Had a call to go out on a guest day with Darren at Viscount stalking on Saturday morning.
Saw a white Fallow doe as i got out of the wagon to go to my seat, boded well for the morning!
Got into my seat at sparrows fart, it was at the head of a substantial ride in the wood and i sat listening to the dawn chorus and the bark of a disgruntled Muntjac somewhere off to my right. I always enjoy these times when I'm on my own, and this was my first trip out after i moved house on the 20th of December, so it was especially good to be out!
As the darkness turned to gloom i began to make out some details in the ride so i started lazing obvious points to give me a range reference as and when the deer started to move about. 189 yards to the end of the ride, so i was happy that anything between me and the end of the ride was shootable. I make a point of practising at distance, and when i zeroed my new scope I'd pushed out to 300 to test the accuracy of the ballistic data from the Swarovski online program, and it was spot on as you'd expect. I was using my .270 and the characteristics of the calibre lend itself to shooting at these distances quite comfortably. Late last year i got 109 Federals loaded with 150 grain Nosler Partitions, they were cheap at £40 so i snapped them up. They've been more than adequate on Roe and Fallow and have shot well through my Sako 85, so I'd be happy to use them again.
As i sat in the high seat slowly scanning around i looked to my left and saw the first group of deer for the day. There were 6 Fallow does staring straight at me, the lie of the land put them level with me, so i must have stuck out like a sore thumb. A bit like a dog turd on your garden path would if you go up and down it every day without them normally being there.... I slowly started to bring the rifle to bear only for them to pop smoke and bug out leaving me thinking that that was going to be my only chance for the morning.
Carried on scanning the ride with my new bins and was basking in the glory of not having to get out a separate range finder every time i wanted to know the distance to something. Caught a flicker of movement which turned out to be a couple of Hares chasing each other around, start of the Hare rut maybe...? And for the second time in my stalking career the movement of Hares led me to see two young Roe does quietly feeding at the end of the ride. I watched them for 5 to 10 minutes, all the while scanning around and about as well. It's easy to get tunnel vision at these times when you're focussed on a deer that's way off only to miss one that walked by 50 yards away.
One of them gave me a perfect broadside at 154 yards so i gave one of the partitions the ride of its life straight into her lungs. She jumped up as they do and hobbled all of 8 yards before she laid down dead in plain sight of me. Watched her through the scope with a fresh one up the spout for a couple of minutes just in case, but she was off in a better place the moment the bullet struck. Needless to say the other one didn't stick around. That was at 0815
It was quite chilly, and with all the deer being gralloched back at the larder, i left her be and stayed in the seat, reloaded the mag with another round and stagged on. Within ten minutes a group of Fallow shuffled out at 80 yards from me and another partition went for a spin into a nice sized doe. She started to run off with the group but stumbled into a heap tripping a couple of the others, but i didn't get another chance at any of them. She was also layed in clear view, so i left her be as well.
Ten minutes after that, a pair of twin Roe bucks came running at me from the left where i saw the Fallow first thing. They were Immaculate specimens with nice glossy coats and about 2 inches of growth to there antlers, i wished i had my camera with me. They kept looking back so i waited for mum to come along, which she did a minute or so later, but she never gave me a chance at a shot, her troublesome twins were having a play and she was getting flustered. They cleared off at a run, only to disturb two other does that had been couched behind me in a fenced tree enclosure. I swung around on them with the rifle ready to shoot, but they were in cover working out what was going on. Having sussed out what the drama was they settled again to ruminate and drowse in a few rays of sun. With the does well and truly settled and at peace and as well rested as i could be i took the youngster with a 40 yard head shot, it would have been messy to chest shoot a couched deer.
That spelt the end of the morning session, and i then set about dragging them down into the wood and back up another bank to the edge of a field ready for collection, only 100 yards or so, but i had a sweat on when i finished. Then off to the larder.
Got to the larder which looked like a really bad day in a ladies lav with all the claret on the floor! The 8 of us had bagged 21 deer, my two Roe, 3 Muntjac and the rest were Fallow.
One of the guys got this nice Muntjac:
There wasn't going to be an evening session with the chiller full up, so i went off with a friend and got another young Roe doe in the evening.
All in all it was nice to have gone out again after the house move etc, and to christen my new scope and bins in style was the icing on the cake!
Thanks go to Darren at Viscount for the invite, hopefully another trip for next month