Most of my write ups start with 'im sat here knackered...' this one is no different! I will probably end up editing this thread to add bits of information that my tired mind will have forgotten.
Anyways, 375mag and I, before Christmas booked up to go out stalking with muntjacstalker in March. It seemed at the time of booking like a lifetime away and created lots of conversation over the preceeding months about expectations of these alien breeds. We had asked if it was possible to have a go at both CWD and also Muntjac over the same weekend. March came around quickly and we were preparing for the trip.. 375mag deciding which blunderbus to take with him and me working up a new load using Nosler Accubonds opposed to the Berger VLDs. I wont go into depth but have found the VLDs dont expand well on smaller than roe sized targets.
After a bit of faffing with yorkshire border control and getting visas issued, i was at 375's house loading his gear up and plugging a postcode into satnag. 3 hours later and a brief stop for sweets and diesel we were in the village of old warden, slightly early but no worries as we can prop the bar up.. No such luck! It seems like most pubs in the area are closed from 3pm til 6pm. Instead we decided on a drive round, which ended up in spotting road kill in order to get a better idea of what we were after.. (muntjac, not squashed squirrels i will point out!!)
We met Jason at about 1530 at the digs, he suggested that due to the poor forecast for Saturday, we get out after a muntjac on Friday evening. He left it up to us whether just one of us went or both went but only one shooting. We decided to both go and 375 was good enough to insist that i took the rifle.
We met Jason at his pad and watched muntjac all over, one in a patch of brambles at the back of his shed! We headed out to one of his permissions and within minutes had seen several munties. We stalked one only to find it was a doe. The next hour was much the same, deer everywhere and very exciting.. At last light, we checked the woodland margins only to see initially 2 deer, soon turning to 4, one of them being a buck. After a short stalk from 200yds ish to about 100yds, i was down on the bipod and waiting for the buck to follow the does into the field. He obliged, turned sideways and Jason gave the all clear. He dropped on the spot. My first munty! He turned out to be an interesting head (see pictures.). We must have seen 20 odd deer that evening.
That night we sampled some great food and drink in the local and also Jason and his friends company.. good banter and great atmosphere in the pub.
5am Saturday morning, i went for CWD while 375 was to open his account on munties.
A brief account of my stalk was that we saw 15 CWD in a couple of hours, getting pretty close and personal with them, the only snag was ID'ing the bucks sat down and when we did, a shot was not on. It was a lovely morning to have my first encounter with these deer but unfortunately we didnt connect.
375 went out with Mike and bagged a young munty but lost count of the deer seen.
Jason took us trout fishing after we had breakfast, which was a great way to spend a few hours. Unfortunately i didnt get one first chuck as i had betted with 375, but had one on my second chuck! Jason followed up with another nice one and then 375 broke his fishing duck with a nice 3.5lb rainbow. All fish were fin perfect and great fighting fish, all released.
Saturday PM stalk saw 375 going for CWD and me to go for munties. I explained to Mike that although i wasnt fussy, i didnt want to shoot anything smaller than my munty buck from the previous evening. I again lost count of deer, had a lovely representative buck in the scope for a couple of minutes, nice shape, brow tines but no real length, definite promise for next year so i decided to leave him alone. I whispered 'lucky f**ker' as we moved off! Towards the end of the evening, i spotted 3 deer, 2 does and one buck, good length but no brow tines. I made the decision i would take him as the does crossed the ride, i knew he was going to follow.. did he? did he bollo**s! he went the other way and disappeared! Mike and I had a nice evening stalking seeing countless deer of which we could have shot lots but nothing which was quite what i was looking for.
375 had his scope on what was said to be a gold CWD but unfortunately it jumped a fence before a shot was offered. He came across another buck which was taken cleanly and measured conservatively was a bronze. it was a lovely buck. 375s stalk had started in an eventful fashion with a flat tyre on the way to the stalking ground, Jason managed to do some wheeling and dealing at a local garage to get the problem sorted and save the evening stalk.
More beer, more food, more banter and stories in the pub, finding that we shared mutual acquaintances in scotland which was funny.
5am Sunday, again felt far too early, had me out on the road with Jason after a CWD. When we got to the ground, a light frost was on the ground and visibility was around 100yds due to fog. great! We stalked for a bit just to fill in time and get into a better position before the fog lifted. After half an hour or so of standing waiting and Jason calling a munty doe to within 20yds, the fog cleared, we had seen a few CWD but either does or unidentifiable due to us bumping them. As we walked down a hedgeback, jason stepped through the hedge to see a deer stood not far away. he came back through and turned to me to remove his roe sack and tell me of the situation. with this i noticed over his shoulder a deer step out into the field. I gestured and he stood stock still, i used Jason as cover to get the sticks up and the rifle up however my binos clinked the scope as i was getting the rifle up which made me cringe and had 30s of waiting for the deer to put its head down again. It did, up with the rifle and i could see it was a buck, a decent buck. I said its a buck, jason said shoot it if you can. I obliged, at about 80yds off the sticks and down it went, followed by it getting back up and running 20yds before expiring. A look at the shot site showed lung blood which was confirmed after the gralloch. I was more than chuffed with the deer, he was a big lad as well..
Anyways we got back to Jasons for coffee and waited for 375 to arrive back, he had nailed a really nice munty buck which was hovering just off the lower end of the bronze points.
So, this is just a short hand version of events for the weekend. What can i say, i will speak for 375 as well saying that the weekend beat our expectations by a mile, we had a great time socially and the stalking was fantastic. The amount of deer is unreal. Jason and Mike are great guys to spend time with and know their quarry well. The B&B was nice, good breakfasts and well placed next to the pub. All in all, a really good setup. I would have no problems recommending muntjacstalker to anyone and i hope that we go back again in the near future..
Thanks Jason and Mike for a truly memorable weekend. We are having both CWD stuffed and also 375s bigger munty and my munty. More pics to come and also hopefully 375s account of what happened..
PS: my CWD was a gold..
My deer different angle
Me and my CWD
All of the deer
Two happy yorkshiremen
375 and his first trout