I once heard a statistic that the average success rate in this stalking malarkey is 1 in 3 outings, well, after 8 outings I finally shot my first fallow.
(I've shot munties on my own land but 'free' stalking doesn't count - and in these instances I was operating a 1:3 success rate)
I've been over to the Euston Estate, Bunwell Wood, Devon Deer and a couple of weeks ago I hooked up with Glynn at Holkham Estate, all wonderful 'stalks' in their own right and again thanks to everyone who has hosted me, but alas all fruitless outings. Just to tease me further Glynn drove me in and out through the herds of park fallow and reds before and after my outing with him . (He has a great set-up by the way, highly recommend a visit if you're in north Norfolk).
Anyway, last weekend I headed over to GAP180 courtesy of Munty1 for some cull fallow and possibly a munty or two. What a great set-up, excellent 'lodge', accommodation, great (I mean **** ) food (thanks Alan) and an opportunity to meet fellow SDers (50/50, IanF, etc. you know who you are...) and other stalkers.
So we headed out:
Friday night (didn't see a thing except a beautiful sunset and a bloody dog doing laps of the field I was overlooking from the highseat);
Saturday morning (didn't see a thing, especially when the pea soup closed in);
Saturday evening (finally clocked some fallow doing approx 50mph along the skyline behind me and a munty which escaped at about 180m); and finally...
Sunday morning, what a beautiful morning... of course there was no pressure being that it was my final outing of the GAP180 visit.
I remember it vividly, "BOYS... BOYS" being yelled (Munty1) from the yard and I'm thinking to myself, "who's making all that noise, not time to get up yet... feeeeccckkkk", we were supposed to be up 30 minutes ago.
Dressed in 30 seconds, rifle, kit bag, in the wagon and off back to the seat I'd had the night before. Settled into my seat and watched the world waken up. About 06:30 I clocked a munty at about 200m. I was tempted to maybe take a crack at it if it came in closer, but thought I'd rather hold off and bide my time for the elusive fallow. And glad I did.
At about 06:50 a solitary fallow doe popped out of the woodland about 220m away. Initially it set off at a race across the open field and I though "feck, she's just going to sprint across and that'll be that", then she stopped, still at about 180m... I waited, and she trotted a bit further, stopped, then a bit more, all the while I was fighting to keep my pulse from making the cross hairs jump 2 inches every heartbeat. When she reached about 150m she stopped, so did my heart, everything went silent. And then everything seemed to go into fast forward... crack, the 100gn Fed .243 hit home, she bolted about 10m, did a pirouet, threw her head to one side, looked at the sky and collapsed. Then it was no longer silent, and my heart was no longer stopped, it was racing like a wild thing... woohoo!
And just to prove that the deer didn't give a hoot about the report of a moderated .243 a munty popped out after about 5 minutes and pottered across the field (with a great looking head). I followed him, thinking, "what a bonus"... that is until he walked behind a raised bit of land and all I saw as he sauntered off into the woods 50m further on was his antlers bobbing up and down as he wandered along.
To cut a long story short we headed back to the larder and I gralloched her under T's watchful eye. Was very pleased to see a perfect shot resulting in a decimated heart and all other organs and bodily parts intact. She weighed in at 72lbs (no head/feet/innards).
Many thanks to all the guys at GAP180... I look forward to visiting again in the not too distant future.
(the white spot is a zoomed in photo of the fallow from the highseat)