Wanted to share a superb stalking experience and say a massive thanks to sikamalc...
I had contacted Malcolm as a novice wanting to gain experience before taking DSC1 later this year. His land was not all that far from me in West Sussex. So i went to meet him at around 3pm. A relaxed cup of tea and general chat was a great way to start the day. Following this we went to the range to fire the rifle. He actually offered a selection of 'estate' riffles, i chose the Tikka 308. I managed to put both rounds dead centre about 1/4 inch apart - reassuring start to the afternoon!
We waited till around 5:30ish before heading out (again enjoying a cup of tea!). We drove out to the first place, and basically as soon as we had left the car, we saw deer. A group of Fallow, many of which we laying down sleeping!! They had not moved, so we approached from behind a hedge for a closer look. We were looking at a mixture of fallow, including one definite pricket. We though we may have a shot, however quickly realised there was a thin wire fence between the deer and the riffle. We slowing moved around to to see if we could get a better angle. A couple of the front deer became twitchy and gradually all the deer in the group were on their feet. There was no safe show at the pricket - always seemed to have a deer behind it, bush in front of it or turned facing away. By this stage the majority of the deer were moving back into the woods and the chance had gone. But as Malcolm reminded me, no shot is better than a bad shot.
Anyways, we moved on and turned into the next field and low and behold there were four fallow does right in front of us! They saw us and quickly moved back into the woods. Moving another few meters forward we looked down over towards the bottom of a valley and there were even more deer! The first thing that we both noticed was an absolutely cracking master fallow buck - pure white in colour. This was not going to be something i was shooting, but right next to him was a decent cull buck. I put up my monostick and took aim. Heart pumping i struggled to steady myself with the monostick. I asked Malcolm if we could move forward, i was not confident taking the shot. We slowly moved forward and Malcolm suggested that i rest the riffle on his shoulder to take the shot. This worked and i now had the buck in my sights. Calming myself (somewhat), i squeezed the trigger. The buck dropped. At this stage we could only see part of the valley, but from nowhere around 30 deer appeared, mixture of bucks/does and a mixture of colours. Malcolm had to remind me to reload (something that i wont be forgetting) and once the other deer had moved on we slowly moved in.
Heart was pumping, but it was great to get a closer look at the deer. Malcolm commented that it was a great cull buck as it looked to be around 4 years old and had a terrible head, but huge amount of weight to its body. And the weight was confirmed after we dragged it back up the hill to the car!
We took the deer back to Malcolm's were he showed me the full carcass preparation. I decided that i would buy the meat and actually ended up taking the entire carcass. Went back later in the week to pick it up.
Truth be told i did not think i would get simply an entire carcass. But after watching a few YouTube videos and some helpful hint from Malcolm i had butchered my first deer. Wont be the best butchering job that i do, but will be remembering it. I had bought a meat grinder, so now have freezer full of fillet steak, mince, chopped/dice venison and both haunches (planning on sawing these into steaks). Needless to say a large fallow buck will keep me going for a long time!
I not suggesting that in one outing i learnt how to stalk (although i learnt a lot), but i did see and the full end to end process of a wild deer roaming in a field, being humanely culled, respectfully prepared and joyfully eaten (venison burgers with caramelised onions). That experience is priceless.
Many thanks Malcolm, great experience!! Will be coming out with you again.