I was out at 5.00am this Saturday morning intending to take a young roe buck or muntjac if the situation was right.
I got to the corner of a field which gives a good vantage point for taking a safe shot and also having a good 400 metres of area to glass. I stood for 2 minutes, out pops a muntjac doe about 150 yards away. She trotted up alongside the hedge and ended up no more than 30 yards away, totally unaware I was there. She looked like a young doe judging by her size. I decided to leave her as the muntjac numbers on this farm are low and I would not mind seeing a few more on this ground.
I then carried on my stalk, walked almost the whole boundary seeing an awful lot of hare, maybe as many as 20, lost count in the excitement due to the rest of the story. I deliberately have not shot any hare on this farm. Since I got the permission on this land 3 years ago I have accounted for over 150 foxes. On one night in particular I shot 7 foxes, but that's a different story. The reason I believe there to be a lot of hare is due to the fox control I have been doing, as when I first stated controlling the foxes the hare were few and far between.
Had pretty much given up seeing any deer and was slowly stalking back to my car, I then spotted a lovely old buck lying down about 200 yards away on the very top of a steep mound. The mound also dropped down rapidly behind him.
I was in 2 minds whether to take this buck as he has a massive 6 point head, which was totally clean of velvet. The position I spotted him would not have offered a safe shot anyway. I have been keeping an eye on this boy as in velvet he looked like he would have a very heavy head, although in velvet they can be deceiving.
I crawled on my belly to about 100 yards away, more to asses his head than anything else, as well as to practice my field craft. I then noticed that he was dozing so, I got up slowly and stalked along the hedge line, I eventually got less than 10 yards away. He was still dozing at this point so was totally unaware of my presence. As he was literally on the very top of the hill, even should I have wanted to take him it would still not have been a safe enough shot. I am sure he has not managed to get to a ripe old age for no reason, as he very cleverly chose his spot to sleep in the morning sun.
He eventually got up and slowly trotted off in the opposite direction and out of view. I was very pleased with myself to be able to get with 10 yards of him without him being aware I was there!! I was laid, sat and stood watching him for a total of 2 hours!! I was supposed to be helping my Mrs give the house a clean and tidy before my mother came round for Mother's Day Lunch. She was not happy I was back a lot later than expected!!! But she had managed to do most of the cleaning before I got back, so result anyway!!
The following morning, I was up at 5.00am again, it was a bit foggy so ended up stalking to the same corner I saw the muntjac doe. I stood and waited for the fog to lift so I could see at least 150 yards. When I was happy I could see far enough I started stalking round the edge of the large field with the big mound that I mentioned earlier. The fog quickly lifted. Whilst keeping to the hedge line I noticed the same back on the opposite side of the field from where I was. I carried on along the hedge line until from the cover to my right out runs 1 mature roe doe and 2 young bucks and a young doe. The youngsters were all chasing each other round and round the field. I watched for a good few minutes before the 2 does and 1 of the bucks started feeding on the hedge on the opposite side of the field to where I was, approximately 400 yards away. The 4th deer, the second young buck made his way back towards the spinney and out of sight.
I carried on my chosen route to try and get near enough for a shot at the remaining young buck. The old buck then stopped feeding where he was and joined the 3 others, guess what, at the top of the mound from the day before!!! I decided to stalk up towards the top of the mound and try to get myself in a position to safely shoot. As I neared the top all of the roe had gone over the top and were now feeding below me.
The 2 does were feeding on my side of the hedge and were no more than 30 yards away. I stood still and waited until eventually the mature doe saw something was not quite right about the realtree camo human shape stood against the hedge. She then strutted out past me less than 10 yards away now, she then caught my wind and trotted off down the field taking the young doe with her.
Where was the young and old buck gone?!?!?!?!?
I walked back towards the very same corner I had seen the muntjac the day before, to my right I spotted movement in the thick hedge about 100 yards away. I set up my sticks as I was shooting down hill with a very good back stop. The old buck then presented himself for a shot as he came out of the hedge. Followed by the young buck, they then slowly trotted from left to right and obligingly the young buck stopped totally broadside, I squeezed the trigger of the Tikka T3 Lite in .270, the 130grain Federal Power shock hit home just behind the shoulder. The buck reacted to the shot as expected and ran out of sight towards the boundary!!!!!!!!
I stood and had a smoke and then approached the bullet strike, there must have been a square yard of pins and paint on the grass. I could also see some good arterial blood so I knew that I had hit the heart/lung area. I followed the blood trail and then all of a sudden I could see no more!! I carried on in the direction the trail had already gone, starting to panic a bit looked back towards my sticks that I had driven into the ground where the bullet strike was. Sure enough the buck was laid dead in some spring stinging nettles, literally laid against the boundary fence. I dragged the beast out and gralloched him in the morning sun, it was already showing to be a nice day at 7.30am.
Loaded up in the roe sack I was off home to finish off the larder work and arrange to get him hung up in a chiller. (Cheers Dunc) His clean weight was 36lb.
I great start to the roe buck season, as you may be able to see from the photo he is almost clean of velvet with just a small amount of velvet between the coronets and brow tine.
I plan to leave the big boy and maybe take one further buck later in the season when I get a very good idea how many are still on the ground.