Friday evening saw bob257 and me travelling to Dorchester for a weekend stalking with Malcolm and Robin. After dropping of the bags we all met up for a few drinks and some food. Although we were meeting both Malcolm and Robin for the first time the banter flowed, as it often does when you get a group of blokeís together with similar interests.
6.30 The next morning Malcolm picked us up and we had a short drive to his ground. The plan was that Malcolm and Bob were going to cut across the farm and try and catch the deer out feeding. Whilst Robin and myself where to stalk up through the marsh and scrub woodland.
Shortly after arriving Malcolm and Bob set of, whilst we travelled short distance down the road in readiness to start our stalk. We had to wait for a while for the light to improve as we would be glassing into the scrub cover, whilst waiting we could hear a Sika whistling from the nature reserve behind us, probably winded us as the wind was perfect, with a light breeze in our face. A sharp sleety shower made the fifteen or so minute wait a little less enjoyable but as the light improved we set of slowly stopping every few yards to glass into the scrub woodland to our right and the field edge to our left. We were following a well worn deer path that had plenty of fresh slots on, which really keeps you on your toes. Every time you stopped to glass you were expecting to see deer. After an hour or so we reached a stretch of open marsh land, still no deer seen but fresh sign everywhere. After spending a while glassing the open marsh we set off to a small wood on the other side of the marsh, a few snipe got up as we covered the ground.
After glassing the wood Robin took me along the edge of a river which had a narrow strip of scrub wood running along side of it, after a few hundred yards, we could see a small herd of cattle standing amongst some gorse, Robin stopped and remarked that as soon as they see us, the cattle will scarper sure enough 15 or so yards further we were spotted and of the they went in the opposite direction. As they went I tapped Robinís shoulder and pointed to 10 or so Deer that had jumped up in front of the cattle and started off in the opposite direction. Sod it, we thought that had blown it. Waiting where we were, we could see a couple of the deer moving in front of us oblivious to us they started moving towards us a hind was in the open but with the cattle still just behind I didnít feel a safe shot wasnít on, the hind then moved into some reeds and couldnít be seen. Still on tender hooks we continued scanning in front of us, I could see another deer walking in our direction. Turning slightly I could pick out a spiker walking directly towards us, a quick whisper to Robin and he told me to take it as soon as I got a chance. Working its way slowly through the trees it stopped at 30 or 40 yards directly in front with just its head showing, the deer turned its head and with the cross hairs lined I squeezed the trigger. Reloaded and deer where still in front of us Robin whispered to see if the deer was down a very satisfied yep and I was following a yearling working its way towards us again. At thirty or so yards it stopped behind a fallen tree, I had the cross hairs on its neck but from our slightly elevated position any shot would have passed straight through and into the haunch so the carcass would have been ruined. Fingers crossed it would turn broadside and give me a shot. Just then Robinís phone rang, Malcolm was phoning to see how we had got on, Robin made quick comment about we were still on deer and hung up. By this time the yearling was in some longer rushes passing 20 or so yards to our right, but no shot on through the rushes.
Once everything had gone quite we walked to the spiker quick handshake and congratulations from Robin my first Sika was on the ground.
Shortly after we met Malc back at the truck, a quick deployment of the quad of the trailer and he was off to pick up Bob257 and retrieve the carcass.
Malc and Bob had seen deer but all from a distance. 10 oíclock and breakfast was calling.
The evening saw us sitting in high seat s I was in a seat set up on the edge of a wood, looking over grass fields to my left and right. The wind was bitter and as the sun started to set, the wind seemed to pick up.
With myself and Bob in seats Robin was going to stalk the other end of the farm. As the last light started to go I unloaded and climbed out of the seat. Walking back towards the farm I bumped two deer that had been stood under an oak in the middle of the field all I could see was two white rumps taking of across the field. A few minutes later and a shot from in front, meant that Robin had obviously had a shot, and another spiker was on the ground.
After a quick clean up, we all meet up in the pub for food and a few pints. Malc was ribbing Robin mercilessly (Mind anyone that drinks Earl grey tea thoroughly deserves it ).
The following morning saw us stalking the same routes as the morning before. This time Robin was stalking with Bob following the route I had followed the previous morning and Malcolm and myself following a similar route that Bob had done.
Although fresh slots were in evidence no deer were seen for the first hour, Malcolm glassed a small spinney at the edge of a field where he and Bob had seen deer from a distance the previous morning. Malc called me forward and pointed to the edge of the cover about 70 yards away he had seen a hind and was trying to point me in the right direction, However it had gone into cover before I could find it, (need to go to specsavers) . Malc decided that he would walk around the far side to see if the deer would move out and cross the field in front.
Shortly he was back the deer hadnít shown so we were off to stalk along another spinney. We where stalking along the edge of the spinney stopping and glassing as we went, when two hinds jumped up from some rough cover and left in the opposite direction, some colourful language from Malc and we cut through to see if they had stopped in the field on the opposite side, no such luck.
Next stop was a small woodland which was thick with holly. Malc told me to be ready as if we saw anything Iíd have to be quick, a few seconds later a Hind and yearling shot across the path in front of us not to be seen again.
Morning finished we headed back to meet up with Robin and Bob. They hadnít seen a deer but had been following slots that were so fresh that the mud was lying on top of the frost.
Thanks again Malcolm and Robin( aka The Earl of Sussex), you couldnít have tried harder, look forward to seeing you in the near future. And for anyone looking to book a stalk you wonít go wrong with SikaMalc and Robin.
Cheers and Merry Christmas everbody.