At short notice I was able to escape to our syndicate permission in Ayrshire this weekend. The 4 ½ drive soon passed and, with a rest stop on the way for Bonnie (thanks Dennis Groom) to relieve herself, I was looking forward to spending some more time or ground were at the very least the dog would get to smell deer.
Arriving at the gates to the permission I loaded the rifle and let the dog out while I unlocked the gates. She did her usual run/sniff/run bit then stopped dead in her tracks as she winded something further into the permission. Now it should be remembered that this dog is only 8 months old and very much a ‘work in progress’ at the moment so, with half a brain cell thinking that there might be something to this reaction, I put it down to youthful exuberance and loaded her back in the truck.
After about 500m up the track I spotted a movement at the edge of the forest on the left and immediately stopped the car and reached for the binoculars. 80-90 yds away was a young red stag, probably one of last years calf’s looking back over its shoulder at the truck. I quickly got out the truck and took the rifle out, rested it on my hand on the edge of the truck door and watched as it proceeded to trot up the middle of the track. He turned to the right and stopped at the edge of the ditch that runs the length of the track. Realising he was about to jump the ditch and disappear into the forest I took the shot as he stopped. He dropped like a stone out of sight into the ditch. I quickly grabbed my sticks and made my way up to get into a position to observe the deer.
About 60 yds away now and I could see the deer lifting its head then dropping it onto the right hand side of the ditch bank so decided to shoot it again just to make sure. Up on the sticks then, with its head away from me and on the ditch bank, I put a shot into the back of the head (slap bang in between the ears). On inspection the initial shot was high and further inspection when butchering showed the first shot had gone through the top of the right side shoulder blade then through the spine and out lower down the left side shoulder blade. I was happy I’d taken the second shot as it may only have been a temporary paralysing shot and blood loss wasn’t huge from this impact.
After gralloching and loosing a kidney (not one of mine!) to the dog it was into the back of the truck and up to the caravan, not the most challenging stalk but a good start non the less.
After unloading all the paraphernalia needed for a weekend away (why DO we take so much ‘stuff’?) it was immediately back out to a new roe box that had been put in place the previous weekend on the other side of the estate. After about 1½ hours I hear the sound of a vehicle coming up the track into the forestry area I’m in. Hmm, thinks I, who the fecks this?
Windows down, music playing, a chap carries on up the track passed my truck. Well that’s this evenings stalk Donald ducked as its now 9.30pm so I decided to scoot round the other side of the track and cut him off to see what he’s up. Coming up to his car I get out and politely ask him if he has permission to be in the forest. ‘Yes mate’ says he ‘I’m bird watching’, time for a pint thinks I.
Red yearling stag, over 110lb (bottomed out my 50kg scales). Tony
Part two to follow.