Well, these last few days have been particularly deer related for me:
Left Geneva on Friday night and flew to Bristol, from whence picked up the hire car and drove to Gloucester to stay with my lovely and very understanding and long suffering significant other.
Got up on Saturday morning and headed down to the Royal Ag's rural skills centre for 3 days of DSC-1 instruction and assessment with Paul Hill from Corinium Rifle Range / Dama Deer services.
The course was very well run, Paul and Keith the instructors were very knowledgeable and it was all in all a good experience and I'd recommend doing the course with those guys. (Shooting and safety were a pass, let us just hope enough of the written papers went in between the lugs!)
That was Monday and on Tuesday I made my way down to Ian Farrington's place in Devon. Went out and checked zero before heading out for a roe doe. Stalked round a field with plenty of sign but no deer so waited out under a tree to watch a likely spot where the roe tend to come out for their evening feed. A buck came out but didn't appear to be accompanied so after playing “pick your aim point” for a few mins we headed a couple of fields over to another likely spot before the light went. The fields we were looking over had a terrace half way down so effectively making 2 ridges in which to peer over and shoot down into a stream valley from. Starting at the road there were do deer before the first ridge so we snuck down the hedgeline to the second ridge. Below were 3 roe and a suitable doe for culling in the field at the bottom of the bowl. We lay down, rested the rifle on a back pack, Ian told me to shoot more than once and eventually I got around to shooting. The doe went down like a sack of spuds and, assuming to have spined it, reloaded and waited. After a while it became apparent that the doe was unlikely to leap up again so we approached and found a roe doe carcass. On gralloching, we found the spine was damaged but also the top half of both lungs were gone so all was good.
Went back to Ian's, had a slap up meal cooked by Jo and hit the hay with the intention of being out promptly for a crack at some fallow. Headed out the following morning and drove over the county line into Dorset. The farm we were stalking had several blocks of woodland on it and the plan was to either find the fallow in the woods or shoot out from the woods when the fallow were on the pasture. Sadly the fallow had other plans and selected different blocks to the one's we stalked through to over night in (there was lots of sign but just the wrong day as we saw on the drive back).
But, not all was lost we bumped a group of roe in a gulley in the first block, and came across some more in the second. We bumped a one just on the way in and then came across what turned out to be a couple of roe after moving down a path. Ian spotted a suitable doe up ahead and put the sticks up. “Broad side, take it now” I put the rifle up and looked directly on to the back end of a deer. “That's not side on”* was my response. “Try left a bit” Ian countered. After moving the sticks round found, sure enough, a side on doe “Oh yeah” Squeezed shot off, seemed to get a good reaction to the shot and she arced off towards the exit wound. Waited then moved forward and found her in front of a tree, ~25m back and almost directly in line with the shot.
So, after seeing my first gralloch not done by head torch, we headed back to Ian's via a hostelry for a fry up.
That evening, after a kip and some archery, we were joined by Christian for an outing on the boar. An excellent Jo prepared dinner and briefing we headed off to what I think might have been the coldest high seats in Christendom. (My glasses fogged up and frozen whilst still on my face). Ian and Chris bumped a boar on the way to his high seat. I didn't see any boar but heard plenty of activity with the ear defenders turned up loud. Anyway, piggies didn't seem to want to play so headed home at 1.
Kipped until 9, excellent brekkie by Jo at 930 and the headed for the airport.
All in all a very enjoyable week, and only have Friday in work before the weekend! Woohoo!
*Actual utterings may have been factually different