Well firstly I have to say thanks yet again to JC for such a kind offer and for being so hospitable and patient with me.
Anyway some of you may remember a few months back now JC275 very kindly offered to take me on an evening outing followed by a morning park culling and then into the larder to get me up to scratch. Anyway yesterday and today is when I headed down to take him up on his very kind offer.
Anyway I set off yesterday at around 9.30 and 3 and a half hours later after having a small battle with holiday traffic was there, met JC and went back to his to drop my stuff off and get ready for a tour of the estate followed by a short outing to see what buck activity there was as he said the rut was in full swing. So after a look at the estate and park we were out in the woods to see what if anything was moving. We stalked slowly through the woods for about an hour to a high seat were I was placed and instructed to shoot any fallow buck, any munty as long as it wasn't a massive buck or any spiker roe bucks that showed or an old boy, going back that frequents that part of the woods whilst JC and the lad on student placement went to get the car and come and collect me as it would take around half an hour. About half an hour later I spotted the car and unloaded and climbed down from the high seat having not seen anything but pheasants and rabbits. As soon as I was down and they were out there car are was told that we'd made the wrong choice. On the way to the car they had come across a pair of rutting bucks fight hard and then called one of them in to about 15 yards. Neither were shootable but it would have been a heck of a sight but its always the way had I gone with them you can bet something would have presented had I stayed in the high seat but thats the way it is. Anyway, on the way back to the house we spotted a muntjac buck in the wheat. So I got out the car and dropped the bipod and followed the buck ready for if it stopped however, every time it stopped it was only for a couple of seconds and I was never fast enough to get a shot off and as my first muntjac experience and they look small at 120 yards
Anyway, back to JCs house for a bight to eat then we were to head out for the evening stalk. Before I knew it we were out again. We had only been stalking for 5 mins when JC spotted something moving an it was a muntjac then as we were watching this a second one moved just in front so we tried to stalk in to them but this wasn't going to be easy with all the nut shells under foot. With every step we took there was a great crunch no matter how careful we were. Ground was being closed and we weren't far of getting to a shootable position we what I can only assume was another muntjac was just behind us ran creating a bit of a racket scaring one of them off but the other stayed but was on edge. As I worked my way around the bush to get a clear shot it twigged us and was off but no matter the night was still young. We carried on and not 5 mins later we came across yet another muntjac buck but once again, as getting into position, it twigged us and was off so we carried on making towards the high seat. On they way I spotted the top of the back of a fallow but when it raised its head, it was a doe so a no go and we carried on yet again to the seat. We climbed in and settled. After only about 10 mins a muntjac appeared so a told JC id seen it, raised the gun as it was on my side as JC gave a quick whistle and I squeezed off a shot and it dropped on the spot. Perfect. My first ever muntjac and it went perfectly to plan. I was a buck, still in velvet but in hard antler under the velvet. A quick gralloch and we carried on with a stalk to see what else we could see with my fourth deer species in the roe suck with a larder weight of 10.5kgs or 23 pounds.
So on we went and along the we spotted 2 or possibly 3 roe does (one could have been the same but crossed us twice) We also heard a doe calling in the distance which was nice as id never heard one before and just before we got back to the car and stopped for a quick chat a munty doe walked out in front of us in the ride so the rifle was slowly raised onto the sticks as it walked to the edge of the ride and walked along, I could see the doe but couldn't get a shot due to the under growth. Had the sticks been a little higher it could have been a different story. Anyway I didn't mind as I was over the moon with the stalk and my first ever muntjac
Anyway the plan was a morning outing culling in the park so it was back to the house after dropping the buck at the larder for a few drinks then bed for an early rise. So up at 4.30 and a bowl of corn flakes and off we went. At first the fallow in the park were very wary and almost the entire heard was in one group. As time went on the calmed down and JC managed to get 10 prickets down in good time and a good start to his cull. Anyway back to the larder for the gralloch the beasts. It was interesting to have watched park culling and not nearly as easy as i expected it to be.
This turned out to be great practice for me and truly an invaluable experience. It was great because JC demonstrated on the first beast the guided me through the second and helped me through the next 3 I did when I needed it (this got less and less) and by the last beast I was very happy with the results and my confidence in my ability was hugely increased. and I even made a neat job.
Once they were all hanging in the chiller we went and had a late full english and then back to the larder to butcher my munty to take home and see butchery first hand on my part. Anyway I got home in good time and set to work on cleaning up the head and after skinning it (and learning using knives after such a long day isn't such a good idea ) and boiling it out only to find the industrial pressure washer on the farm was on the blink I set to scarping it clean and after getting the most of it off I was informed that our pressure washer at home that broke over christmas has been replaced with a new one I'll give it a quick re-boil and clean it off tomorrow and post pics when its bleach and coloured up if i decide to.
Any I'd like to say thanks to JC275 yet again fro a fantastic couple of days that have proved invaluable in both technique and an insight into how park culling works that i doubt i'd have ever gotten otherwise and, of course some great laughs along the way so thanks again and I hope to see you again some time in the not too distant future