I arrived on the farm nice and early the other morning, just after first light, colours were just becoming discernable, but everything still had that washed out, pre-dawn look about it. The stalk started off well when I spotted a doe and a kid feeding in the field next to the hedge I was stalking up. I stayed low so as not to spook them and stalked on past.
I went another 100 yards or so and spied a trio in another field, a doe, a kid and a young buck, unfortunately this field was not on my beat so I just had to content myself with watching them for about 5 minutes as they stooged around.
On the top side of the farm there are a few fields which have beans planted in them, these always seem to hold deer, but the first you usually see is them bouncing away through the crop after you've satisfied yourself there's nothing there.
Well, true to form that's what happened that morning as well. A doe and a shootable buck went pronking off through the beans just as I put my binos down and moved a step forward. They bounced off fairly slowly through the hedge on the opposite side of the field, about 100 yards away. Niether of them barked, so maybe they weren't too alarmed, and I thought it may be worth checking this spot again on my way back.
I stalked on fruitlessly for about another hour and a half and then started to make my way back to the car.
As I got near to the gap in the hadge where I'd seen the two retreating deer. I put up my binos and scanned carefully for the slightest hint of fur, or a horizontal line amongst the verticals of the bean crop. Nothing. I put my binos down, and then caught a glimpse of a greyish patch amongst the stalks which looked a bit out of place. I had another look through the binos and all of a sudden I was looking at the face of the buck I'd seen earlier. Slowly, I let the binos down and deployed my sticks, slipping the rifle off my shoulder at the same time; being careful not to move in such a way as to break my outline or alter my shape. I've always found that if you are careful to move in this manner you can get away with movement, even when the animal is looking right at you. Now, at this point I'd only seen the buck but just as I got my rifle over the sticks and was drawing a bead on the quizzical buck, the doe broke cover from about 20 metres to one side and bounced off about 50 or so yards before stopping and having another look at me. The buck took this as his cue and also started bounding away too. "Oh golly gosh" I thought to my self, but then he did exactly the same as the doe, and stopped to have another butchers at me. Unfortunately for him, the low patch of the crop he chose through which to get a better look at me was just low enough to show his ribs so I poked a 95grn .243 through them and he fell down without so much as a kick.
On examinatinon of his antlers, he seems to have had a few tussles this season. His antler tips are scratched and chipped, part of one corronet has been detached and has healed at a funny angle. Also one of his back tines is snapped. On seeing this and realising how hard won his patch and his doe had been, I actually felt a bit sorry for the old lad, so decided I'd turn him int a skull mount instead of just burrying his head with the gralloch.
Half his liver has given me 2 good breakfasts, the other half went to my nextdoor neighbour as we have a venison/trout barter thing going on through the year.
August has been a good month so far.