a mate in Ross on Wye area on Monday. The plan was that I would bag a boar in the evening to replenish my rapidly dwindling frozen stock. We do not tend to use the use high seats, it is all footwork. Getting to various locations while trying to stay on the right side of the wind is bloody hard work there, everything seemed to be against us, the wind was swinging through at least 90 degs in no time at all, the ground was just frozen enough to announce our every step and to top it all my left boot developed an annoying fart with every heel strike even though we were fair creeping along. The rain held of and the temperature never dropped much below a balmy –2 but 6 hours later at just after 2.00am we called it a draw and headed back for a coffee and my nice, long drive back with no boar, oh woe is me! Well not quite because it seemed a long way to go and not accept the invitation to try for a roe. An earlier quick drive over to Wiltshire saw us on some lovely land for about 2.00pm. We stalked into a good, elevated vantage point behind a sparse hedge with a large rising bank behind us. The breeze in our faces looking down onto a patch of land about 450 yards wide and sat neatly between two wooded areas. This had been a previously productive area and everything looked good, even the sun shone for a wee while. About an hour later something caught my attention, just in my peripheral vision two hares lolloped down the hedgerow a long way off to my left. As we watched them we then saw a sodding dog followed by it’s owner walking straight towards the left hand side wooded area, all the way along the far side of it and then straight across the far end of our intended arena, kin brilliant! We held our position just in case this kindly dog walker bumped anything out of the right hand side wood as they approached the top end of it. Half an hour later and nothing doing, dog and owner long gone so we decided to have a stalk through the nice, crunchy leaves of the left side wood. Just as we broke cover three does at full tilt came diagonally across the field, marvellous (not) . We froze and they seemed oblivious to our presence and vanished into the wood. Very slow going through the wood, hoping to get a view of one of the does we had just seen, but about 2 thirds of the way through it we heard a munty barking. We knew exactly where it was but could I hell get a clear shot and off it went. Oh well, it’s not to be I thought as we had started to lose the light but as I panned left I got a hisss from my right to alert me that my pal had seen a roe through the trees and out into the field. Time to get on the belly and get to edge of the wood, only a short distance to the point where I could see not one but three roe does, two were obscuring each other but the third was five yards right and knew something was wrong. The gospel according the leica preached out 176 yards. Further than I usually take a shot but everything was right and there was absolutely no way we would get even a yard closer, I was comfortable and the shot was taken. Bang, thud, flop, just how I like it. After ten minutes we stood up and started to make our way to the doe. I stopped us mid stride, as the land rises back to where we were originally sat I spied two more roe a good 500+ yards away. It was a gamble but sod it we said, “you gotta try” we half stooped and made up ground very quickly while trying to use the over hanging trees to our advantage as best we could. The light was fading quickly which had obviously helped, as we got to the hedgerow between us and them, a buck (he is going to be nice one) and doe. Again we were at the point when one more step would have blown it, she was ranged at 145yards, I was on the sticks with my hip and ribs against the gate post waiting for her to move clear of the buck, she did just that, nothing but steeply rising ground filling the scope picture behind her. Bang, thud, flop. A second in the bag and despite the recent cold spell they were in fantastic condition. Grallochs were by torch light by the time we had collected them and the motor and then off for a sarny and a coffee before setting off out for an evening/night on the boar. The lack of boar was a shame but it in no way detracts from the great stalking had. It is a shame I only manage to get down once or twice year but if it is in his plan then I may have to go look for that buck, it looked very good indeed.
Thanks for reading,