Well after having such a successful first stalk it was with great excitement that I went to bed for a couple of hours sleep to be up and out again in the morning. for first light so I set my alarm for 2.45 to be met at 3 by mark. Luckily I awoke at 2.40 naturally and had time to grab a cup of tea before mark was there and we were off out. We started by going to the bit of ground we'd been at the night before to see if anything was moving and to let a bit more light as we were a bit early but nothing was obvious so it was on to a new different bit of the estate growing plenty of veg and quite a bit of fairly new plantations. We stalked around the established wood the ground where I had had the 2 the night before for a quick look around to see what was out and about. Just pulling into the area there was a small buck and a doe on the road ahead of us that got spooked. As we pulled into a field he spotted two more does and a small cull buck but as it was early on we decided to carry on and try and find a six pointer as he knew there were a few bigger but no medal old boys nocking around. So we parked up and set off on the stalk. when we were around half the way around the wood a large looking buck with dark antlers ran out from the plantation into the main wood and then proceeded to bark for about 10mins in which a doe and younger buck barked back at him so we thought by this point there was little point staying on this area and as we were walking to the truck mark froze and i followed suit. There was a spiker in a bit of fairly young plantation he shouldn't have been in but unfortunately he was sky lined so no shot could be taken. Ah well back to the ground we'd been on last night once back at the truck having bumped a could of does clearly on edge after all the barking. Just as we were leaving the ground there was a young six point buck out in a field so stopped on the sticks but he was at an awkward angle so no shot on that one and mark was happy to leave him as he showed great promise for the future.
So back to the ground from the night before and mark explained we would stalk the perimeter and get to some good vantage points in order to see what was showing. over a hour or two we made our way around this bit of the estate bumping 2 bucks one cull and one nice six pointer with long, dark tines but he didnt stand still long enough to get a proper look at with the binos let alone get a shot at.
We headed back for some breakfast and then I was to be shooting pigeons and a field of lettuce that the farmer had been complaining to mark that was being hammered. Anyway it wasn't that busy on the field and i shot 20 but should have been 30 and had an enjoyable day and mark picked me up at 3 and showed me the patch of his we would be out on on thursday morning and when crossing from one field to the next and trying to miss a irrigation pipe grounded the truck so we waited for his dad to come and drag us out and in the end it was only just stuck be we got back to the B&B got ready and headed out for some food and then to the stalking ground. On the way to get the food just at the bottom of the field near the B&B he spotted a roe so we doubled back and started to stalk in to see what it was. It turned out to be a smallish buck with a slight malformed. His brow tine was forked and one side, possibly both it was hard to make out as he was always moving his head but we decided he was most likely a 7 pointer but he lay down in the wheat and wouldn't stand to mark barking at him. so we gave up and went to get something to eat then went to the ground we'd been at that morning and stalked around it and nothing was out so soon moved on to a new wood in the same patch with a small clear fell in that he was told had been drilled with cover crop. We stalked in quietly and headed up to a vantage point to scan as it hadn't been drilled as the cover was up. Mark spotted a doe and as we rounded a corner a buck was up and it stopped on the edge of the wood so on the stick rock steady, fine backstop, cross hairs steadily on the heart/lungs and I was thinking right, now squeeze the trigger but, my hands weren't doing as I was telling them to I was panicking as I knew he'd move soon and was thinking just squeeze the trigger why aren't you squeezing the trigger when suddenly i snatched at at pull in the gun up and to the left and shouted missed instantaneously as I knew thats what i'd done and mark confirmed this and i was left bewildered as to what had just happened. I knew id missed and i knew why but just didn't know why id done what i'd done and felt really down and as if i'd failed myself and let mark down as he was a real nice buck and it wasn't like I had buck fever admittedly it was all rushed but thats no excuse and it knocked me a lot. Mark was very good about it but i felt like an absolute cock to put it bluntly. However we carried on and went to the other piece of ground we'd been to this morning to see if anything we had seen then was out.
We arrived and when driving to where we were going to park up mark stopped the car as there was a buck and doe out in a field of wheat. Out we got and the stalk was on. He was a four point cull buck a couple of years old and mark would be happy to have him removed before the rut. However whilst the buck was moving towards us mark spotted a bigger buck and two does further down the field. This was a much bigger buck and so we decided to stalk in on him instead. we got to within about 80 yards of this buck who was occupied grazing and chasing his does and mark set up the stick however this time I couldn't get steady It was a combination of the sticks being on uneven ground, a bit low and me still not being fully confident and I didn't take the shot and whilst trying to get steady the buck spotted us and was off however mark wasn't too bothered as he was a borderline medal and still fairly you with a bit of growth left in him so back to the first buck post haste on the sticks, cross hairs on the shoulders and bang the buck ran about 15 yards and was down. However this wasn't a perfect story as I shot him through the shoulder with a 120 nosler BT that smashed the shoulder to buggery and then exited though the base of the neck at a 90 degree angle to the entry site and when we got to he he was well on to his way to bleeding out but needed slightly longer to do so as we had walked straight to him assuming he was down and out. But that was a buck bagged and it helped slightly to build my confidence back up.
He was a small four pointer with very dark colouring:
Anyway we carried on to see if we could get another buck and mark spotted one a bit too far off as the light was starting to go so we carried on spotting a spiker that we decided not to go for and park the truck up once again and stalked for the last bit of light down the side of a wood and we spotted some movement and froze. It was a buck, this time a 6 pointer I was told but with where he and I were stood I couldn't see his head just should so lined up the shot, squeezed the trigger and this time he dropped like a sack of **** and didn't move and inch now thats what I liked and helped to build up the confidence some more and he was a nice 6 point buck, not big but quite young and both mark and I were happy with the result. It wasn't as dark as the picture would make you think just the flash distorted it.
Anyway I was back to the B&B with two bucks in the back of the truck with both mark and I a little more happy than we had been after the miss and I decided with how the bullet had performed on the first buck ballistic tips aren't for me and It'd be off to bushwear the next day to pick up some more bullets and trophy shields for mounting when I got home and I had a morning off as mark was busy putting his pheasants down but we'd be out in the evening.