Finally managed to get a commitment from a guy who owed me a favour, so on Thursday night I met up with him at his house and drove a couple of miles to his stalking ground. I expected to have a guided stalk but was pleasantly surprised when he drove me round the boundries pointed out a couple of high seats and suggested a route for my stalk given the prevailing wind and his knowledge of the ground.
So after arranging where to meet later, I set off on my stalk. The ground is 2000 acres owned by a commercial forestry company but is well broken up by open farmland and patches where the logs have already been harvested. 5 minutes in and my heart sank as I came across a small flock of sheep. Thankfully,after I crossed the next fence I saw no more.
After a short uneventfull stalk I came across the first high seat and decided to give it a try. I sat for possibly an hour with nothing to report so decided to move on as time was getting on and my arse was numb.
Stalked on for a while without seeing anything. I soon found myself crossing an area which had been harvested and found it really difficult to make any progress without making what seemed to me a bloody racket. Hugging the boundry hedge and stopping every few yards to glass the area ahead I made slow progress and I was begining to think that this was going to be have to be put down as another uneventful evening stroll. However, as I spied the small rise half a mile ahead ,yet again expecting to see nothing, my heart missed a beat when I could definately make out the form of a roe deer.
Still unsure as to whether it was a buck or a doe I had to plan my stalk to get myself into a position to firstly determine the sex of the beast and then get myself on for a shot if possible. The ground ahead dipped into a valley before rising up to the hill where the deer stood. It was fairly open save for 4 or 5 trees in a line. I decided to try and put the thickests tree between me and the deer and make full use of the little cover available.
After what seemed like an age I reached the trees and heart in my mouth I raised the binos and my heart sank as I realised that I had been stalking a doe. Ah well I thought a least I've seen a deer and practised a bit of field craft.
I lay behind the small rise by the trees and watched the doe go about her business, hoping that a buck would appear but actually surprised myself by how much I enjoyed just observing. I tried to guess how far away she was with a view to pacing it out later. My guess was around 125m -150m.
After 20 minutes or so I thought I'd better head back as it would be getting dark soon. One last scan before I go - " hang on theres two of them now". Sure enough a buck had joined her. Binos down, rifle up, cross hairs on engine room, safety off BOOOM! Re - load, look through scope again, Christ he's still standing there looking at me. I had effing totally missed, crosshairs on engine room again BOOOOM! Same routine, reload and look again. This time no deer - I had either missed again and he had bugged out or I had dropped him where he stood into the cover as I couldnt see him. So after waiting a short while there was no movement so I made safe and headed down the hill pacing out the distance.
After about 50 paces it dawned on me that I hadn't marked where the beast had been standing and as the ground was so rough I had taken my eye off the area. I was furious with myself. Anyway headed over to the hill and sure enough couldnt find the deer. I must have walked back and forward a dozen times across the couple of hendred yards that I had narrowed it down to finding no sign of blood or hair to indicate that i had wounded the deer and I had resigned myself to the fact that I had missed again when there he was lying in the long grass.
Chuffed to bits I was, whole thing made even better by the fact that I had done it unaccompanied. Sure I had made some mistakes, not having a roe sack being among them. The extraction is a story on its own, suffice to say by the time I got back to the RV point I was soaked with sweat, soaked to the ******** from falling in several drainage ditches, covered in blood and absolutely knackered. But it was worth it.
Forgot the camera but if I can work out how to do it I'll stick on a crappy photo I took with th phone.