Left from Kent at 11.30am on Friday looking forward to a few stalks and an evening of laughs with Stone. I then proceeded to sit in the car on the M25 for 3 hours and did not arrive as Stones until 5pm. Never mind, we were still on track for an evening stalk after quickly enjoying a venison and boar curry prepared by Stones better half!
We had a short drive to the first block of land that Stone had decided to try and we proceeded steadily around a large field of wheat. There were a lot of signs of chasing but no deer. Then eagle eyes (stone) pointed out a doe's ears poking up above the wheat about 200 yds away. We stalked around the field until we were within 20 yards of her. We could not see a buck with her but stone suggested that I set the sticks up just in case. She bolted off across the wheat but there was no buck with her. She was a very healthy looking young Doe and she stopped some 100 yds away so that she could take a good look at us. We jumped back into the truck and travelled a few miles to the next block. As we left the truck and came around the first corner, I was just popping a round into the rifle. Suddenly there was a buck running straight towards us.What did I do? immediately dropped my sticks and got in a tangle with my sling! Really professional but don't worry, it gets worse! Stone made a noise at the buck and he stopped some 15 yards away. He then immediately bolted and Stone stopped him again about 50 yards away with a quick blat from the buttalo. From the position I was standing, it was a bit obscured by some thistle but, in my rush to get a buck in the chiller (and impress Stone with my fantastic marksmanship), I quickly decided on a neck shot. I set the trigger and placed the cross hairs on his neck. Crack!!! The buck took off at high speed across the wheat field, completely untouched by my 95 grain round which I think was diverted by some thistle but it could have just been me!
A bit embarrassing but no real harm done so I did'nt beat myself up about it too bad. I was just trying to embellish my excuses to Stone as we walked around the next corner when we bumped another buck. It ran to about 75 yard away and paused. I had the rifle on the sticks but he quickly slipped into the hedge and across the ditch. Stone gave a couple of bleats with the buttalo. Within 10 seconds we could hear him crash about in some trees about 6 yards to our right. We both thought he was about to pop out right next to us!! The buck then moved back away from us and Stone gave the Buttalo another couple of gentle bleats. The buck immediately jumped back over the ditch, through the trees and trotted out into the wheat field. He stopped for a second and was about 40 yards away. I set the trigger and squeezed the round off. This time the round connected and the buck dropped on the spot. He was a good heavy six pointer that was starting to go back so a good animal to cull out.
Stone thinks that the 2 bucks had been fighting just before we arrived which would explain why they were both quite agressive in their actions. He also thinks that he saw a doe in the hedge row.
After the gralloch, we left the buck and carried on around the field. We saw a nice doe with a fawn but no more bucks. I am pleased to say that we shared the drag back to the truck (I think Stone was worried that I might have a heart attack if he left it down to me!) and then drove home (via the fridge). It was still 21 degrees when we got back to the truck so you can imagine how sweaty and tired we were. A cold beer was well overdue!
Following a few beers and about 3 hours sleep, we set off again at 4.20am. We found another Doe (which eagle eyed stone spotted again) and she let us walk all round her within 30 metres as we made our way around the corner of the field. About a mile further on, we were walking a hedge row with the wind all wrong when we stopped to glass the field. Stone whispered "Don't move!" A buck had appeared about 30 yards to our left and was stood looking at us over the wheat. I slowly placed the sticks and raised the rifle but before I could take the shot, he moved off. Once again Stone used the buttalo to stop him and he turned to look at us. I set the trigger and, as Stone was just saying "leave him to get in a better position" I had let the shot off! Another Miss!!!!!! I had run out of excuses after the last time so I just quietly stewed in my own stupidness! Stone did not show any frustration and, all I can say is, if you are going to make a fool out of yourself while out stalking, I can not think of a nicer chap to do it with!
We continued to walk the fields for another hour or so, spying a Fallow Doe and then a pricket but no more Roe.
I had really looked forward to stalking with Stone for a number of reasons. Not just because it would be good to see the old boy but I also felt I could learn a lot from him and from my first proper Roe stalk. The main thing I learnt was that I should not be so bloody complacent! I have been shooting my rifle quite a lot lately but always at 100yds plus. Suddenly I am confronted by closer range shots and everything I have learnt, went out the window! The shots went high. Luckily they went high enough to actually clean miss the target but it could have been worse. I also learnt that it is more important to take extra time to find the right shot that to snatch a shot in a hurry! Another thing that I learnt was, if you are going to miss a deer, make sure you are stalking with Stone. He did not show any frustration or seem cross in any way. We covered many miles in the two stalks and even with only 3 hours of sleep, his enthusiasm never wained.
Stone, you are a true gent and friend. Thank you!! Now let the piss taking begin!!!!
p.s. Get bidding on Stones Stalkng on the March and Shoot auction. You will not be dissapointed!