Well here we go ....
Yesterday Morning around 04.30 I set off to meet Brough from the site who had kindly offered to take me out on some of his ground for some stalking. I arrived at the nominated pub on time and had a few minutes to spare to finish my coffee before Brough arrived. "Good Mornings" were exchanged and i was asked to follow him to the ground, I spent the next ten or so minutes driving down dark country lanes trying to keep up with "Jenson Button" in a Van .
We arrived at the location, parked and I started to get my kit ready, loaded the mag and off we went. We walked for about ten minutes through the darkness with only a shadow in front of me to follow, I lost my footing a few times due to the mud but stayed on my feet! It wasn't long before we arrived at the bottom of the High seat. This was my first time in a high seat as all my stalking previous to this has been on foot, it was a nice feeling being half way up a tree looking down on everything below, with a rifle in hand .
The high seat was looking out over a few rides so we could see anything coming from a few different angles. It was still darkish but to my right I saw a small figure about 50 yards away, Brough confirmed my suspicions that this was a Muntjac however he moved to quick and was off in the bushes before I could even get my rifle up.
It was now starting to get light but there was not very much showing, until I felt a sharp nudge from Brough and he pointed towards a Muntjac Doe stood about 85 yards down one of the rides...I shouldered my rifle and made sure i was comfortable with the shot but quickly released 150 grains so she had no time to move away.
After waiting some time i unloaded the rifle and we climbed down from the high seat to retrieve what I had shot, on route Brough was asking me questions that may be asked by a DSC2 witness, being the excellent "teacher" that he is I was learning a lot and that continued throughout the day .
The Doe had moved a few feet after the shot (some how) into the bushes but Broughs experience quickly found the hair and blood on the ground where the impact had taken place and this soon took us to the lying Doe. Then came the Gralloch and the journey back to the larder with a very big smile on my face where the carcass prep was completed My first Muntjac!
Back out with the rifle on foot now....After a walk round the ground which unfortunately did not turn up anything (although I was learning about stalking the whole time) we went to the pub for a bite to eat and some liquid refreshment, which was very nice.
The last few hours of the day before dark were to be spent up another high seat which i was more than happy about on another part of the ground. We made our way over to this part of the ground in "Jenson's" I mean Broughs van..some how i made it there alive .
This was another large high seat in the middle of about four rides so we got comfy and decided to cover two rides each. In fact we got a bit too comfy and I guess the early start had taken its toll on the old timer and Brough dropped off leaving me to cover all four rides
Time went on and i had only seen one fallow doe far in the distance but nothing within a reasonable range. Brough continued to snooze with the occasional look up to check his designated rides, when i saw a large Fallow Buck move across one of the rides I was watching and into the woods between the other ride. I guess I just froze when I saw this buck and my rifle was not ready anyway..to be honest even if i had been he moved into the woods between the two rides too quickly anyway.
I nudged Brough and woke him from his Steak pie and chips induced nap and told him about the buck and where it went.
We sat up watching the ride in front of us to see if the buck would appear but no luck , after a short while a few Fallow does moved into the ride we were watching from the other side , they were with young and not suitable to be shot. They appeared a bit spooked but we were sure they had not seen us..guess they sensed the buck we had seen a moment before.
As they turned and moved back into the woods they Buck came out from his hiding place and walked out into the ride in towards the direction of the does and young. Brough told me to get ready and take the shot when i could , the buck was still moving across but with a shout and grunt from Brough he stopped and presented me with the perfect broadside shot.. I steadied myself took a breath and BANG.. the unmodded .308 sent a shockwave through the woods and the buck ran into the cover from the ride.
I was shaking a bit from the adrenaline but i was sure i had hit the buck , even if i did think i was a little bit further back than it should have been. There was no noticeable shot reaction from the buck before it ran off so this had cast a little doubt in my mind as to whether i had hit him even though i was pretty sure.
We waited some time and i gingerly climbed down from the high seat, we walked over toward where the impact should have taken place and looked but found no blood.... At this point i really am questioning myself as to whether i actually hit it... We continued to look until Brough went into the bushes where the buck had gone , and within a few minutes "Brough Bloodhound" had found the blood trail...I reckon this guy could find a needle in a haystack!
The trail led us deeper into the woods and we were losing light by this time so it was important that we found this buck asap! We stumbled upon him lying down and before i could see him and get the rifle up he was up and off again belting it even deeper into the woods...This time i really did think he was gone.. There was a large pool of blood so we knew he wouldn't have been alive for too long but he had to be found. The pursuit continued however the blood trail dried up or at least we could not see it anymore and the light was against us, we kept walking and came out into a small opening where we continued to look. I decided to split up from Brough to ensure that we could cover the most amount of ground, as i was walking along looking for any trace , There he is about 20 yards in front of me lying down but with his head still up looking around.. There was absolutely no way that i was going to give him the opportunity to get up and run again so i put the rifle up and fired a round into his neck which dropped him on the spot , PHEW!
Brough made his way over and we stood there relieved and satisfied that we had found the buck and i was amazed and the size of what I had shot. Brough then brought me back to reality with a hard bump and told me that we would now both need to drag it back to the van. ****! I didn't think of that when i was about to take the shot...well i guess you dont really. So we tied a rope around the antlers and started to drag the buck to the van. It felt like we were dragging a Mini with no wheels. It wasn't long before i was breathing out my @rse, but Brough was going strong and like a Sgt.Major was on my back every step of the way ..and he's got a few years on me!
Finally got to the van and then back to the larder, Gralloch was completed again another good lesson learnt. Clean up and then the drive home with the head in the boot and and even bigger smile on my face.
I would like to give the Biggest Thank You to Brough for an excellent day, thanks for the opportunity and thanks for everything you have taught me. It is appreciated. You are a TRUE GENT!
Some pics attached of Fallow head