I gave a Atom a call on Monday night, just to catch up as we had not spoke for a while, he asked if I was back from work, yes I was, he asked if I fancied going for a Chinese on Wednesday, yes I did........
He decided to make a day of it, fallow in the morning on one estate followed by water deer in the afternoon on a second estate.
Now I am have not had much luck on his Fallow ground, seeing plenty of sign and sometimes plenty of deer, but so far only a fox and a close encounter with an Aberdeen Angus to show for my efforts. And this one was no more successful than the past, plenty of deer, oodles of deer, but no shot. Positioned where two narrow spinneys meet I had excellent views across open fields and game covers. On full daylight I had a dozen run along the skyline 300 yards away from my highseat, followed by three more which were angling more towards me and came within 200 yards but never stopped. All this time there was another herd of fourteen grazing three fields away. Every single one were does or followers. Although a blank session it was as normal very rewarding, always a pleasure to watch deer, and a hen sparrowhawks kept me amused as I watched it harass a barn owl in the half light of dawn then later bounce off two hen pheasants as they flew between the spinneys, it was seriously quick and must have been seriously hungry!!
Back to the truck and a trip further down the A1 to CWD country.
We had a trip around the estate for a spy but it was bitterly cold and the deer had retreated to cover out of the east wind, although we did see a doe just 20 foot away from the truck couched down in some brash.
I was in the highseat for 1pm with a long wait ahead, a long very cold wait ahead. I had five layers on the upper half and two pairs of trousers on the lower but after two hours I had to go for a walk to warm back up. Twenty minutes later I was back up the seat to continue my vigil. To my left, right and rear I had large, weedy, rape fields. Running across my front was a long narrow tree and scrub lined gulley. We hoped that our quarry was sheltering in there from the biting wind. The time past slowly, and it seems to get even colder.
Just after 4 o'clock a small deer had appeared from nowhere and was on the edge of the rape field alonside the gulley, maybe 90 yards away. Up with the bins, it was a water deer, and a second look showed that it had ivory, at this point I went a bit wobbly
He was front on and eating rapidly, the torn lower half of his left ear was bouncing against his cheek as he chewed! The rifle was on him and I waited for what seemed like an age for the classic side on position, when he upped and galloped uphill heading further on to the field, bit of a concern for a second but he only ran 20 yards and stopped this time in the broadside position. Crosshairs on chest, BANG, and he runs uphill again another twenty yards, then looks back over his shoulder as if to say, 'what was that', and not looking at all unhealthy, bit of a panic again but crosshairs were already on chest for an insurance shot, BANG, and down To be honest I was a bit hastey as the buck fever had kicked in (i.e blind panic!) and looking back there was not a great deal of time between shots.
A few minutes to compose myself then over to the dead deer 60 yards away, and yes, he had two great holes on the exit side
He had damage to both ears so was either an old campaigner or not a very good fighter
So many thanks for an incredible day to my generous host, Atom, a true gent.