Sorry for the delay in the write up I've been proper busy the last couple of weeks
After a couple of postponements I finally got to go on the stalk with Jason kindly sorted by 223 on here and it was superb.
Arrived at his place around 4.30pm (a little early but I was keen as mustard!) and was welcomed warmly and the kettle was soon on. A quick chat about my experience, which was basically nil stalking but plenty on the bunnies and Jason realising I knew which end of the rifle pointed away from me we headed out to the yard for a couple of practice shots.
1st one I was not happy with as I honestly wasn't ready for the kick of the .243 and it went 3" high left of center. A 2nd much better shot and Jason was happy to head out.
He has loads of nice land to stalk and after checking the wind direction we parked up and set out along what looked like an old railway siding. I had the rifle and sticks and tried to do the Monkees walk as close as poss to Jason keeping in his footsteps as instructed. Came across a couple of Munties crossing the riding but nothing to get a shot at. It's quite handy me being 6'4" tall coz every time he stopped to look through the glass, I was able to do the same over the top of his head!! Which meant that if he looked left I could go right and vise versa, which helped me spot some deer later on
No joy here so we moved off to another area across some fields, seeing various different wildlife on the way and I learned that some birds I'd regularly seen on my permission were Plovers. Again we disturbed a couple that were lying low under brambles, etc, keeping out of the cold wind but nothing presented itself.
We headed into some woodland along a ride and we both spotted 3 crossing in front of us about 100yds ahead so stayed still to see what they would do. They gradually worked their way toward us but moved off into the wood to our right. We went right and they went left, we went left and they went right, which happened a couple of times until I was able to get up onto the sticks ready for a shot. I spotted movement to the left and got ready for Jason to give me the nod but it was a buck and we were after a cull doe. More movement behind and another appeared but was obscured by a tree and Jason could not confirm the sex. Finally it appeared about 50-60 yards away briefly and just as he confirmed it was a doe, I hesitated slightly and it turned its head in the way of the shot. I could have took a front end shot as Jason had said but I just wasn't 100% sure and the chance was gone.
I know a more experienced stalker would have easily took this animal and I cursed and apologised for not taking the shot. I wouldn't say I froze but I was a bit hesitant and equally surprised at how little time you have. What I was pleased about was how calm I was leading up to the chance and my heart only started racing after the chance had gone!!
Anyway we moved on through another area of woodland and this time to the right Jason spotted another pair of Munties so I got up on the sticks again. Unfortunately where I was stood I could not clearly see the doe past some brambles and it moved off into cover. And in typical sods law style a nice buck came into view clear as a bell which we watched for a few minutes nibbling the new hazel shoots and generally doing my head in as it was right in the scope about 40 - 50 yds away. By now time was getting on and running out of light we stalked along the outside of the woods glassing the pheasant feeders but alas my chance had gone!!
Overall the experience was brilliant and although I never got to shoot one, I now know what you guys mean when you say the fun is mainly in the stalking. I learned a heck of a lot in the 2 1/2 - 3 hrs we were out and feel confident enough to go out alone on my own ground stalking, but I still need hands on experience with a gralloch before I take an animal myself.
I can't recommend Jason enough and I will definitely go out with him again later in the year and hopefully next time I'll break my duck,