Out this morning to try and meet my cull requirement for this year and managed to bag this buck.
I was up at 05.00 and at the edge of the field by 05.30.
Making my way to the high seat and all was well, until I was six rungs up the high seat when the place suddenly erupted with barking from at least three deer.
I finished the climb and gave them time to settle, which seemed to take forever but was more like ten minutes.
Soon the sun started to rise behind me and the vista in front of me started open out into the surrounding wood.
It was still not fully light, and I was sat stock still, when a grey came running along a branch three metres in front t of me, stopped then started barking and getting really agitated.
I was contemplating giving up on the deer and having a grey thinning session instead when a munti doe, which was stood little more than twenty yards away, set off with more barking, so back to plan A.
This clever girl was stood behind a forked birch tree with some scrub in front. She was sniffing the air, looking around (mostly in the opposite direction) and barking at nothing in particular, which I found both interesting and endearing to watch.
I could see parts of her, but not the bits I wanted to put a shot into, so I just had to sit there in the aim and take it.
Eventually she stopped and with one last sniff of the air hopped off into deeper cover.
I watched her exit route for around ten minutes, in case she came back for another look, but nothing showed.
By now the sun had breached the horizon and the wood was revealed in all its winter like glory.
Frost was everywhere, and the occasional light breeze would see one or two of the remaining brown oak leaves slowly glide down and settle with the other frost covered ones already lining the floor.
Two tree creepers started a noisy fight.
A trio of buzzards began making their way silently through the trees, stopping on branches which were no more than ten metres away.
Crows would land for a minute then take to the air sending more leaves spiralling down.
A Jay was rummaging through the leaf litter, its petrol, grey and brown feathers catching the light as it frantically threw various items in the air, then it would hop up to a perch, then back down for more rummaging.
I noticed more greys running around the trunks of trees with yet more of them digging amongst the leaf litter or running and jumping amongst the fallen leaves and branches. Next time Iíll sit here with the .22lr and thin these little monsters out a bit.
I was about to raise the binoís to look deeper into the wood when movement directly under me stopped me in my tracks.
I moved my eyes down and there he was under the high seat happily foraging, probably eating acrons.
As he was little more than five yards away I had to let him move away or he would have heard me.
He took his time, moving this way and that but in no hurry at all. Once he was ten yards away I adjusted my position and brought the .223 to the aim.
It was a tense few minutes before he cleared the last possible obstruction but I was able to draw a bead on him and just wanted him to turn broadside.
At last he turned and luckily he was facing away from the wood. I thumbed the safety and squeezed the trigger sending the 55grn SP on its way.
His backend dropped over onto his left, then with an effort he stood and half staggered half stumbled across to a point where I could still see his outline but he was obscured by scrub so I was unable to deliver another shot.
For what seemed like an age he stood still with his head resting on a branch, then he moved as though he wanted to turn but he flopped over and lay still.
Once the sun was fully up and I noticed that my toes were getting cold I decided to call it a morning.
I went to recover my deer and found he was surprisingly heavy for a young deer at 15kgs.
The grallock revealed that around his intestines and under his skin there was a very healthy layer of fat, and the meat is the reddest I have ever seen. He was a very healthy animal.