Been a while since we have been out, and the last deer we had were stags, so the chance of a stalk today was very welcome. It is not lack of ground or deer that has been holding us back, simply work and life i guess, so an invite to new grounds was what we needed.
Our plan initially was to shoot geese near Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, many miles from my regular ground. However as the forecast was for light winds our guide suggested we take our rifles, as most days the goose guns were seeing roe. Iain and i drove the 30 odd miles enthusiastically in the dark, chatting about what may be and still hoping for a goose, and as the light began to rise we met our guide and could just see deer in many of the stubble fields as we drove to our stalking car park.
The plan was to initially stalk a huge stubble field, split in two by a valley. Iain was to stalk one side from a bail hide and i was at 90 degrees, at the other side of the valley. We crept quietly along a forrest track to the edge of the field, and were given the tour of the hides, pointing out where i would be and where Iain would be. Right away we could see a deer, no 3 deer behind the hide. A short stalk, though tricky along the woodland edge would bring him onto them and we left him to sneak into position.
I drove past Iain and wound our way into a wee parking space. The plan was to make our way to a bail hide just this side of the hill top, offering a very safe shot into the valley. On the far side of the valley, 120M from the hide we could see 5 deer, so game on. We got in line with the hide and made our way forward, only to see a pair of ears sticking up behind the bails - trapped! We could not move forward and at the same time could not get a shot off.
My guide and i had a quick chat and the plan changed, i was to stalk to the woodland edge and then make my way round the deer in the dip, and either take one of them or one on the other side of the valley.
Just as i got into position, with the cross hairs on a fine doe, (though she was at the wrong angle and i had to wait) i heard a bang - pop, a distinctive hit!
Iain was walking towards a dark shape on the ground, some 500 mtr from me. Result!
I stood up and walked towards him, as my "Herd" of 6 -8 roe bounced towards him, they were actually running towards the shot. The Mod had done its job.
I was content with my morning and headed towards Iain, and his deer. On arrival it was clear the deer had dropped on the spot, perfect shot!
As we chatted a tractor drove along the very far side of the field, on the skyline some 800 mtr away, and we were suddenly aware of two does running full charge towards us, and as they reached another dip in the field they stopped, some 190 mtr from us and started feeding. We could not believe it.
I re loaded my rifle and popped down the bipod, crosshairs on the chest and breath - squeeze, crack. A great hit.
Now what happened next was really unusual. The deer stayed on its feet. I had seen the hit, 100gn 243 in the ribs and what appeared to be a great shot. I had seen hair fly from its ribs and the impact was clear on its side, by the armpit. It is rare to see this, but in this case it was really clear. It took a few steps and i reloaded, though it was clearly nae weel! It took a few more steps and we decided to shoot again, and another solid hit was heard. It fell dead to the ground this time, though i was really concerned, the first hit was good!
On gralloching the deer, to my surprise the first hit was good, taking both lungs, and the very top of the heart. How it stayed on its feet i can only guess - adrenaline from the long run away from the tractor? Shot 2 was further back, but another lung shot, also taking the diaphram, and finished it.
We went on to the goose hide (0845) and although many came in to our deeks and call none came within range - but next weekend sounds good, early deer and then geese in the high wind long range forecast.